Author Topic: What is America's Army?  (Read 294 times)

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What is America's Army?
« on: April 07, 2018, 03:15:39 am W. Europe Daylight Time »

America's Army 2.8.5
Special Forces: OverMatch

As a military simulation, it's not a free-for-all first person shooter; you are bound by the Army's code of conduct in your behavior. Key to the game is not only your skills as an individual soldier but also how you perform as part of a team.

America's Army: Special Forces is mainly a multiplayer game focusing on team work and creating a realistic experience. The concept is to work together with other players as a Special Forces team to overwhelm and destroy the enemy. The catch is you have one life per game. If you take a bullet in the chest or have a grenade explode in front of you, there isn't a life meter that reduces. As in real combat, you're dead and you're part in the game is over. Other aspects such as weapons and their sound effects also add to this realistic approach and are incredibly detailed and accurate. Although this type of unforgiving gameplay might annoy some, the solid gameplay and attention to detail will keep most coming back.

As you might expect there are a few problems that come up. Most of the moderate issues however focus on a lack of variety instead of gameplay flaws. There aren't enough maps for instance and the limited single player mode consists of training exercises which lack any real challenge.

The graphics and audio effects help to overcome the lack of diversity however as the quality of both meets expectations of a game that costs $50 instead of nothing. Environments, weapons, and soldiers are all well detailed and textured with appropriate sounds effects to immerse you in the middle of battle.

You never know what you're going to get from a freebee but if it's developed by the U.S. Army, it will definitely be worth the download. It's clear the Army is taking this development seriously as the results are impressive. Unless multiplayer, online games aren't your thing, head over to and see for yourself.

 The Army’s Game

When America’s Army was first released, nobody knew what to think. The very idea that the United States Army was developing its own in-house game seemed ludicrous. Many people doubted that they had the ability to pull it off. Others thought the whole thing was just rotten to its very core. Regardless of the controversy, it came out and many games and critics alike were ultimately stunned with the final result.

America’s Army was deemed to be a neat little project and was indeed quite fun. By doing away with many popular first-person shooter conventions, it introduced a more realistic way that those games could be experienced. The end result was something that played much more differently than everything else in the crowded genre.

Time passed and the project was given constant updates and bug fixes until it finally reached version 2.0. As the changes were becoming increasingly more radical and ambitious, this new version was treated as a sequel and dubbed America’s Army: Special Forces. While it brought about many changes to the original game, it continues to be one of the most unique and tactical shooters you can find on the web to this very day.
Gritty Realism

America’s Army: Special Forces aims to provide as realistic an experience as possible, right down to the graphics. They may not have the most stylish or distinct-looking visuals out there, but that was never the point in the first place. They get the job done, they are very detailed, and everything is animated adequately, even if the movement of the soldiers can seem pretty stiff and robotic. You just have to remember that the graphics are a product of their time. When the game was first released back in 2003, they definitely looked good, but they won’t hold a candle to any of the shooters that have come out since then.

On the other hand, the sound design is second to none. America’s Army 2.0 eschews all forms of background music to deliver as immersive an experience as possible. The voice-acting of your fellow soldiers and drill instructors is clear and concise, but where the game really stands out is how well the sound effects have turned out. Whenever you fire a gun, you aren’t hearing any old stock sound effect; you’re hearing an actual recording of that weapon going off.

The Army did not stint one bit on the audio front; every gunshot and explosion sounds off realistically from one side of the map to the other, gets muffled in a manner that is true to life, and echoes appropriately. It does a great job at putting you into the scene and can even be a bit chilling at times.
Fatal Shooter Action

No matter how good its sound is, where America’s Army 2.0 really stands out in is its gameplay. Just like everything else about the game, the United States Army went straight for the realism angle in terms of its combat. That means one bullet is more than enough to kill you, and it doesn’t need to hit your head to do that.

Furthermore, you don’t re-spawn upon death; when you die, you’re out for the rest of the round. It may sound harsh, it may sound unforgiving, and it is. However, by shaking up these fundamental elements that we’ve grown so used to in more traditional FPSs like Counter-Strike, Team Fortress and Call of Duty, America’s Army 2.0 demands that you get into a different mindset entirely. It actually isn’t all that bad.

You don’t ever want to work alone. You’re always going to want at least one buddy watching your back at all times. You don’t want to be hasty either. You need to move carefully, check your corners, and stay behind cover whenever you can. Firefights are often swift affairs. You have to learn to be especially fearful of explosives like the old M-67 hand grenade. If those babies don’t kill you and your fellow soldiers off in an instant, then they’ll likely force you to retreat to possibly less strategic positions. Your aim can be pretty wavy and only by going into more prone positions will you be able to shoot with any degree of accuracy.

Running and gunning isn’t a very smart tactic and your gun can periodically jam. Friendly fire is also on at all times, so you can’t just fire willy-nilly at everything that moves. A soldier you see on the other side of a door could be one of your own guys and you have to be doubly careful with where you drop your explosives. More than anything else, you really don’t want to hunt your enemies down; it’s more often than not better to have them stumble into your perfect ambush.

In short, Special Forces encourages strong tactical play, teamwork and spatial awareness more than any other FPS. Neither you nor your enemies can afford the risk of getting shot even once, for death could be around any corner. The action may be a little slow-paced, but the tension remains high at all times and it can be especially dramatic when it slowly dawns on you that you may very well be the last member of your team still standing.

While the game might result with you sitting on the sidelines a lot, matches are intentionally designed to be short and sweet. Don’t despair too much if you die; another round should be ready in about five minutes at the most.
Put the Mission First

America’s Army is a multiplayer shooter with an emphasis on teamwork. Players are divided up into two teams that are pitted against each other. Interestingly, players always perceive themselves and their teammates as American soldiers and see their opponents as balaclava-wearing terrorists. True to the game’s focus on realism, the games and missions you play in are pretty grounded. There is no capture-the-flag, free-for-all, or king-of-the-hill to be found here. Most matches are more akin to your basic team deathmatch affairs, though there are also ones where one team has to do something more protracted, such as defending a certain point or escorting a VIP from one end of the map to the other.

Never let it be said that the U.S. Army doesn’t know its level design. America’s Army 2.0 has by far some of the most impressive maps the genre has ever produced. They’re large, they’re expansive, they’re varied, and there are a lot of them.

A city environment has buildings you can go into, cars you can duck behind, rooftops you can climb up on, and holes blown into the walls that you can shoot through. An interior location can be riddled with a maze of hallways, spiraling flights of stairs, rafters and pipes to hide in and snipe unassuming foes from, and ventilation shafts to sneakily crawl through. Maps can be open and spacious or tightly-packed and claustrophobic, they could take place in the daytime or in the darkness, and they can have a lot of vertical space.

Whatever the shape the map is in, there are lots of places where you can attack and be attacked from. If the base mechanics of America’s Army are not enough to force you into fighting tactically, then the levels certainly will. You need to use every bit of the environment to your advantage.
Play Various Roles In Your Squad

Variance doesn’t just end with the maps. As the name of America’s Army: Special Forces indicates, players can also assume the roles of any class in the Army’s Special Forces. These include a medic who can heal non-fatal wounds in the field, a marksman who specializes in picking off targets from afar, a grenadier who comes equipped with a grenade launcher, and so on.

Sadly, you can’t always play as the class you may like; each game has limitations and it’s always first come, first serve, but that once again highlights the fact that this is how the Army does things. Every team needs to cover a wide number of skills after all. Thankfully, you can customize your loadouts by determining what weapons, gear and accessories your avatar can come equipped with and the sheer variety of items is pretty astounding. Binoculars, night vision goggles, bipods, scopes and suppressors are all available and they all have a hand in changing your team’s overall strategy. Figuring out what things work best for you can be pretty fun.
Rules of Engagement Apply

Perhaps the greatest innovation the America’s Army series has brought to the table is how it integrates Army protocol into the gameplay. Every player is sworn to adhere to the Rules of Engagement, or ROE. That means they have to avoid doing things like killing civilian NPCs, causing too much damage to the environment, or harming teammates. Violating the ROE too much in a single match can get you temporarily booted out of the server.

Like most things in the game, it’s not very conventional, but it’s important for getting the Army’s point across and it forces you to watch where your shots go while you fight. It also helps keep people from excessively trolling the game and ruining the fun for everyone else. It’s one thing to die at the hands of your enemy. It’s another when some wise guy who’s supposed to be on your side blows you up for giggles. This will ensure that he won’t last long if he doesn’t behave.
A Bit of a Steep Learning Curve

In a way, the greatest strength of America’s Army might also be its biggest weakness. The game’s unforgiving nature can make learning all of the ins and outs difficult to navigate. There are more actions you need to memorize and make use of from your average shooter, such as changing your stance, using the right battle command to communicate something important to your team, and so on. Most of all, you need to learn the importance of checking your targets and acting fast. A slow trigger finger will get you killed, but you won’t do yourself any favors if you kill your own buddies.

The good news is that the game’s training mode, which is done in such a way to imitate boot camp, is there to walk you through all the base mechanics. You’ll learn how to switch between different firing modes, how to assume different combat positions, how to properly throw and “cook” grenades, how to run, hurdle, climb and crawl, and generally how to fight in enclosed spaces, among other things.

The bad news is that training alone isn’t going to teach you how to be a good tactical soldier. To be fair, this is admittedly realistic like everything else in the game; basic training isn’t going to turn every green cadet into a Green Beret after all. It’s just that it can be a little disheartening to spend almost the entirety of your first few matches as a lifeless corpse.

As for the training exercises themselves, they get the job done at walking you through all the basics. It’s especially creative and immersive how they also simulate the basic training experience. There will more often than not be at least one drill instructor barking instructions at you and it’s pretty cool how places like the shooting ranges feature other cadets hard at work shooting their targets.

Unfortunately, despite these touches, the training exercises can also be pretty boring as well. Thankfully, since the game is no longer officially supported, you don’t necessarily have to complete them all if you don’t want to; you can just jump right into the multiplayer immediately. That wasn’t always the case. Back when America’s Army 2.0 was still new, completing the first four exercises was required to get into the meat of the game. Now that it’s played via the AA Assist client, they can be safely ignored, even if the first few exercises should at least be used to get your feet wet.
No Longer the Definitive Version of America’s Army

Unfortunately, the game’s current state carries more severe issues. Ever since America’s Army 3.0 was released, official support for version 2.0 has more or less dropped and it’s now being carried by its old fans. The official servers are pretty much a thing of the past at this point and player-run servers are the only choice you have anymore. Worst of all, the once vibrant community is pretty much a shadow of its former self. There are still active servers to find on AA Assist, as well as plenty of people to play with, but it could be a matter of time before America’s Army: Special Forces dries up completely.
Conclusion - A Great Game For Its Time

In the end, America’s Army 2.0 may not be for everyone, but those who are willing to work within the confines of its rules will find a very rewarding experience. You most certainly can’t argue with the price either, since it’s completely free.

Don’t let the fact that it’s largely a public relations tool for the U.S. Army color your predispositions of it either; it never goes for the hard sell approach. It won’t try to make you enlist, it won’t bombard you with annoying ads, you won’t get contacted by the Army unless you decide to contact them first, and you don’t need to send them any personal information if that’s a concern. It can simply be enjoyed as the tactical shooter that it is.

If you can handle the fact that it’s a little past its prime and doesn’t have quite a large population anymore, it’s well worth a look for anyone looking for a way to revitalize the little first-person shooting gamer they have inside of them.

Feb. 9, 2009 - The America's Army PC game, which lets players explore Soldiering, has been recognized with five records in the upcoming Guinness World Records 2009: Gamer's Edition.

The second installment of the "Gamer's Bible," began hitting book-store shelves Feb. 4, featuring the definitive collection of video game records, facts and trivia. The first edition of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition was published in February 2008, and received critical accolades from gaming industry reviewers.

Guinness World Records is the universally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, the annual Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is one of the highest-selling books under copyright of all time with more than 3 million copies sold annually across the globe.

In this year's Gamer's Edition, the America's Army PC game received awards in the following categories:

1) Largest Virtual Army -- In January 2007, America's Army recruited its 8 millionth registered user; at the same time, the actual U.S. Army had just 519,472 Soldiers on active duty. This makes the virtual America's Army 15 times larger than the real thing. Today the game has more than 9.7 million registered users.

2) Most Downloaded War Video Game -- According to official estimates, America's Army, in all its various iterations, has been downloaded more than 42.6 million times. It is also the most downloaded game from, itself one of the most popular gaming download sites on the Internet. The most recent version of the game was downloaded almost 2.4 million times between January and July 2008.

3) Most Hours Spent Playing a Free Online Shooter -- According to the U.S. Army, as of August 2008, gamers have spent more than 230.9 million hours playing the PC version of America's Army. Gamers from more than 60 countries have played America's Army since it was launched in 2002.

4) Earliest Military Website to Support a Video Game -- The Web site is the first military Web site to support a video game series. America's Army is also the first multi-platform game to receive a government-licensed trademark.

5) Largest Traveling Game Simulator -- The Virtual Army Experience is a highly modified version of America's Army that includes six life-size vehicles surrounded by multiple flat screens, with room for up to 50 participants. Mounted in the vehicles are modified light-gun weapons. The teams inside each vehicle, which shakes in reaction to nearby explosions, are tasked to drive supplies to a beleaguered group of aid workers in dangerous territory. The exhibit takes up 19,500 square feet.

(from unknown source)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2018, 06:37:31 pm W. Europe Daylight Time by Dodge »