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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 1-2 (1-16 Online)
Rated: T (Teen)
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When it comes to the Xbox 360, there is no shortage of Fist-Person Shooters (FPS) to choose from. Whether you are into World War II, sci-fi action, sim, modern-day military or even cartoonish action, the Xbox 360 is a gamerís one stop shop for some of the best and unique FPS experiences within the current generation.

Looking into the sim-style of FPS titles, Ubisoft's latest venture within the America's Arm (AA) franchise, America's Army: True Soldiers is another subtle attempt to cash in on the genre, while enticing American patriots to serve their country. It's no secret that when the Americaís Army franchise first got its started back on Independence Day of 2002, the U.S. Army was trying to use this potential investment to bolster recruitment within the Armed Forces. But to say these titles had a big impact on the gaming community is an overstatement due to the fact that the games within the franchise never obtained the popularity and/or sales of titles like Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Quake 4, or even Clive Barkerís Jericho. However, considering is a government backed game, the title turned into a franchise that had released patches and new installments over the years.

The first venture into the console market came in 2005 when Ubisoft released America's Army: Rise of a Soldier, which was a solid attempt at broadening the viewer-base. Most might not remember this title due to that fact it was released around the same time that Halo 2 and the Rainbow Six series from Ubisoft were dominating the console. Seeing that their first attempt at the console market wasn't successful, Ubisoft went back to the drawing boards and three years later we have True Soldiers, this time for the Xbox 360.

Looking to try something new, True Soldier wasn't heavily advertized via commercials and print-ads, hoping to capitalize on past supporters and those gamers looking to try something new. Whatever the case may be the three year gap between Rise of a Soldier and True Soldier wasn't spent very wisely. This game has so many hit and misses, that unless you have been brainwashed by the government, this wouldn't be a title to have in your collection. But enough of this, lets get down to the nitty gritty.

For those Xbox 360 owners that are use to playing games like Bioshock, Mass Effect, Halo, or even Call of Duty 4 will have a problem with the rough look of True Soldiers. Not say this area is all bad, because there is some positive aspects to the visuals. The foliage is animated and looks quite decent as it interacts with the lighting and shadowing effects. The user interface (HUD) and menu screens are well designed, masking some of the issues that plague this game. Players will notice the backgrounds are rather simplistic, being compromised of oversimplified textures, which have become a staple throughout America's Army: True Soldiers. Not stopping there, the framerate, which is an area of importance for FPS titles, suffers from the screen being overfilled with animated bits, which even affects the fluidity of your soldier's movements. What I did find funny was when it came time to get instructions from your commanding officers; they didn't care to look in your direction, which makes you wonder... 'Do I have bad breath?'

For the most part, all FPS share the same general gameplay mechanics, which keeps that action enjoyable for the most part, however this isn't the case with True Soldiers. Both friendlies and enemy A.I. have some type of mental block which keep them from performing key abilities and tasks that a soldier must know in order to survive in battle. For some strange reason, fellow teammates just love to sit out in the open, allowing a skilled marksman the ability to shoot and kill in one hit, which evidently doesn't happen due to the enemy A.I. being a horrible shot. Those who take FPS titles seriously could fly through the various missions without busting a sweat, let alone needing the help of fellow soldiers.

The fact that the soldiers have an issue with taking cover to avoid enemy fire, the firefights that take place in this game may remind you of games like Jet Force Gemini for the Nintendo 64 where you and the enemy would just shoot it out until one is dead. I don't mind these battles, but when going to switch weapons through a spotty radial menu system, it makes the battles less entertaining. However, when it comes to the multiplayer aspect of the game, you'll rarely see instances of stupidity from the A.I. and can actually somewhat enjoy the experience. Gamers can take advantage of features like 16 player battles and the ability to set up clans, but the fact that this game lacks polishing; even this mode can't be truly enjoyable.

It's a terrible shame when you have a game that's suppose to represent the actions and training of the United States army and its one of the worst FPS experiences you will come across on the Xbox 360. This game could have easily been a success story if the government allowed Ubisoft to strip down one of their Rainbow Six titles and ad some military elements to make the experience more enjoyable. This would have given a glimpse into the type of weapons that are supposedly in development, which should be in our soldier's hands. For this title to be a shiny example of our military, will make a person wonder why so many soldiers have died over in Iraq.


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