My overall immediate analysis

Having just completed my first match with the new 4GB update, these are my thoughts. Overall I must say I am very excited about the game. I feel the same way I did when I FIRST started playing in 2.6 (back in 2002-2003). Comparing all of the versions from 2.6-PG, The "pendulum" of this game has become more balanced (not perfect) but very pleasing. This will be a very long winded post so you have been forewarned.

=History (my take)=.

Americas Army 2.x

When I first started in 2.6, this type of game play was very unique (was used to Rainbow 6, HL, Quake, UT, SWAT). I felt immediately that AA (2) was a very well balanced game of run and gun, tactical, teamwork and overall unique. The game play when injured was something (though not unique) added an additional element to the game play (whereby your aiming, steadyness of scope, overall ability to move was hampered depending on your level of injury). This I first saw in Rainbow 6. The fireteam and limited squad classes brought yet an additional element which required increased teamwork in itself (and often pissed off those when someone "hogged" a weapon (especially if they really sucked with it (AR/sniper). It was not with just weapon classes. The medic was also a class of itself. Therefore, you had to think as a squad who would best serve to play what class (sniper, AR, medic). This made the experience even more involving. Also the sniper was the only one with a pistol.

When you were down and waiting for a medic the player would automatically call for a medic (which was annoying as it gave away your position). As a customized feature you could whisper in game so that your calls for medic or any other built in communication was quiet "hooah, medic, etc). Also when you were down, you couldn't have the 360 degree free look. You could only see in the direction where you head was facing when you were down. This was IMO an excellent idea (which should have followed every later version).

The weapons qualification was though sometimes frustrating, very rewarding and fun. Only upon qualifying could you use certain weapons (sniper rifles). I loved the incendiary grenades (hopefully will be back in this version).

AA2 maps were fine and there were the favorites (Urban Assault - I hope becomes official here, Weapons Cache, Pipeline, Bridge).

The game types were typical. TDM (as expected), VIP and objectives. All fun.

The sound was very well balanced. The weapons sounded as they should, the environment sounded as it should.

The ranking system was nice. I loved the ROE. It was really an automatic punish system whereby people didn't have to vote out certain trolls. This also made ranking up an additional challenge. It wasn't enough to get kills, and points. You had to be mindful of your damage to civilians (hospital) and friendlies. Servers limited you from playing on them if your ROE was too low and forced you to be more careful. This ALSO helped reduce some of the frustration by other players.

The biggest problem with AA2 (which I know I've heard so many others say) was the graphics. The overall balance was pretty much there. Maybe a few additions and tweaks (more weapons) but I would give the game the grade of (A-).

Americas Army 3.x

AA3 was a very interesting (and extremely drastic IMO) change. I felt that the devs/funders were trying for TOO much realism which changed way too much of the game play.

I will immediately address the issue from 2.x (graphics). AA3 I think introduced the addition of the Unreal or Quake Engine. This made the graphic really nice. I think it was also when they introduced the DMR and the M4. Those with the addition of the different scopes gave the game an additional "tweak" that many other games already had. It continued with the fire teams and the limited weapon classes.

A major complain I recall was the medic class. The training for it was fine but when it came to using in game, it became too complex. The first issue was actually interacting with the player. So often you had to be a PERFECT distance away for the interaction to work. Felt as though if you were a millimeter off, you couldn't start the revive process. Then came the time it took for the menu to load and choose the option. I recall many times popping the enemy when they were selecting options.

The stupid player would scream for a medic periodically giving away your position. That used to [TOS Violation] me off more than anything else in the game.

The damage system was continued which I liked. But the limited running system got a tad frustrating. The no "bunny-hopping" pleased many gamers as did the posting and tactical movement.

The reward system was just OK. I thought it could have been a little stricter to make ranking up much more difficult. If I recall correctly you could still get reward for the dumbest stuff and rank up. Special Olympics?

You could be revived and killed again. so in one round, you could be dead twice. Uh huh???? How do you die TWICE? That should have been taken out. They added the "normal" vs "hardcore" - ewww...

I liked how they continued to realistic insignia's.

I really liked that they kept the VIP.

This version was also the first time in-game comms existed. Awesome. Increased the fun of playing tactically and chatting with the "chill" and fun players. Unless you have that troll who needed to be muted.

Taking ammo from others was new I think. It could have been in AA2 but I can't remember.

Overall, I gave this game a (C) because I felt the devs went too far to the opposite end of the spectrum. The shift was so drastic that only the die hard players stayed. But I even left.

Americas Army Proving Grounds (BETA).

I was excited to see this version (as AA3 virtually killed Americas Army). The graphics were still nice and I saw that they were continuing with certain weapons and introducing new ones. Initially the crosshair was the first thing that got me. I felt like I had a lego block for my iron sight. Where is the enemy in the distance? I don't know sir. I have a giant building for a sight. This was finally fixed to a slimmer and more functional iron sight. I liked that they

The first thing that bothered me was the sound. It was way too muffled and felt like I was firing pop-guns. I know for a while, the damage and recoil balance was constantly changing.

They took out ROE completely. Welcome to Americas Army PG: Special Olympics (literally). People could get rewards for dying and stupid mistakes. OK, it might be funny but to reward them for it toward ranking up? There was no punishment system to have players be cautious. I think that you even got a TK to count toward you kill count. It was either this one or AA3 but I know one of the two gave you kills for tking....

Also the being able to be killed again. Cmon. Really? This new change from one level to "normal" and "hardcore?" ewww..

I liked the destructible environments.

The hitbox was horrendous. Especially the sniper rifle. Shoot dead on? Miss. Move the cross hair slightly to the right of even being ON the target? dead on.

I missed not having VIP missions. I missed Urban Assault.

The setup for the lack of fire teams was a hit/miss. I think they should have forced limited fireteam classes for the server to be honor.

The movement was very slippery.

I left for a long time to play Battlefield BC2/3/4. Overall I gave Proving Grounds a C+ because I felt that this game went yet again to another extreme of run-n-gun and that they were trying to copy COD (a very common complaint).

=NEW Americas Army Proving Grounds=

Having just completed by first match, this is my immediate take:

- The sound for the weapons is greatly improved and now I feel as though I am firing a rifle and not a pop gun. The environment sound is a bit off and even when I use tactical mode it seems way too loud. For enhanced audio effects, you can ( I haven't for this version) used a program DFX to improve the surround sound experience.

- The movement is crisp.

- The hitbox is good.

- The graphics are even nicer

- The customization of your weapon and character are a nice addition.

- The restoration of the ranking system is nice.

Thus far, I will give this game a B-

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