Nov 28, 2007
You’d think it would be near impossible to mess up a game about the most formidable and powerful modern military force in history, but somehow the shooter America’s Army: True Soldiers reduces everything cutting edge, dangerous and compelling about being a soldier to a rated-PG play-fomercial.
With developer Red Storm’s pedigree of classic Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games, this title could’ve been really deep. Imagine the possibilities: crazy physical challenges and hazing missions in boot camp, cussing drill sergeants breathing down your neck and being tempted to try a stealthy "gone AWOL, escape-to-the-stripclub for the night" minigame. You could even become an officer and work your way through a dramatic storyline until you made general. It would be awesome.
Sadly, there’s no such fun to be had. Everything about this Army commercial is sterile (the singleplayer mode is an effin’ paintball exercise) and the gameplay mechanics are near-broken - your squad mates float across the ground without moving their feet, the cover system doesn’t work at all and the enemy AI will land headshots 99% of the time, regardless as to whether they're unrealistically bum-rushing you point blank or standing still 200 yards away. Seriously, any impulse you may have felt to go enlist after playing other great military games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will fly right out the window.
The singleplayer campaign, if you can call it that, is a series of tasks that "train" you in the major classes of Army-ness (Rifleman, grenadier, sniper, etc.), which translates to trotting you from checkpoint to checkpoint to take down group after group of unrealistic tangos. A major complaint: it’s friggin’ tough to keep your gun still while aiming. Maybe Red Storm was going for a real-world feel, but sheesh, we’re in the Army, right? Don’t we already know how to aim? There’s a progressive leveling system that unlocks more weapons and skills, but it’s hardly worth it to take the time to level up because the game still stinks once you do.
This is especially true for multiplayer, which features clan support and up to 16 players; it’s dull, slow-paced and as maddening to play as it is low on players. In other words, we jumped online on several occasions and it appears there are so few people playing online that we found the same dudes in a lobby on totally different nights. It’s little wonder though why there are so few soldiers playing; in this game, being a soldier sucks.