Although it was only announced in the past few months, ArmA III is definitely at the top of my most wanted list when it comes to upcoming PC games.

Featuring a new and improved visual engine, a number of new gameplay options and a new emphasis on sandbox style campaign action, Bohemia Interactive is aiming (and succeeding) to make ArmA III the best game in the series, if not the best military sim the world has ever seen.

My closed doors E3 preview started off with direct feed gameplay of a special forces soldier skydiving in from a plane onto a mediterreanean island.  As he fell through the sky I could immediately see the improved attention to detail and the incredible new physics engine at play. Clothes whipped and bags shook violently as the soldier fell closer towards terra firma.

The next bit of footage I was able to see was some brief combat gameplay which looks a lot more refined and intuitive. The interface has also been completely overhauled although the model I saw was still a placeholder. An issue I raised was how awkward indoor combat felt and I was happy to be informed that Bohemia Interactive is working to make interior combat feel a lot smoother and feasible.

Next up I was shown some of the impressive new PhysX integration that ArmA III will be showcasing, and it looks great. Vehicles realistically collide with each other and the tech demo I saw was using shipping crates and displayed how vehicles of various sizes interacted with the different sized steel containers.

Before the gameplay footage section of the preview finished up I got to see some of the new diving gameplay and wow… is it ever mind-blowing. The new detail that Bohemia is using affords some of the best underwater gameplay I’ve ever seen. Schools of fish realistically mold around your body and swim through air bubbles as they rise from oxygen systems. The gameplay looks great, and with the new campaign driven experience I can tell we will see some epic moments.

Something Bohemia also confirmed was that with the new sandbox gameplay experience, you would be able to approach missions in different ways, the diving was a prime example of that.  Players have access to information about wrecks or abandoned settlements that might contain intel, weapons or supplies, and it’s up to the player whether they want to try and use them to their advantage or not.

Although it’s almost a known fact, I was also sure to ask if ArmA III would in fact be exclusive to PC and I was relieved when they confirmed that it would not be coming to consoles.

ArmA III is shaping up to be the best game in the series, and from a hardcore ArmA fans point of view, Bohemia Interactive is taking ArmA III to a whole other level that is going to blow peoples minds when it launches in 2012.

You want to see what I saw?  Very well, get some!