|America's Army: Special Forces 2.4
July 14, 2003 | Andy Largent
In an interesting twist, no matter which side you're on in the game, your team will always appear as the Army operatives, while the other team will show up as the terrorists. Through a bit of switcheroo, each team then thinks of themselves as the "good guys" fighting against the opposing force (always called "OpFor").
You can tell already from the required training that the Army isn't afraid to impose some rules to keep the game fun and fair. Another good example is the fact that team-killers will have little warning before being booted or even having their account removed. A future revision will also add PunkBuster anti-cheating technology to try and slow those less scrupulous gamers from ruining the game for the players.
Move out...America's Army: Operations is based on the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine, so you can bet it looks great. The game's weapon models are impressively done both visually and with appropriate actions like muzzle flash and kickback. The characters look great too, and their animations are fluid throughout the game. More improvements like facial animations and lip-syncing are also on the way in the game's next major update.
The game plays great on a Dual 867MHz G4, though if you're able to play Unreal Tournament 2003, you shouldn't have much trouble with America's Army: Operations either. As with that title, a number of settings are available to tweak performance depending on the power of your hardware.
Epic's Ryan Gordon is squashing the final major bugs right now, seemingly looking to turn around this port quickly with a beta running at breakneck speed. Just announced as coming to the Mac in May, the game's web site hints we should be seeing a release of America's Army: Operations very soon.
You can be sure that news about the title's large download being available will be posted at IMG as soon as it's ready. Whether you end up playing it for an afternoon or for months, gamers on a budget won't be able to find a more realistic online shooter for less.