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Preview: America's Army 3

7:30 PM on 03.30.2009 // Hamza CTZ Aziz

America's Army 3 is going for bigger and better this time around. The sounds are more authentic, the lighting is more realistic, characters move like real soldiers, to so much more. You'll even need to know how to heal your teammates properly otherwise you might make things worse if you give them the wrong treatment!

Hit the jump to get a low down on America's Army 3.

America's Army 3 (PC)
Developer: U.S. Army
Publisher: U.S. Army
To be released: 2009
Hands-on preview

The first thing I saw for America's Army 3 was just how detailed the stat tracking is. You can get a detailed breakdown of your hit ratio with every gun you use, see where you’re hitting people the most, see where you’re getting hit the most and more. There’s also a deep ranking system in the game where you can earn medals and achievements based on the seven Army values. Perform objectives, stay close to your team, heal a teammate -- basically, be a good teammate and you’ll earn medals and increase your rank.

Before jumping into a game, you’ll need to customize your load out. You can pick from a light, standard or heavy load out and the different load outs are based on the type of player you are. If you like to run and gun, then the light load out is the best. If you’re all about being decked out with a ton of guns and ammo, then the heavy load out is for you. Everything in the game has a weight associated to it, so you’ll be moving pretty slowly if you go with the heavy load out. Everything on you is also shown visually. If you’re carrying eight clips and use one of them, you’ll see that clip is now gone from your belt.

In America’s Army 3, the Army has been sent in to deal with a fictional force causing problems for a fictional country. The Army wants the game to be as realistic as possible, and since players are playing as the enemy, they wanted to create a rival force that closely matches the Army. Everyone plays as a US Soldier, but when you’re fighting other players, they look like the enemy. This is the Army’s game so they don’t want people to play as the enemy. Plus, Al-Qaeda doesn’t have helicopters and heavy weapons like American forces do so creating a fictional force makes it easier to create an enemy that closely resembles America’s forces and has weapons like the Army does.

Before jumping into the game, team leaders can assign where the team goes on the map and what actions they perform. You won't have a clue where the enemy team spawns at so more often than not, your team’s path will cross against the enemies and potentially ruining your team's plan. New orders can be assigned while in the game though. If someone sees the enemy, they can call them out and the enemies position will be pointed out on the radar relative to where the player is.

Again, everything is realistic as possible. Bullets will cut through certain objects and they’ll react accordingly when hitting objects. At one point in the demo, one of the developers turned on a feature that traced the bullet path. As one guy started shooting through the walls of a house, a rainbow of lines where left in place to show how the bullets traveled through the walls. The bullets bounced all over the place based on how they hit the wall.

There are a few new features to help players out in AA3 now to avoid gun fire. While running, players can slide into objects or dive to the ground. While standing, crouching or on the ground, players can lean left or right so they can safely look around objects. Players can also vault over an object, which takes the place of jumping. No one in real life jumps around like a bunny to avoid fire.

When you do get hit, you’ll have to be treated. If you get hit in the leg, you’ll have a limp but your ability to fire a gun won’t be hurt. Getting hit anywhere in the upper body though will reduce your accuracy. Teammates will need to heal each other and they need to know how to heal you. When a player goes next to a downed teammate, they will bring up a radio dial menu and have multiple options in how to heal people. It’s important to learn how to heal properly; otherwise you can make things worse by giving the wrong treatment.

I played a couple of rounds with the development team on the game and enjoyed what I saw. I was overwhelmed at all of the option given to me and the fact that I rarely play FPS games using a keyboard and mouse didn’t help the situation much. I am interested in picking up the game once it’s released later this year. America’s Army 3 actually is a game where communication and teamwork is very important, which is something I don’t experience that often in an FPS multiplayer. Plus, it’s going to be free and everyone loves free! Photo Gallery: (11 images)
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