Through the years we have seen the United States army try to find ways to attract the youths to join up. But just recently they have made their way into the growingly popular video game industry, to once again try and show off what the US Army is all about and why they should join. So now for the first time on the consoles we see this sort of game. So can America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier manage to create a fun and "intriguing" experience? Read our full review to find out!
Right from the start you can see that the developers were really serious about trying to distinguish Rise of Soldier from all of the other shooters already on the market today. They do this by first starting the game’s main single player mode off with an actually influential tutorial mode, which depending on how well you do, gives you stat points for your character. The tutorial is a bit on the long side and may be a bit too drawn out for some. In my opinion however, this being a tactical shooter and all, I found that Rise of a Solider actually made the training missions interesting, useful, and not all that bad.
Once you get pass the tutorial missions, you will be thrown into battle in a number of different scenarios. At the conclusion of each mission you will once again be able to upgrade your characters stats, which is actually just trying to influence you to play the game in the manner in which it was made to be played. The missions are varied and will have you play as a range of assignments, from being the sniper to being in the Special Forces. The amount of variety in the game was surely a great idea, but this in itself does cause the game to have some unfortunate issues as well. First off, my big question is why put in skill points when the improvements very rarely help at all. I find it a great idea that the developers want you to play the game correctly and will reward you for it. But these upgrades to your stats to me just didn’t have a strong enough effect to make this feature worthwhile.
The combat itself is actually a very slow paced, and has a very tactical feeling like you would expect from this sort of game. I did like that the developers tried some new things with America’s Army, but it’s unfortunate that they did not try and make the gameplay feel a bit smoother. The controls just feel a bit quirky, and just don’t give you the refined feel that a lot of the top FPS on the market have.
America’s Army does have a multiplayer aspect to it as well, but unfortunately it is missing a key element that could have brought this game a lot more success online. Instead of being able to take the character you have been working with online, you have to start all over with a new character. Online mode supports up to sixteen players, eight on each side, which makes for some pretty good skirmishes. I have to say that on paper this online support sounds great, but once you sit down and play it, it just feels like a normal tactical FPS.
Overall America’s Army just feels like a normal tactical FPS with a US Army flavor that just never feels overwhelming. The game just goes through the motions with no major problems, but at the same time nothing about this game stood out to me. I liked the RPG elements that were added but I didn’t like how you couldn’t bring your offline player online. So the whole game is a mixed bag of good and bad, which prevents it from being a truly great and original shooter, something we really need at this point in the gaming industry.
When America’s Army was released onto the PC, the game was really thought of as a pretty good looking game, especially considering that it’s free. However now that the game is released a few years later and at a full price, you can unfortunately see a lot of wear on this visual engine. You can see this clearly in the environments, which are very pixilated and just a bland mess. The character models do a bit better, with more detail and a little bit of an upgrade. The frame rate holds at a smooth pace but the overall visual quality of this game just never seems to help this game at all.
I can’t say that I have ever thought of joining any of the military forces, but at the same token I find anyone who joins to be extremely admirable and I am eternally grateful for all the brave women and men who serve our country. With that being said, America’s Army wasn’t a game that I had a great time with, but the online mode can give some very interesting battles.
America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier for the Xbox is a good tactical shooter, nothing more, nothing less. Had the presentation been improved and had some minor gameplay tweaks been made, we could have been talking about a totally different game. I would have to say that I could only recommend this game to the true tactical shooter buffs who want to see how it is to suit up in the American Army. Otherwise, there are better tactical shooters already out there.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.