ARMA III Alpha – Hands-on Preview

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When it comes to PC videogames, I’m a believer that despite the advancements of console technology that they still rate higher in their performance than that of their console counterparts. The PC also has some of the most mind blowing titles on the planet. While franchises like Crysis show off what games can look like in the graphical extreme, few franchises show the realism that can be achieved when a developer sets their collective minds to accomplishing something. Such is the efforts that GCM got to check out with the release of Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA III Alpha Lite for PC.

Now awhile back I did a piece on ARMA II: Combined Operations and though I was overwhelmed at its complexity, I admired Bohemia’s work in creating a hyper-realistic military simulator. While players are anxiously for ARMA III’s final release they’ll have to make do with the Alpha build or for those lucky enough to snag an invite to the Alpha Lite build. Alpha Lite doesn’t include the multiplayer and modding portions from the Alpha build but it does showcase the enhancements that have been made to the franchise. Bohemia has highlighted their key upgrades through a series of scenarios ranging from infantry engagements with better military chatter to the updated vehicle handling giving the player and even more realistic rides. One of my favorite parts however was the added underwater environment where you go SCUBA diving to disable enemy mines. The physics and sound muffling when you’re underwater with a helicopter overhead is wickedly cool.

While, ARMA III Alpha Lite is still a work in progress, the visuals and sounds are pretty impressive. Its no surprise there as Bohemia has gone to great efforts to make their franchise as realistic as possible. The sound of your gear rustling to the crack of weapons fire is sharp. The fairly sharp visuals are all thanks to Bohemia’s use of real world locales as references for their own world.

Controls where once again pretty solid and while I’ve gotten better at understanding ARMA’s commands it’s still daunting and probably will be for newcomers. Players can also play around with the Editor to create their own scenarios with a ridiculous amount of options to choose from across the available island of Stratis. But no matter how bad I am at this game despite my love of first-person shooters, ARMA III Alpha Lite makes me have high hopes for the final product when it hits stores.