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August 15, 2005
America's Army: Rise of a Solder - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
7/9/2006UbisoftSecret Level1-2, 16 $79.95

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Some gorgeous graphics.
It's a strange world where a government organization spends million of dollars developing a game to encourage people to join their business. That is, however, exactly what the American military did with America's Army by spending a reported $US6.3 million dollars developing America's Army. The PC game was released in September 2002 and despite some initial quality issues subsequent patches made the game more and more robust and it soon had a solid fanbase. It probably didn't hurt that the game was given away free either! Three years later and Ubisoft are about to publish the game on consoles.

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The Bridge level.
First things first. America's Army: Rise of a Soldier won't be free, and nor should it. You see the game is being completely overhauled, expanded, rewritten and updated for release on consoles. In the game you can select from a range of different roles including rifleman, automatic rifleman, sniper, fire team leader, squad leader, SF Weapons Sgt and SF Operations Sgt. It will be interesting to see how well all these different roles will work in the game especially if some will be mission specific, or if they will have to work together to complete missions.

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Getting high with a sniper rifle.
To date the developers have announced thirteen maps in America's Army: Rise of a Soldier. It remains to be seen if the final game will include more then this, but so far there's a pretty wide selection of settings. The maps include Bridge, Field Landing Strip, Insurgent Camp, JRTC Farm, Mountain Pass, Mountain Ambush, Oasis, Radio Tower, SF Csar, SF Recon, SF Sandstorm, Swamp Raid and Weapons Cache. Each of these levels is quite large and impressively detailed. At the very least the game looks to be up there with Sony's SOCOM games graphically while the game will apparently feature around 17,000 lines of dialogue!

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That's great camoflage.
America's Army: Rise of a Soldier will also include a wide range of weapons. To date the developers have confirmed the inclusion of the following weapons; SOPMOD M4 Carbine, modified M4A1, M16A2 rifle, M249 SAW, M203 grenade launcher, M24 sniper rifle, and M82 sniper rifle. We can also expect a wide range of grenades and possibly a few more weapons but remember that this game is based on realism so don't expect any plasma rifles or ray guns (America is still testing these in Area 51!).

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Using the machine gun.
Online gameplay was a big part of the PC title, and consoles will also be well featured in this version with support for up to 16 players online. The developers are bringing the career options to the online game so you can build your own character from scratch. The online game modes are still under wraps for the moment however we can expect the typical team based action.

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier still doesn't have a date here in Australia. While it was originally planned for late 2005 it has now been pushed back until an unspecified 2006 release. This still looks like one waiting for though.