America's Army 3 - hands-on

Your surroundings play an important role in your survival. If you%26rsquo;re hiding in a house with plaster walls, you%26rsquo;d better remember that, while the enemy might not be able to see you, those thin walls aren%26rsquo;t going to stop any bullets. A structure built of stone or bricks might offer more protection, but should a firefight break out, you%26rsquo;ll need to keep an eye out for ricochets as bullets can bounce off of walls and into you.

America%26rsquo;s Army looks great thanks to its use of the Unreal Engine 3, but the developers still weren%26rsquo;t satisfied with the visuals and added a separate lighting system. This decision not only made everything look more realistic, it made combat more realistic as well. When you step outside from a dark basement or vice versa, there%26rsquo;s now a short period of time during which your eyes adjust to the light. Those crucial seconds when you can%26rsquo;t see can be the difference between life and death.

Thankfully, you%26rsquo;ll always have your ears to rely on. The development team went out of their way to record the sounds of real combat and not use stock Hollywood sound effects. As a result, you can actually hear the difference between a bullet fired 10 feet away and a bullet fired 100 feet away. A bullet that whizzes by mere inches from your head sounds different than one that was further away. The sound a bullet makes might not matter in some games, but here that information could save your life.

As with other America%26rsquo;s Army games, the experience you have at launch will be different from the experience you have a year later. The developers plan to add new content on a regular basis, as well as make changes based on player feedback. No firm release date has been announced, but you%26rsquo;ll be able to download America%26rsquo;s Army 3 via Steam sometime in 2009.

Apr 1, 2009