Arma III Part 4 Game
The two new heavy lifters are much more interesting. Blufor’s new CH-67 Huron is a pretty standard take on the dual-rotor Chinook, but the cockpit interior is gorgeous and it can carry two full weapons squads and a fully loaded jeep anywhere on the map. Opfor’s new Mi-290 Taru is my favorite addition. The Taru is a humpbacked heavy lifter with a modular cargo area, with variants for troops, medical supplies, ammo crates, and a few others. With proper application, it can get a mobile headquarters, hospital, or repair depot anywhere in the map in a few minutes.
The new choppers are part of the premium DLC package, but anyone can use them if they’re willing to put up with a pop-up ad and a little icon reminding you, somewhat passive-aggressively, that you’re in a thing that you should have paid for. I can’t fault Bohemia for including the reminder, though, as it’s a good way for them to get paid without fracturing the playerbase between helo fans and everyone else. The advanced flight model, slingloading, and firing from vehicles all work with the original helicopter fleet without pestering, which makes this paid DLC a generous free update in disguise.
This isn’t the most high-fidelity helicopter flight sim on the market, and it doesn’t pretend to be. That’s not what it’s for. Think of this update as a way to add a big helping of that flight sim flavor into the rich Arma playground. It gives up some sparkle when it compromises on some aspect of flight physics or aerodynamic minutiae that Flight Simulator X or DCS models correctly, sure. But Arma’s high-res ground model, civilian infrastructure, and infantry integration make the Helicopters DLC perhaps the greatest flight sim in terms of accessibility and context. In that respect, it’s a huge success. As much as I love the new firing-from-vehicles mechanic, its current incarnation is pretty poorly executed. The seat view has been turned into a turret view without a turret, basically, which means that you have a limited arc of fire—about 120 degrees. It’s a restriction that feels weird and artificial. Tactically, each shooter should pick a direction and cover it, but being unable to turn makes me feel like I’m wearing a rigid back brace. Shooting from the running boards of a helicopter is much more fun and the view restriction, with your back against the aircraft, makes a little more sense. I look forward to seeing video of a sniper popping headshots while on a hovering Littlebird, but I wasn’t a talented enough marksman to make it happen.
Bohemia has added two new mechanics to play with that will benefit all players. Being able to fire a personal weapon from vehicles has been the community’s most popular wishlist item, and it has finally arrived. Now any player can shoot a primary weapon, reload, throw grenades, and switch to a sidearm while in any open-facing seat. In practice, this means that the beds of pickups, the running boards of helicopters, and the last seats on troop transports are now hot. The other new mechanic is “slingloading”—suspending heavy loads beneath a chopper—which has actually been available as a community-made mod for some time now. The official version is much smoother, though, with nicely animated rigging ropes and fluid-body physics allowing crates to swing up and out as I change direction. I love this game.