A3 – Global Mobilization “State Scarlet”

Cold war gone hot! – We take a look at the 10-mission, single-player campaign included with the Global Mobilization DLC for Arma 3…

Global Mobilization

Released in the Spring of 2019, Global Mobilization became the first official third-party Creator DLC for Arma 3 (A3). A collaboration between Vertexmacht and Bohemia Interactive has brought some interesting content into the A3 sandbox with a look back in time to when the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) stood toe-to-toe against the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Those of us that grew up in the era remember the tension that gripped the globe as various locations around the world waited for the powder keg to light off. Interesting personal anecdote – my mother, myself, and my brother were detained at Checkpoint Charlie in the early 70s due to a bent corner on my mother’s passport photo.

With over 75 vehicles and variants, dozens of classic weapons, uniforms, equipment, and 419 square kilometers of winter and summer terrains of Weferlingen,  Global Mobilization offers an enormous library and canvas for mission and campaign creators. An additional update in late 2019 (1.1) added more assets such as the T-55 series of tanks and Danish and Polish Army factions. In the summer of 2020, a further update (1.2) added helicopters, aircraft, more weapons and vehicles.

This article is not going to be a review of all of the content included with Global Mobilization – but is simply a look at the included single-player campaign.

“State Scarlet”

This review of the single-player campaign is intended to give an overview and some flavor of the campaign, without ruining the storyline for those that seek to play it in the future – so details will be purposely vague. The premise of the campaign is simple – it is August 1983 and East German forces have crossed into West Germany along the northern border. The campaign kicks off with some nice, albeit simple cut scenes that start events unfolding.

Briefings are well done, voiced over in German, but with English subtitles. The graphics on the map provide an overview of the situation, objectives, and presumed friendly and enemy force dispositions.

Roles

The player assumes two roles during the course of the campaign: an infantry soldier – Pvt. Klemmer, and a tank platoon commander – Sgt. Brandt. The mix of mission types assigned to each role is a nice feature that provides a mix of combat that will probably appeal to most people. I was particularly happy to see that I wasn’t overwhelmed in most missions, although managing the crews of the four tanks in your platoon could sometimes leave my own tank exposed while I tried to preserve the lives of those under my command.

Unit quality

I’m not an expert on 1980s East and West German units, uniforms, tactics, or footwear choices, so lets just say that the DLC feels pretty darn good. Yes, there are a ton of freeware mods out there that might be able to provide similar units, but the beauty of Global Mobilization is the buy/install/play order of operations that doesn’t require chasing down mod dependencies. Normally priced at $22.99 – I was able to pick up the DLC for a mere $11.49 during one of the regularly occurring Steam seasonal sales.

The tanks, APCs, weapons, and infantry all looked great during the campaign gameplay. The campaign missions are usually multi-staged, and perhaps not as complex as some offerings I have played, but they are very satisfying. The single-player campaign does not use some of the assets that came along later in the development (for instance, the helicopters or planes that were added with the 1.2 update), so it would be nice if we could see additional missions and campaigns released that focused on some of those excellent units.

Difficulty

I died. A lot. Because I’m a horribly infantryman. I’m usually looking at butterflies or admiring the stubble on my own face when the bullets start to fly. But at no time did I feel the campaign was frustrating. In fact, I enjoyed the whole campaign and had almost no trouble with the AI – particularly once I figured out how to give my tank platoon formation commands. When crossing bridges, trail formation is a good idea..since echelon type formations can lead to..well, consequences. Yes..mistakes were made…

Rolling through the countryside was to feel near constant high tension. At what point would I be ambushed? Would artillery rain down on our heads? Who was on our flanks? Was that something in the trees? Looking through the gunner’s sight one always feels like they are missing out on the jump scare coming from the sides. But it is wonderful. And in typical A3 fashion – you are given the latitude to accomplish your mission in whatever way you want. Yes, the missions have goals and objectives, but there are many ways to accomplish missions – a feature of A3 that has brought me back to it time and again.

Terrain

Adding to the immersion is the wonderful terrain that the developer’s created with this DLC. Again, not being an expert on German geography, it felt authentic enough. Border crossings are well represented and wide areas of armor friendly terrain mix with dense forests and tight quarters maneuvering through villages. Canals and rivers feature heavily, funneling forces into crossing areas that are prime candidates for action. Long distance tank battles preceded by a good bit of reconnaissance remind me of the hunter/killer action that I enjoy in combat helicopter simulations.

Music

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome soundtrack that accompanies the missions. A very 80s, synthesized music selection perfectly sets the scene for some of the missions. You can give a listen here (1983 is my favorite!):

Infantry battles are taut and well planned out. There is a near perfect mix of feeling like a big fish in a little pond while retaining the role of being part of something much larger. German voiceovers are good and the dialog is good enough to keep the campaign interesting and to develop a bit of a vested interest in your characters.

The action is fairly low tech. I didn’t study up much on how best to use the tanks I was given, but they did have some thermal sights that helped when scouting for enemy ambushes and doing recon to better plan an attack. Shooting on the move wasn’t particularly effective and I found myself just eyeballing range and lead computations. It was also cool seeing the different shell trajectories of the APFSDS (Armor Piercing – Fin Stabilized – Discarding Sabot) rounds versus the arcing path of the HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds.

Conclusion

I’ve made it no secret that I love gameplay DLC..no matter whether it is freeware, donationware, or payware. It has long been my philosophy that I have plenty of games to play, but give me things to do with them instead of having to relearn sims over and over again. I would be perfectly content to play A3 for the next decade buying these $10 and $15 campaigns that allow me to indulge my Water Mitty fantasies. It is my sincere hope that either the creators or fans of the Global Mobilization DLC take advantage of some of the other units introduced in later patches. I would love to see a helicopter specific campaign with sling loading, medevac, and offensive and defensive operations. Global Mobilization has the tools – I just hope someone takes advantage of them!

– Chris “BeachAV8R” Frishmuth

Global Mobilization available on Steam: HERE