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America's Army: Proving Grounds

America’s Army: Proving Grounds is a 3D lobby-based FPS and is the official game of the US Army. The game features team-based small unit tactical battles using real-world weapons in across numerous locations with varying objectives.

Publisher: US Army
Playerbase: Low
Type: Military FPS
Release Date: August 29, 2013
Pros: +Great graphics and detailed environments. +Balanced and fast-paced tactical gameplay. +Realistic guns, accessories, and sound effects.
Cons: -Limited game modes. -Repetitive gameplay. -No game progression.

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Overview

America's Army: Proving Grounds Overview

Do you have what it takes to be part of the best-trained and best-equipped army in the world? Be Army strong in America’s Army: Proving Grounds, the fourth installment of the US Army’s official game franchise. Engage in fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping, tactical battles in a variety of locations, from small 6v6 maps that focus on basic unit movements and maneuvers, to larger 12v12 maps that build upon the previously mentioned skills. Fill in the role of rifleman, automatic rifleman, designated marksman, or sniper in your squad and work together with your teammates to accomplish objectives and secure victory using the in-game voice communication and enemy spotting system. Improve your weapon-handling skills by mastering weapon-specific shoothouses and compare your score with players from around the globe.

America's Army: Proving Grounds Key Features:

  • Official US Army Game – watch US Army recruitment videos while waiting for matches to load.
  • Be Army Strong – virtually experience what it’s like to be a US Army infantryman including basic combat training complete with firing ranges and shoothouses.
  • Fast-paced Tactical Combat – work together with your team to achieve victory. Spot and suppress opposing forces, secure downed enemies, and revive fallen allies while bullets fly over your head.
  • Choose Your Role – from the basic rifleman exchanging fire on the frontlines to the stealthy sniper covering his team from afar, everyone has their own role to play in their squad.
  • Large Variety of Maps – engage in firefights in a variety of locations from small 6v6 CQB maps to larger 12v12 outdoor maps that will put your skills and teamwork to the test.

America's Army: Proving Grounds Screenshots

America's Army: Proving Grounds Featured Video

Full Review

America's Army: Proving Grounds Review

By, Marc Marasigan

America’s Army: Proving Grounds, or AA: PG, is a free-to-play 3D lobby-based FPS developed by the US Army to help with their recruitment efforts. Players experience what it’s like to enlist in one of the best armies in the world starting from Basic Combat Training, or BCT, right down to employing real-world small unit tactics in action-packed force on force battles. The game runs on the Unreal Engine 3 and features top-notch graphics: highly detailed environments and high quality physics. The audio sounds good and is as close as possible to the real-life sounds of gunfire and explosions while still managing to retain an action-game feel similar to Call of Duty and Battlefield 3.

Looking The Part

Upon logging in to the game players can either go through training, jump right into the action, or, like me, make sure that I like how my character looks. Players can customize the way their avatars will appear during a match which can be accessed through the My Soldier option in the main menu. Each combat role is given a handful of options for BDU camo, such as OCP or Digital, the type of gear they carry, which determines the avatar’s overall look, and weapon camo, which range from urban chainlink to sand-colored paint perfect for desert operations. Unfortunately, weapon camos need to be unlocked by reaching specific kill counts for each weapon. These customization options, however, are purely cosmetic and won’t affect the game in any way.

Basic Combat Training

Every enlisted personnel in the US Army is required to go through Basic Combat Training, or BCT, which is designed to make sure that candidates meet the physical and mental requirements of being a soldier. In AA: PG though, players are given the choice of going through boot camp or jumping right into the action. If you’ve had previous experience playing FPS games then you could probably join a match right away without too much difficulty. Personally, I like going through FPS tutorials just to see what they’re like and how much of a CoD-clone they are.

AA: PG’s training mission gives players a taste of what boot camp is like, complete with a stereotypical Staff Sergeant, and an obstacle course with live bullets flying over your head. The training mission serves to introduce players to basic gameplay mechanics such as movement, weapon handling, and remembering to keep your head down when bullets start flying. Before the end of the tutorial players go through an obstacle course similar to the ones found in CoD or BF games. After completing the tutorial players can either exit to the main menu or continue on to the firing range for more weapon’s training. The firing range also includes a training facility for grenades as well as one for flashbang and room clearing.

A Taste Of Combat

Combat in AA: PG manages to achieve the perfect balance between realism and fun, much like Insurgency, another lobby-based shooter that focuses heavily on teamwork and small unit tactics. Although, compared to Insurgency, where a single center body mass hit means certain death, players in AA: PG are a bit tougher. Getting hit, however, causes players to slowly bleed out, which they need to patch up using their seemingly endless supply of bandages or risk bleeding to death, or at the very least lose a ton of HP. Downed players can also be revived by their teammates as long as they’re resuscitated before the bleed out timer runs out which lasts for 45 seconds. Players can prevent downed opponents from being revived by securing them, basically making them POW’s. Hitting opponents in the head, aside from being an instant kill, also prevents players from being revived by their teammates. A hardcore mode is available which removes player tags and increased the damage taken by players when hit.

A few other factors come into play during combat, such as friendly-fire, bullet drop, suppression, stamina, and weapon recoil, which is affected by stance, and whether or not a player is aiming down his sights when firing. All of these factors make for a more tactical and realistic experience compared to your average CoD or BF match. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any running and gunning going on. Skilled players can actually pull it off quite well which I blame on the fact that firing from the hip, or technically the shoulder if you look at the character models, seems to be fairly close to or just as accurate as aiming down the sights, especially at close range.

Pick Your Deployment

Real-life infantrymen can be deployed in a variety of locations. This also holds true for the virtual soldiers of AA: PG. The only difference is they get to pick when, and more importantly, where they are going to be deployed. The game offers players a variety of maps to choose from which range from a cramped construction site to a sprawling lodge high up in the snow-covered mountains. Maps are classified into two types: BDX and FLO. BDX or Battle Drill Exercises, are small 6v6 maps that are perfect for small fast-paced engagements that allow players to practice basic movements and unit maneuvers such as flanking, room clearing, and providing supportive sniper fire.

The larger FLO, or Forward Line Operations, are meant for 12v12 mission-based exercises that require players to employ the skills they learned in BDX to achieve victory. Personally, I prefer the smaller maps because of their faster pace, and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I usually have no clue where to position myself in the larger maps and consequently get owned a lot.

Truly Free-to-Play

AA: PG is one of, if not, the only game that is truly free-to-play mainly because the game was designed to help provide information to possible army recruits. No VIP subscriptions and no premium items, either cosmetic, consumable, or permanent. Even player ranks do nothing except show other players how long you’ve been playing. Both sides also have the same weapons, albeit with different skins which makes AA: PG one of the most balanced games I’ve ever played. The game is all about skill, teamwork, and sometimes, a little bit of luck, read as: randomly throwing a grenade downrange and instantly getting two kills.

Final Verdict – Great

For a free-to-play game America’s Army: Proving Grounds packs quite a punch. Impressive visuals, high-quality sound effects, balanced gameplay, and fast-paced tactical combat that’s a breath of fresh air from the running and gunning of typical MMOFPS games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Counter-strike, are more than what I would expect from a game that asks for nothing in return except for players to watch their recruitment videos in between matches. The fact that it helps the US Army’s recruitment efforts is also a big plus. Overall, a great game that I highly recommend for FPS fans, military nuts, active-duty personnel, and basically anyone who wants to play an awesome multiplayer FPS game. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Screenshots

America's Army: Proving Grounds Screenshots

Videos

America's Army: Proving Grounds Videos

System Requirements

America's Army: Proving Grounds System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows Vista
CPU: 2.4+ GHz Quad Core CPU
Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant, Shader 3.0 enabled video card with 512MB RAM
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 or higher
CPU: 3.3+GHz Core i5 CPU
Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant, Shader 3.0 enabled video card with 1GB RAM
RAM: 8 GB
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB

Additional Notes: Requires Internet Explorer 9 or later and the latest Windows Media Player

Music

America's Army: Proving Grounds Music & Soundtrack

Coming Soon...

Additional Info

America's Army: Proving Grounds Additional Information

Developer: US Army
Publisher: US Army

Distributor: Steam

Engine: Unreal Engine 3

Open Beta: August 29, 2013
Release Date: October 01, 2015

Development History / Background:

America's Army: Proving Grounds, or AA: PG, is the fourth installment of the US Army's official game series, America's Army. The game was developed and published by the US Army and runs on the Unreal Engine 3. America's Army: Proving Grounds was released to the gaming public during its Open Beta phase through Steam on August 29, 2013 and was officially released on October 01, 2015. The game was designed with the US Army ideals and principles in mind, including Army Values, Soldier's Creed, training, teamwork, and completing the objective and, along with previous AA games, has proved a valuable tool in the US Army's with its recruitment efforts by providing information to prospective soldiers by way of recruitment videos shown during loading times.