America's Army: First details and shots

It's no secret that the US Army uses videogames as part of its training process. And why wouldn't they? Games are becoming more realistic and, in terms of practicality, offer a more time-efficient way of teaching tactical thought and rudimentary practice than the traditional process of getting booted up for walks in the woods.

Along with THQ's Full Spectrum Warrior, America's Army Rise of a Soldier has a more complex and less mainstream counterpart lurking within the realms of the US Army's training quarters. But, made more accessible and fun for civilian console-play, America's Army is still all about the training and development of your main character and, indeed, you also.

As the title indicates, the game follows the rise of the soldier. From lowly private to big scary commander who dishes out the orders instead of taking them, America's Army will turn you from a new recruit into an expert, training you in a variety of different areas and putting you in a variety of different roles.

As you train, experience points are added to areas such as leadership, observation, stealth and medical training. The more points you acquire the better you are in that specific area, which, in turn, decides your role within missions.

The game follows a strict routine of training, mission, training, mission until you've worked your way to the top.

This idea of training for your roles is also taken to online modes. Unlike in other titles, where players simply choose their position and role, here they act according to experience - a system that will literally separate the 'newbies' from the 'daddies'. Which is quite handy - there's nothing worse than being commanded by some eleven-year-old who only bought the game that morning.

America's Army Rise of a Soldier is due for release in the summer for Xbox and PS2