Arma 3 DLC guide

If you've recently got into Arma 3 but are not sure where to start with its DLC library, we've got you covered

GET TO THE CHOPPA

Arma 3 came out in 2014, and people have steadily trickled into the game since then. Frankly, it’s a scary thing to get involved in, because it’s such a free-form sandbox with so many possibilities. While there are many ways to own Arma, and myriad additional bits to bolt onto the game once you do, we’ll run through all the DLC available so that anyone who’s not sure where to start can find their feet.

One thing to note is that, with each piece of major DLC Bohemia Interactive has launched, there’s been a concurrent platform update that benefits all players, whether they buy the new stuff or not. I’m a big fan of that, as it means even if you don’t pick up all the DLC below, you’re still benefiting from a few years’ worth of free content updates.

The paid expansions, though, add a host of extra stuff to change up your experience of this class-leading soldier sim – from the hardcore to the just-plain-weird. Depending on your tastes, you can pick DLC to expand your roster of missions and operations to do – or add your choice of reinforcements to the game’s massive library of lovingly-rendered weapons and vehicles.

The best ArmA 3 DLC

Here is a list of all of the Arma 3 DLC released to date:

  • Apex
  • Jets
  • Helicopters
  • Karts
  • Marksmen
  • Laws of War
  • Tac-Ops Mission Pack
  • Tanks
  • Contact
  • Arma 3 Creator DLC: Global Mobilization – Cold War Germany

a squad of men hold position on a hill overlooking the bay

ARMA 3: APEX

Price: $24.99 / £17.99 (or $65.40 / £58.15 for the Apex Edition)

Highlights:

  • Completely new landmass, Tanoa, with a gorgeous jungle biome
  • The best Arma single-player campaign bar none, plus tons of new weapons, vehicles, and gear
  • The basis for all the best mods

Is it worth it?

I’ll be upfront: You absolutely need Apex if you’re going to play Arma in any serious way. It’s a big ask – an expensive piece of DLC on top of an already expensive game, but Apex is now considered the ‘baseline’ Arma 3 experience and you’ll need it if you want to participate in many of the best mods available for the game. But add to that the glut of new content that it comes with, including a really interesting and intense – and fun! – single-player campaign, and the price tag actually starts to make sense. If you’re new to Arma 3, you’re going to want to buy the Apex edition.

Apex is gigantic and transformative, and if you’re going to play Arma for any serious length of time you’re going to need it. If you buy no other DLC, buy this.  As of April 2020, purchasing this expansion also gets you a brand new story scenario titled ArmA 3: Old Man.

ARMA 3: JETS

Price: $9.99 / £7.49

Highlights:

  • Three new jets
  • A fighter showcase
  • Better drones

Is it worth it?

For a game that’s so hyper-focused on infantry, it’s a bit weird to have jet fighter pack available at all. Arma’s Jets DLC is actually kind of good, but it’s of questionable value if you’re into either infantry operations, which the game is good at, or air superiority, which it isn’t. This DLC won’t satisfy grogs wanting the BRRRAAAPPP of the A-10 Warthog, and for flyboys it’s going to come off as incredibly shallow. But the DLC did come with a platform-wide update that provides a better flight model, so you automatically get some of the benefits for free.

ARMA 3: HELICOPTERS

Price: $9.99 / £7.49

Highlights:

  • Provides a needed level of realism to Arma’s infantry ops by modeling utility chopper chores
  • Actually fun to fly non-combat missions

Is it worth it?

Air assault soldiers don’t just zipline out of Blackhawks, they’re also trained on sling-load operations. These are crucial infantry operations in unfriendly terrain, and helicopters like the CH-47 “Chinook” are the warhorses of modern warfare. I haven’t had a great time with Arma’s rotary-wing options, but the addition of Huron and Tau are quite exciting.

I’ll point out here that I’ve had a fairly awful time trying to get my HOTAS setup working in Arma, either with the fixed- or rotary-wing vehicles. If you’re into that level of nerdery, as I am, be prepared for a fight. You’ll have to spend a lot of time tuning your setup to work with both jets and helicopters, and Arma really doesn’t make it any easier.

ArmA 3: Karts

Price: $1.99 / £1.19

Highlights:

  • Go-Karts

Is it worth it?

It’s two dollars and lets you race around in go-karts. Is it good? No. Is it fun? Yes. Absolutely worth it.

ARMA 3: MARKSMEN

Price: $9.99 / £7.49

Highlights:

  • Five medium-range sniper rifles that actually require you to use rifle marksmanship
  • Two new light machine guns

Is it worth it?

Arma’s commitment to realism makes its sniper pack pretty appealing, even if it’s a tad expensive. It doesn’t just add shooting; you also can act as a laser designator for guided munitions. This one’s definitely not essential, but if you’re into long-range engagements it’s worth your time.

a couple of medics heading off to a crises

ARMA 3: LAWS OF WAR

Price: $9.99 / £7.49

Highlights:

  • A new campaign that actually wrestles with the idea of being a soldier in a human rights environment
  • A suddenly much more real environment to operate in

Is it worth it?

Laws of War doesn’t always work, but it’s a gut-punch for those of use who have been playing Arma for decades. Think of it as a Telltale-esque diversion and a chance to hear an interesting side of the story that’s not often told. Definitely worthwhile if you’re into the single-player Arma 3 experience.

Arma 3: Tac-Ops Mission Pack

Price: $5.99 / £4.49

Highlights:

  • Three mini-campaigns for single-player aficionados
  • The AI is still awful

Is it worth it?

This is purely a handful of single-player missions, and my experience with them was severely limited by Arma’s godawful AI. Don’t feel bad about skipping this one – the new missions aren’t anything to write home about and are more than compensated for by the game’s modding community.

the inside of a tank

ARMA 3: TANKS

Price: $9.99 / £7.49

Highlights:

  • Three new armoured vehicles
  • A fun series of single-player missions

Is it worth it?

The new campaign is nothing to write home about, and it’s riddled with contradictory orders, but blasting around in the new T-140 Angara is an undeniable hoot. The campaign is designed to create spectacle moments, but it’s equally frustrating in its execution. This pack is a tough sell because it doesn’t add anything essential, but the new hardware is admittedly fun.

a man looking up at an alien object

ARMA 3: CONTACT

Price: $27.99 / £21.99

Highlights:

  • A creative & engaging narrative that feels like it could be an X-Files episode.
  • A couple of interesting new gadgets to play with.
  • A new map – Livonia.

Is it worth it?

It’s not that this expansion isn’t ‘ worth it’, but it’s a very niche sell. The single player campaign is pretty decent, with a worth-while pay-off (although it can get a bit repetitive in places). The new toys the campaign lets you play with are cool and interesting, but ultimately very little of the content Contact introduces is applicable to the wider war simulation. The new map is interesting, for sure, and the expansion does come with some additional MP scenarios. Contact is mainly about the solo campaign and the factions, gear etc. that come with it, and little of it can be used outside of this setting. It’s also quite pricey.

If you like the idea of a more bespoke and creative single-player campaign, then there’s definitely something to be said for Contact, but be mindful of what you’re buying. We’d suggest to wait until it goes on sale.

Soldiers from Arma 3 DCL Cold War Mobilization posing in front of a helicopter

Arma 3 Creator DLC: Global Mobilization – Cold War Germany

Price: $22.99 / £16.99

Highlights:

  • Bucketloads of new vehicles
  • Intense single-player campaign and supporting cooperative scenarios
  • Cold War setting

Is it worth it?

This expansion won’t revolutionitse your Arma 3 experience, nor offer any mechanical additions that you haven’t seen in some form before, but Global Mobilization – Cold War Germany provides solid, streamlined content that focuses on the core tenets of Arma 3’s mil-sim gameplay. Not the snazzy drones, thermal optics, and underwater operations that the vanilla game sold itself on, but ground-based tactical combat, supported by prodigious amounts of new, era-appropriate vehicles, weapons, and gear. The expansion deploys you to the interior border of Cold War-era Germany, portrayed via a humongous terrain map, spanning thick germanic forests and destructible rural villages in a single-player campaign that’s simple and linear, but never dull.

It’s hard to recommend Global Mobilization – Cold War Germany as essential (especially because an official compatibility mod available on Steam Workshop allows players to participate in multiplayer content containing the expansion’s assets without buying it), but it’s a substantial content pack that’s bound to be enjoyed by any tac-heads craving more of what the base game does best.

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