I’ve been a fan of first-person shooters on console for longer than I’d like to admit (GoldenEye, anyone?), and I’ve been privileged enough to experience the exponential expansion of the selection of quality FPS titles on Xbox. But as someone who has always craved a more realistic and immersive military simulator experience, the Arma series has traditionally been my go-to. None of the previous Arma titles have made it to console, and it’s been a sore spot for many console gamers.
Eventually, fate led me to join Bohemia Interactive, right in the middle of the process of rebuilding Arma on a new engine. Arma Reforger is the first game built entirely on the new Enfusion Engine, and the first to introduce Arma’s multiplayer mil-sim experience to console. Now, Arma Reforger 1.0 has officially been released for Xbox Series X|S, opening the doors to console gamers for the first time in the history of the franchise. For Xbox players that are brand new to the Arma games, here’s what to expect.
Arma Reforger is a military simulator that transports you into Cold War era combat. It allows you to battle enemy factions using historically accurate weapons, ground vehicles, and helicopters. However, it’s distinctly different than other first-person shooters. It is a mil-sim sandbox with a huge emphasis on realism and immersiveness in both its gameplay mechanics and its environments. Combat can play out in any number of ways on the vast island maps, and victory isn’t just a matter of who can twitch and jump the fastest. Team communication and logistics organization are equally, if not more important, just as they are in real-world military operations.
Not to mention, almost every component of Arma Reforger can be modified, opening the doors for an endless variety of weapons, assets, maps, scenarios, and gameplay mechanics, all available for download in the in-game Workshop.
1.0 encompasses the essence of Arma Reforger. It gives you authentic infantry combat, with a selection of historically accurate weapons, but doesn’t constrain you to repetitive gameplay. The vast and immersive environments of Everon (51 km2) and Arland (10 km2) provide more than enough space for each match to play out differently. You have a selection of ground vehicles at your disposal, and now, in 1.0, you can take to the skies with meticulously recreated helicopters.
There are two main multiplayer game modes, each with their own purpose. In Conflict mode, you can choose to join one of two rival factions (US or Soviet) and battle it out to take control of the islands. A third, non-playable AI faction (the FIA), is also in the mix, adding a bit more unpredictability to the battlefield. You can even battle it out against PC players, on the same servers, in two different crossplay game modes.
While your team must hold several points to win, you can’t just run and gun to secure victory. Strategically transporting supplies to build up bases, repair and refuel vehicles, and restock your team is essential, bringing an added tactical dimension that really sets the game apart. There’s also a comprehensive medical system, meaning you can heal and revive your teammates, or even play as a medic if that’s your thing.
In the second game mode, Game Master, one selected player curates combat scenarios for other players, adding assets and AI, and generally guiding the flow of the match. You can also play Game Master offline in single-player, making it a great place to try and test new features and create your own scenarios to play with others later. I have logged countless hours setting up scenarios and trying to survive against dozens of AI as a training ground for multiplayer servers.
As the first military simulator sandbox available on console, Arma Reforger truly showcases the potential of the Enfusion Engine. After a few minutes of gameplay, you can instantly tell that this Arma title just feels more “real.” The flexible gameplay of previous installments has been preserved, but the new depth and detail enabled by Enfusion is unmistakable. Arma Reforger 1.0 is the first glimpse of the future of the Arma Platform on Enfusion, and as a fan of military simulators, I can say that the future looks bright.
Bohemia Interactive a.s.