Arma III Part 5 Game
It's the dead of night on the CSAT-occupied island of Stratis, and the peaceful darkness is about to explode into chaos. I'm leading one of two spec-ops teams on a mission to liberate the leader of a local guerrilla faction and return him to the much larger island of Altis. A British squad is in charge of the actual rescue. Our job is to cause as much trouble across the island as possible to distract the CSAT forces and give the British the opening they need.
Over the next hour, that's precisely what I do. Inserting by boat from the northwest coast, I head south and raid an ammo dump before cutting across to the eastern shore to destroy a heliport. Then my squad suppresses an enemy encampment from a hillside near the centre of the island as I swoop in from the west to flank them. Yet before we can regroup, my entire team is killed by reinforcements descending from the north, and the British still need more time to complete their mission. Alone, I rush to the southernmost tip of the island, where I blow up a fortified anti-air position before escaping by riding a quad bike back through the swarming enemy forces to the extraction point, where the boat takes me home.
Arguably the biggest complaint about Bohemia Interactive's post-Flashpoint games is that their campaigns haven't used the magnificent landscapes they create to their full potential. The first Arma's campaign was a hastily cobbled-together disappointment, while it took a certain zombie-survival mod to harness the austere and foreboding power of Arma 2's Chernarus. That Arma 3 uses half an island for just one of its twenty-odd missions is indicative of Bohemia's effort to resolve this ongoing issue. Indeed, taken as a whole, Arma 3 strives to make this deep and impenetrable military simulator series a more comprehensive, more engaging and more user-friendly experience. It isn't completely successful, but I had an awful lot of fun watching it try. While Arma 3 was officially released back in September, the campaign has been portioned out in three substantial chunks over the last six months. Each chapter is a self-contained entity with its own story arc and theme; combined, they tell the tale of the excitingly named Corporal Ben Kerry and his role in the war over the fictional Mediterranean island archipelago of Altis and Stratis, waged between four different factions.
The first part, Survive, is geared towards introducing players to Arma. It takes place entirely on the smaller of Arma 3's two islands, Stratis, and sees Kerry banding up with a group of NATO survivors after the local Altian Armed Forces, backed by NATO's eastern equivalent CSAT, rise up against the local US garrison. For the most part, missions are small-scale skirmishes that keep you firmly in the "follower" category while teaching you the basics of minimising your daily lead intake. Rescuing a downed helicopter crew instructs you on establishing a defensive position, while a midnight liaison with local militia explains how to flank and clear buildings.
It's hardly the campaign's most spectacular stage. Story-wise, it's let down by voice acting that ranges from passable to cringeworthy and a script that understands military radio chatter but not how human beings interact with one another. Even here, though, Bohemia's approach to maximising the assets it has built is apparent. Missions are nearly always multi-staged, with objectives being added and changed as events rarely go according to plan.