While hyper-realistic and extremely difficult shooters are all the rage now with games like Squad and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, the critically acclaimed Arma has the main tent pole of that sub-genre for a long time.
Offering more than just a gritty and difficult military experience, Arma is a franchise that's also always been known for its stellar mods, with titans like DayZ arriving in earlier series entries.
The game's third installment is no exception -- and there's a reason why four years after its release, Arma 3 is still going strong on the mod front. Currently, players have access to more than 40,000 various map, item, scenario, and overhaul mods across the Steam Workshop and various modding sites.
It's impossible to go through all of these independently, so we've done some of the leg work and curated 10 of the top-notch mods for Arma 3 that show off what's possible with a little bit of modding know-how and a lot of ingenuity.
What the heck... Hellgate London meets the realism of Arma? This is a mod you wouldn't expect to see, but it definitely exists. Baphoment changes the game into an alternate future timeline where the earth is under assault via portals to hell.
Custom ambient music and the dark red color tone make this one pretty legitimately chilling to play as you tackle missions to roll back the zombie and demon hordes!
Before Rising Storm 2 finally arrived, this was the place to go for a crazy Vietnam war experience. The amount of work that went into this mod is sort of ridiculous -- new terrains and maps, a crop of ground and air vehicles, authentically-equipped units from the time period, and 80 new period-specific weapons all arrive to throw you straight into the action.
At this point, you don't really need to download anything for Wasteland, since there are so many servers running it without the need to personally install any mod resources.
This is the big sandbox mod for Arma 3, frequently referred to as "DayZ minus the undead". And that assessment is not far off base. Camp somewhere, find loot where you can, and get ready to die a lot.
An oldie but goodie, Battle Royale is all about free-for-all survival on a massive scale. You will always be on the hunt for equipment and ammo as the player count drops and you end up stalking the remaining survivors until there's only one winner standing. If this sounds a lot like PUBG, that's because it's designed by the same guy.
This one actually took home a pretty hefty monetary prize for winning Bohemia's "Make Arma Not War" modding contest. There are several different mods in this line, all adding in realistic infantry and vehicles from the Russian Federation, United States, and more.
Accurate uniforms, headgear, backpacks, are all included, in addition to a whole new fire control system for vehicles. Its basically a whole new Arma 3.
While a few of the additions are a bit wonky, overall this is a killer mod that drastically extends your fortification possibilities. A whopping 94 different modular base elements are featured -- from steel barriers and wood panels to staircases, support beams, concrete pylons, and a whole lot more.
With more than 40k mods available, obviously there's been a lot of collaboration between community members -- and that's where the CUP (Community Upgrade Project) mods come in.
The Weapons version of these mod packs strives to bring in extra content (specifically from the previous Arma titles) into the third main entry, extending out the number of weapons available and tweaking those new arms to match the game's functionality.
Machine guns, shotguns, rifles, grenade launchers, pistols, sniper rifles, and a host of attachments are all added here.
There are more uniform and decal mods for Arma 3 than a single person could probably count -- so if you just want one with tons of options, go for this VSM addition that has it all in one place.
If what you are looking for isn't in this particular pack, just hit the Steam Workshop and search for "VSM" to find about a hundred other high quality mods that add in new camo, vests, helmets, accessories, and just about any other type of gear.
Unlike a lot of other mods, this one doesn't radically change the whole game, except perhaps in tone. Yes, that's the gateway to Jurassic Park you see there. While rather limited at the moment (the gate doesn't actually open and there are no dinos), the mod does add in a bunch of JP themed objects that will definitely alter the feel of any given Arma 3 match.
I can't wait to see where this one goes, and hopefully someone will pick up the torch and carry us to the finish line with a dinosaur total overhaul in the same vein as all those zombie mods.
This mod really shows the dedication (and sometimes oddity) of the Arma modding community. Does this military shooter really need hyper-realistic sharks based on extensive research by the Australian Institute of Marine Science? I can't say that it particularly does, but we got it anyway.
The mod adds in male and female sharks that swim around, hunt, bleed, behave differently in night and day, and only become aggressive if there aren't any other large fish food sources around. If you want to take time off from war to study marine biology, then have it my friend!
If modding has taught us anything, its that people want zombies added to everything. Another entry in a long line of mods that throw hordes of the walking dead into a shooter, Zombies And Demons shines by being customizable -- letting you decide just how strong those zombies are (from barely standing shambling dead to super powered hellish monstrosities).
Sure, we've left realism behind at this point, but who doesn't want to skip the typical warfare to gun down some walkers every now and again?
There you have it -- from new uniforms to entirely different game modes, these are some of the very best mods available at the moment. But remember -- a mere 10 out of 40,000+ mods doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what's available if you want a whole new Arma 3 experience.
What did you think of our picks, and what top tier mods would you recommend for players who want to shake up their Arma matches with new dynamics? Let us know down in the comments!