America's Army
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Monday, 17 April 2006

US Army challenged the big online games with their game America’s Army. It was not only a game but also a strategy to increase recruitment. tested the game for six months, this is our review.

A completely free online game similar to those of Battlefield was the solution to get more people to join the US Army. Who could better do games about battles than the army themselves?

There were concerns from the usual bunch that Americas Army would be filled with propaganda and not a real game, well they were wrong. In the beginning of the game you are presented with the different types of personnel and weapons available to the US Army. The presentation isn’t kind of neat, until you realize that you can’t skip it. So if you already know a lot about the US Army or perhaps even been in the Army you can set aside some time for a cup of coffee.

Finally it’s time to get deployed in some real online combat. There are a number of servers out there (2 153 of them when this was written) and almost 7 million players. Indeed there are fewer servers and players than World of Warcraft or Battlefield 2, but still lots of them compared to other online games.

Americas Army is developed on the Unreal graphics engine. It has been heavily modified but the character models aren’t great compared to recent online games. However I really do like the environments, they are looking sharp despite the age of the Unreal engine.

The experience you get when playing the game differs a lot depending on the server you are on and your fellow teammates. While some people tend to play as if Americas Army were Quake 4 there are certainly players who try to work in teams, the way the game is intended to play.

There are few problems with the game itself, during the six months that we tested the game it only bugged out on us two times. However it can react funny if you take cover behind cars and such since you easily get stuck.

Realism has been the marketing mantra for this game, and yes the US Army has partly succeeded in creating a realistic game. On an infantry level the game is quite realistic with accurate firing and scenarios. However there are few vehicles in the game, and vehicles play an important role in modern warfare.

The realism gets a hit when squad members are trying to communicate. There is simply no really good system built into the game. I think that the developers of Battlefield 2 has a much more innovative system in where you can both write and tell with predefined commands. I wish something similar would be implemented in this game.

I also think that the developers have missed out on what’s it like firing a weapon. The firing sound effects are lame and so are the explosions. You don’t feel the power at all when firing, not even with the M249 SAW (a heavy infantry support weapon). There is a lot that could be improved when it comes to the sound.

America’s Army comes with a range of weapons with everything from the M16 to Special Forces weapons like the M4. There are also sniper rifles, grenades (of different kinds) and much more.

If you like online war games you will not instantly like America’s Army. It takes time to learn and you cannot play as you do in Quake 4 or Doom 3. However when playing on a server where teamwork is promoted you really get a good and fun experience out of this game, for free.

Related: Delta Force: Blackhawk Down, Battlefield 1942, Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, Unreal
Developer: US Army
Website for Game:
Publisher: US Army
O/S: Windows 98/ME/XP
Where to Get: Download Here
Year of Release: 2002

Pentium 4 1,5 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB VRAM, 2GB HDD
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card

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