Arma 3 is the latest in a line of military simulators created by Czech Republic’s Bohemia Interactive. While a shooter at heart, it’s not your typical run-and-gun affair. Instead, Arma 3 requires you to think quickly, move slowly, and shoot accurately over massive maps measuring 270km or greater. Utilizing infantry, armor, and air assets in one, combined engagement is the ultimate experience for Arma 3, and one that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
However, Arma 3’s massive scale also causes it to be a bit barren in some areas. The developers leave much of the fine tuning in the hands of the modding community, and if it weren’t for these mod and addon creator’s tireless efforts, Arma 3 would be a much less engaging game. Thankfully, the modding community tackles issues that range from core gameplay to trivial tweaks, ensuring that no aspect of Arma is left ignored. If you’re ready to dive into one of the most complex games this side of EVE Online, you’re going to need to prepare properly by using the best mods available. Here are the top five mods you should definitely consider checking out.
5. Advanced Combat Radio Environment 2
Like EVE, Arma is best played with friends. Arma provides in-game audio channels, but they’re not very supportive of actual gameplay demands. There are two serious contenders for the radio crown, but ACRE 2 takes the cake. Even though it’s still in beta, it sports an impressive list of features. There are the things you’d expect such as multiple types of radios, frequencies, terrain and distance distortion, and more. It also includes some new features, such as a speaker function, allowing people around the radio to hear transmissions, or the ability to use your vehicle’s radio as a loudspeaker.
Having a radio mod will redefine how you play Arma. Command units can converse on separate frequencies, squads can have their own frequencies, and support units such as Close Air Support flying overhead can remain on their own individual long-range frequencies allowing everyone to talk to whom they need without the audio clutter.
4. All in Arma
All in Arma is a recent addition to the Arma 3 must-have mods. Over the years the community has done a lot of work to expand the Arma universe, and new maps are no exception. Bohemia Interactive made it possible to add Arma 2 maps into the Arma 3 game last year, but it wasn’t until now that such a huge variety of maps have been made available – 15 in total. To top it all off, All in Arma utilizes Arma 3’s lighting engine to really spruce up the quality of the maps. There is an option to download a ‘lite’ version with lower texture quality for those who are concerned about performance.
Whether you like to create missions, roleplay, scavenge the wasteland, or just shoot everything, All in Arma gives you a huge variety of environments to experience. From the forested hills of Chernarus to the deserts of Sahrani, it’s all in here.
3. Advanced Gameplay Modification
Like Advanced Combat Radio Environment 2, Advanced Gameplay Modification barely edges its way over the top of other similar mods. Like its competitors, it offers the ability to only activate the modules you’re concerned with, ignoring those you don’t want or need. What puts it ahead however is its list of features which include an advanced medical system, weapon resting, a logistics and engineering overhaul, G-forces, wind effects on bullets, weapon overheating, pain effects, backblast, and so much more. AGM features an intuitive control scheme with a radial menu where you can access all of the active commands such as healing yourself and others, or tapping people on the shoulder, and hand signals for silent operations. Having AGM as a tool in your mod arsenal will amplify your existing gameplay, letting you do things that weren’t previously possible and making other activities easier to accomplish.
Blastcore is a simple choice. It makes things go boom better. Arma 3 is notorious for its lackluster explosions, and when your community craves realism, that usually means you fall well short of the mark. Everything from tracers, grenades, smoke grenades, and even the big GBUs get an overhaul here. Do yourself a favor and take off your night-vision goggles the first time you call in an airstrike with Blastcore installed. Blastcore isn’t perfect though. The explosions are tinted with too much yellow for most people’s tastes, but that’s about as big of a nitpick as you’ll find.
If you only use one mod, make it this one. JSRS edits the sound for pretty much everything in Arma 3 from your movement to guns, grenades, and launchers. You’ll be surprised at how JSRS revolutionizes the game and how you play it. When bullets whip over your head with JSRS installed, you can’t help but hit the dirt. Firefights are incredibly intense — each rifle crack and machine-gun rattle will echo in your bones as you frantically return fire and search for cover. Arma is all about immersing you in what it’s like to be just another pair of boots with a gun, and JSRS does an amazing job at showcasing how insignificant you are when ordinance starts heading your way. You’ll be shocked at how much a part your ears play when it comes to total immersion. After your first firefight with JSRS, you’ll never be able stomach vanilla Arma 3 sounds again. For the perfect comparison of vanilla Arma and JSRS, start the video below at about 1 minute and 48 seconds in.
Whether you’ve been playing Arma since it was called Operation Flashpoint or you’re brand new to the series, you’ll find that mods and addons will make your gameplay experience much more enjoyable. There are literally thousands of mods out there, with some that will suit your gameplay style and some that won’t. Take your time and search through the available mods when trying to enhance your game or fulfill a need, and feel free to experiment; Bohemia Interactive has made it fairly easy to install and remove mods at will. The mods listed here are at the top of the pack because they work with and enhance everything else, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg.