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America's Army 3 - hands-on

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

America’s Army looks great thanks to its use of the Unreal Engine 3, but the developers still weren’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’s now a short period of time during which your eyes adjust to the light. Those crucial seconds when you can’t see can be the difference between life and death.

Thankfully, you’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’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’ll be able to download America’s Army 3 via Steam sometime in 2009.

Apr 1, 2009