America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier

April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

America's Army:  Rise of a SoldierGames released by the army, needless to say, don’t occur very often. It is even more rare for such a game to actually be decent by today’s standards. America’s Army, released for the PC a couple years ago, was actually more than decent. Hell, it was a damn good game in most respects. However, the game was entirely free and paid for by tax payer dollars, and a paid console counterpart was expected from the beginning. This counterpart has finally hit stores in the form of America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier. Does it live up to its PC brethren?

The very first unique aspect that gamers will notice in America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier is the RPG like elements that have been blended in to this first person shooter. By completing marksmanship training, obstacle courses, and other boot camp style training missions with good scores, players earn valuable skill points that can be used to upgrade your very own soldier. By completing all of the training with high scores, players can make their very own super soldier to control by having high skill efficiencies in such traits as leadership, marksmanship, strength, and honor, with each trait directly effecting different performance attributes of the character.

What makes this so much fun is how improving your abilities really translates into a better gaming experience. For instance, with a low marksmanship rating, players will find that their gun sways often and find it more difficult to actually dispatch their enemies with any sort of ease. However, by improving such a trait, the gun steadies and eventually players will be considered true marksmen as they are able to easily target any part of an enemy’s body and insert a quick burst of fire from a rifle.

Honor, on the other hand, effects how well a soldier keeps his or her cool under tense situations. Being under enemy fire can be very draining on a soldier’s morale, and having this trait upgraded will allow players to have better aim and perform on a better level than if the attribute were low.

Improving the traits and becoming a better soldier translates into being better prepared for the fairly challenging single player campaign that awaits. Thankfully, unlike most FPS titles, America’s Army offers quite a lengthy single player campaign that offers a variety of missions all over the world. Similar to its PC counterpart, the missions are set up with two teams and it basically comes down to which team wipes out the other and/or completes the objectives assigned to them.

The maps tend to be quite expansive and a lot of strategy and teamwork tend to be involved while attempting to successfully complete them. A good sniper, for instance, is an important thing to have on most maps due to the fact that a sniper can pick off the enemy without being noticed on many of the large maps. Additionally, having the troops attack from different angles in unison is important rather than all coming in a straight line right at the enemy as most FPS games involve.

All of this is presented quite well thanks to a solid graphics engine. Although it doesn’t set any new bounds and certain aspects of the visuals can look a bit dated at times, overall, the textures, animations, and characters are all very well done and run very smoothly in unison. Additionally, the levels are all very well detailed and add to the realism of the game, an aspect which helps to draw the gamer more into the experience.

The online multiplayer component of the game was done solidly and players who enjoy the game should find the multiplayer to be a welcoming and satisfying experience. The gameplay modes are basically all the same but they do require a lot of teamwork and quite a bit of skill (as well as luck).

Overall, America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier is a very fun game that can easily be recommended to FPS fans who are looking for another game to fill their library. It doesn’t set new bounds but it helps to add another solid title to the genre.


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