Fancy a slow crawl across an island? Would you like to learn three different controls for crouching? Do you enjoy hiking several kilometers just to get shot by a tank parked on a hill five hundred meters away? Then go download and play Arma 3, which is free to play on Steam until January 19.
Insert military lingo here
In all seriousness, however, Arma 3 is an incredibly satisfying game. It does have a wide learning curve and the gameplay can be unforgiving, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do. And that’s to be a realistic military simulator. If you were obsessed with Army Men when you were a kid and you haven’t tried out Arma 3, then go give the game a spin.
Arma 3 is about combined warfare, so you can huff it as a grunt on the ground, take to the skies in an attack helicopter, or man a tank. In my Arma days, I would spend hours on a co-op server just playing as a transport pilot, bringing dozens of players back and forth to objectives in a Ghosthawk. There’s nothing quite like getting hit by an enemy missile and plummeting to a fiery death while a dozen players scream frantically on their mics. Sorry, guys.
The entirety of the base game is free to play, including “The East Wind” single-player campaign. You’ll also get to play the Apex expansion, which includes an awesome co-op campaign that you and a buddy can play. Co-op is especially exciting. When my brother and I played through Apex, a moment that stood out was a convoy ambush. We spent half an hour strategizing and setting up the perfect ambush along a jungle road, with mines, C4, and snipers. It all went to hell immediately, of course, but that’s all part of the fun. I’d recommend playing the tutorial and then jumping into Apex with a friend if you’re able.
Expansions and mods
If you like it, you can currently buy Arma 3 on Steam for $8.99, which is 70% off the base price. You can save up to 66% on the DLC and expansions, as well. Laws of War lets you try your hand as a humanitarian aid organization sent to help people in a warzone. Also, in a weird diversion from the base game, Contact introduces aliens into the mix. Don’t go in expecting to fight Xenomorphs, though. Arma 3 also features plenty of fun player-made content. There’s a DayZ mod for Arma 3, after all, and other goodies like the cops-and-robbers Altis Life.