Great concept - sloppy execution
ManicAce wrote this review on .
The gameplay should be familiar to AA vets. It's a team based FPS with no respawns, maps are objective based but you can also win by wiping out all the enemy players. It's not a run 'n gun game in any sense - movement is heavy, wounds crippling, recoil realistic, reloading slow and death sudden. AA3 takes intense small scale battles and wraps them up in realistic gameplay, in a rather unique way. With all the training missions and other details included, calling it a military sim isn't too far-fetched.
What it unfortunately lacks is polish. The previous AA game was hardly a masterpiece in that sense either, but sequels are usually supposed to improve things, AA3 actually makes things worse by throwing more clutter and bugs on top.
Even though the move to Unreal Engine 3 didn't deliver the expected visual improvements, the game still managed to ship with hefty requirements. The visuals almost reach the level of mediocrity, but fall short thanks to minor things like anti-aliasing missing which can make it downright ugly at times. Even worse it feels like it runs at 20fps even when the framerate is supposedly over 60. Though it's hard to be sure because of constant lag when playing online.
And while the gameplay overall feels good, the controls come off as a bit clunky, even more so than before. One could say that it's intentional for the sake of realism, but I still feel they could had been tightened up. As a new feature you can slide and dive in cover which looks impressive, but feels a bit off when you accidentally do it in a hurry. The movement just isn't as accurate and intuitive as one would hope.
Some streamlining could had been appropriate as well. For example to shoot effectively from a distance you must first bring out the scope, and then hold your breath by keeping spacebar pressed. For sniper rifles it's okay, but was it really necessary for all weapons, it seems the devs forgot that sometimes less is more. But it does work at least, and perhaps even adds some immersion and challenge, but I hope their future plans don't include making the player blink their eyes manually, as immersive as it might be.
I do recommend you give America's Army 3 a try, but only because it's free, and only if you consider yourself the patient type. The lack of polish is too obvious, everything feels clunky, slow and cluttered from menus to controls, and there's a chance you might not even get it working. But if you can get over all the obstacles there is a rewarding experience buried underneath.