Game: America’s Army: True Soldiers
Platform: Xbox 360
America’s Army: True Soldiers
The only reason this game gets a two and not a one is because it has a sniper rifle in it. I once thought that Delta Force: Black Hawk Down was about as bad a game as you could get. Turns out I was wrong. The first incarnation of America’s Army was released in 2002 as a free PC game. For this new version, they’ve taken that decent, free game out to the parking lot, beat the ever-living shit out of it, and gave us the battered body of the game for the 360 console.
You start out in a basic training mode designed to familiarize yourself with each of the weapons used for the game, ranging from the M16A4 to the SAW. Each section begins the same way—with a lecture from a drill sergeant—and can’t be skipped (which is more than obnoxious for people who already know the weapon’s specs). You can then practice and qualify with each weapon. The aiming system is a bit off—okay, more than a bit—it’s jumpier than a barefoot child attempting to walk on hot sand.
After qualifying with all the weapons, you’re run through an obstacle course that supposedly puts all your training together. It does, in a way, and in the same boring manner as the previous sections. The directions given by the drill instructors are at once incredibly specific and exasperatingly vague. As I played the game, I hoped that our military trainees didn’t have the same issues of vague, yet specific, and entirely cranky D.I.’s.
One particularly frustrating moment in the obstacle course (designed to mimic Individual Movement Techniques) is when you have to ‘drag and heal’ a fellow soldier (in this game, a hapless volunteer). You’re given the instruction to press the ‘medic’ button.
There is no medic button.
A hit of ‘start’ and a quick consult of the instruction booklet.
Ah-ha! The medic button is Y, which is the context-sensitive button.
Press Y. Press Y. Press Y.
Nothing happens aside from a now playing-dead soldier and a really cranky D.I.
I’ve failed that objective. I’m scolded and sent to the senior D.I. He tells me to throw a smoke grenade at the obstacles ahead.
What obstacles ahead?
As I look, puzzled, down the course, searching for these ‘obstacles’ I’m ordered to stay in my lane.
WTF? I’m in my lane. I haven’t moved!
I still can’t find the obstacles.
Then I’m failed for the entire section for disobeying a direct order.
Well, on my second time through, I tried holding the Y button.
The pretend-victim still pretend-died.
I did, however, find my lane and the obstacles on my second try. They were well-forward of the position I’d been in when told to stay in my lane. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?
Once you’ve completed the obstacle course, you’re taken through an urban warfare setup as a final mission for your basic training. This urban warfare mission uses paintball.
That’s right, paintball. In a video game. In the large part and not just a ‘customized, amusing feature’ part of a video game.
Turns out the paintball stays in the game. The warfare levels after basic training are all paintball-based. Add this little eye-catching feature to the need to stay painfully close to a vague yet specific squad leader with mind-numbingly boring missions like ‘take out the four machine-gun nests in four look-alike spots in a large farm-looking-map’ and you have yourself a game that makes you want to stab yourself in the eye for a better entertainment value.
Oddly enough—oddly because I can’t figure out who in their right mind would play this enough to make use of it—America’s Army: True Soldiers has a multiplayer component.
I didn’t make it that far, as I couldn’t bear to play the game any longer.
To sum it up, friends don’t let friends play America’s Army: True Soldiers. In fact, if someone offers to lend you this game, they aren’t your friend. They’re the person that picked on you in the first grade and you’re still falling for their shit. So don’t take the game. Punch him in the face instead. You’ll both be the better for it.