I just returned from my local distributor and upon visiting their location I had a chance to give America’s Army a round. Since I am considering picking this game up for my arcade in a couple of weeks, I figured it would be useful to “try before I buy”. Not only that I was curious about this game to see how it played.
The game cabinet will be perfect for street operators – it has a small footprint but the overall design is attractive with a large marquee and good side art. The price is attractive as well, coming in at under $4000. The guns are green and felt sturdy although the recoil was pretty light. Perhaps that can be adjusted by the operator (heavy recoil guns in arcades always seem to burn out quickly). America’s Army is fun and reminds me of Area 51: Site 4 with the various stages of shooting activities the player(s) can participate in. Before each event starts, the Drill Sargent fills you in on what the objectives are and what you need to do (although the instructions can be skipped by hitting Start). I was able to try out most of the exercises, minus the Sniper Course. I first played the Point Man course and failed initially so I decided to try out some of the other events. The Shoot House was pretty fun although I expected it to last a little longer than it did. Shotgun Training was a blast as well as a good challenge; Mover Target was probably the most challenging of the bunch that I played as you have to avoid hitting civilian cardboard targets as the enemy target paces along a track. I didn’t get a good chance to try out the Grenade Course as someone at the store began talking to me about my arcade although I noticed that it worked out a lot like the grenade launcher in Aliens: Extermination minus the fact that you have a longer distance to worry about.
Hit the post break to read more as otherwise this will fill up too much of the page!
The indoor shooting range was ok but quite easy; the pistol range consisted of shooting dummy figures that featured certain colors and shapes on their bodies – a bunch of the dummies stand up at once and you have to pick off the ones with the correct shapes as it tells you right before each round. At this point I attempted the Point Man course again, which consists of your view running through a forest where dummies stand up and you must shoot the plates they are holding. The interesting thing I noticed on my second attempt was that the layout of the dummies had changed – there were more of them this time around. As I had done well on all of the previous rounds (minus the first one) the games adaptive difficulty changed to how I was playing, which was cool.
Graphically America’s Army does look better in person than it does through screenshots, although it still won’t blow you away. I checked the marquee and it indeed does state that the game is powered by Unreal Technology but it definently is not the latest Unreal 3 engine. One thing I noticed was the character model for the drill Sargent looks better in the game than it did on the screenshot I first saw.
I wasn’t able to judge the sound too well as they had it turned down so far that I could only hear things out of one speaker. Of course everything there is turned down so when you run into it in the wild, you’ll probably hear more out of it.
It also has high score leaderboard on there – it takes your accumulated score from all the events and combines it into one and you can only use three initials to engrave your name up there for all to see.
All around it’s a solid game that only really lacks in the graphics department. There’s no story to follow so it’s a pure skill game. One thing that did surprise me was how long you can play the game for – the only way to loose is to fail at three exercises. Each event sets a bar for you to reach as far as accuracy and score goes so if you get below that, you fail. I imagine however that operators can change how many chances are offered to players. I imagine a lot of operators will carry this game, thanks to it’s attractive price point. As long as GlobalVR can find a way to keep the price down while providing some new games (and new concepts) I think they are on the right track.