America's Army Operations
Since the dubious morality of a US Army produced game distributed free as a recruiting tool is examined elsewhere this issue. I'm just going to review this as a normal piece of software. One that thousands of people are playing every day.
Before you can go off and start shooting other upright civilians pretending to be soldiers though, you need to complete a series of simple training missions to get used to how the weapons work. If. for example, you don’t pass the sniper rifle test, you won’t be able to use that weapon in game. The results are uploaded into the game’s database (and presumably the US Army’s too), before you can complete training by joining an online mission where all the guns are loaded with blanks, and getting shot results in you having to sit out a round.
Listen Up Soldier
Since this is the third stage of AAO’s almost episodic release method, there are only a handful of maps available, although the army has promised to keep releasing packages for the forseeable future. The few maps that are on offer for now though, are pure class, and range from a very 'Counter-Strikey' house infiltration level, to a heart-racing war sim set across a snowy bridge. The gameplay is a cross between CS and Ghost Recon -not as arcadey as the first or as movement-constncted as the second though. Carefully planned incursions and team-play are the order of the day. and hitting targets requires a steady hand. The recent release of the Airborne and Ranger schools vanes the gameplay, with the first having a team jump out of a plane in a parachute, while trying to execute a good landing, or face broken bones, and the second focusing more on woodland areas.
The Money Pit
Getting shot slows you down and. more often than not. makes you stay down, because this is a tough game. It 's also a gorgeous one, as it’s using the latest Unreal engine. With more maps and the elimination of a few bugs and glitches this could be the title to finally retire Counter-Strike. Although we doubt the army will let the mod and mapping community work on it freely.
Whether in the long run America's Army turns out to be a repulsive piece of military propaganda remains to be seen. In the meantime though, it's just a great multiplayer game, and they're giving it away for free.
Download America's Army Operations
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
How good could a game be that's developed by the US Army and free on top of it? Personally, I had many doubts that a game free to download (http://www.americasarmy.com) would be comparable to other similar games on the market, but after spending some time playing online, most of my doubts have been put to rest. The Army has created a first person shooter that is quite remarkable. Although some areas could be improved, others are impressive, keeping pace or overtaking many similar quality games.
One thing that flows through the entire game is the realistic approach taken. From the mandatory training that must be completed down to the weapons, you'll get a distinct feel of Army life that includes the actual combat. Throwing away the damage bar that's found in most first person shooters, as in real combat, if you take a bullet, you're done. This creates interesting strategy approaches because preserving your life and avoiding taking any unnecessary damage becomes paramount. Not only do your individual tactics become important, but like actual missions, you'll find your success is determined by the actions of your teammates as well. Because of this, the first couple of games played will probably result in a quick death until you become familiar with successful strategy techniques. Even then however, it only takes one well-thrown grenade and you find yourself watching the rest of the game.
Continuing with the realistic approach, the graphics and audio follow suit with solid performances. The audio in particular stands out as weapons fire sounds remarkably real and other background noises are well placed, helping to immerse in the environment. In addition, the graphics hold their own as Epic's Unreal engine was used and performs as expected.
There are a couple of areas that will annoy or frustrate some players as this game will require more than running into the open and blasting everything. Thought and tactics will play a key role as the Army obviously intended to simulate real combat. Other issues including limited weapons may turn off the same group of people, but again the goal is to keep the game as realistic as possible.
For the cost of your time to download, America's Army Operations proves to be a surprisingly solid game. Although almost entirely online, it easily keeps pace with games that cost $50. Unless online play isn't your thing or first person shooters don't hold your interest, America's Army Operations is more than worth the time it takes to download.