Today I'm going to talk about a game I've been playing, America's Army: Proving Grounds.
I've been playing this game for a while now and I've gotten pretty addicted. It's a hard game to master, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fun. A realistic military shooter sponsored by the U.S. Army, AAPG is the sequel to America's Army Three which is similar in its basic idea, but the two games are quite different.
When I first started playing this, it was very difficult and frustrating, the only way to get good at it is to practice. If you have played other first person shooters, that will help you out a lot too.
Today, I figured I would just talk about my current in-game experience. Not exactly a review, but I can imagine that this post could definitely influence you as to whether you would want to play this game or not.
Anyways, so AAPG is pretty realistic as far as video games go. It mimics the stress and chaos of real-world combat, and its damage model means that you can get killed very quickly with a variety of weapons if you're not careful.
AAPG doesn't have respawn per se, but you can be revived by teammates if they can reach you and bandage you before you bleed out. But some hits are fatal, and if you get choked out, you can't be revived, or if an enemy player reaches you first and handcuffs you with zipties.
Thankfully, the rounds have a pretty quick turnaround so you don't have to wait too long even if you get killed or secured.
Lately,I have been playing a lot on Bridge: Extract. This is a fun map and I steered away from it at first (fearing snipers) but once you get your feet wet, its a lot of fun to play. The particular server that I've been playing a lot has no limits on weapons, which means that each team can have whatever weapons they want.
Usually, each team is limited to two snipers, two DMRs, two machine guns and so on, but with this server, the whole team can load out with sniper rifles if they want to, which gives you plenty of freedom for your playstyle.
|Friendly player getting revived (note the objective backpack)|
For sniping, this map is excellent. I was doing pretty well sniping, but I became annoyed by enemy snipers that I can't see that hit me out of seemingly nowhere. The map is shrouded with fog, which prevents snipers from ruling the battlefield with impunity.
But there are plenty of channels and beaten paths that players travel, presenting a fair amount of targets if you are a good shot and don't expose yourself too much.
|Sniper leaning out from cover with M24 sniper rifle|
Bridge isn't just for snipers though. The areas under and around the center bridge tower are usually hotly contested with assault rifles, handguns, and grenades.
For a few rounds I played with a shotgun and I dropped a bunch of enemies using that and my M9 pistol while holed up around some roadblocks underneath the tower. The M9 pistol is a 9mm handgun and carries 16 rounds.
It's counter part, the Colt 1911 .45 is pretty cool, but only carries 8 rounds and has harsher recoil.
I have dropped many opponents with the M9 but only one with the M1911, and that was a rare situation. I'm not a very good shot, and I rely more on volume of fire rather than accuracy.
Therefore, I pretty much always carry the M9. I'm sure I could get a kill or two with the .45, but to me its not worth it. I get a much better kill/death ratio with the M9 than I would if I used the 1911.
|M9 in action|
For sniping, the bolt-action M24 is king. It's a lot of fun to shoot, and its rate of fire is pretty fast even though its a bolt-action.
In one instance, a downed enemy was lying on the ground next to the center tower. This is a fairly dangerous spot, as it is pretty exposed to sniper fire. An enemy came out from cover to revive him, and in the ensuing chaos I as tried to shoot them, the downed NME was revived and got up.
But then I managed to drop both of them within five seconds of each other. Getting back-to-back kills isn't too hard when your using the M24. It's a real good gun.
In the extract game mode, the attacking team has to move the objective (blue guidon flag) from their side of the field to the other.
The defending team has to prevent them from extracting the objective, which appears as a black and blue backpack on the player carrying it. If this player gets dropped or killed, the objective appears as a flag again and stays in place til somebody picks it up again.
Teams can win by eliminating each other, or the attack team can win by completing the objective. Defense can win if the attackers run out of time. Most rounds are won by wiping the other team out.
|Enemy player getting revived|
I noticed that most of our team (about two-thirds) would get involved in this heavy combat, and get killed. With such a hotly contested zone it was hard for these soldiers to get revived, and the enemy team would usually push on to our side of the bridge, where there would be a hazy gun battle as they threw smoke grenades and tried to get over to the extraction point.
The extraction point is populated with a ton of shipping containers that are really good for hiding behind and ambushing opponents.
Jumping on this bandwagon (as well as mimicking the tactic of another player) I equipped myself with a M249 machine gun, fitted with a red-dot scope (non-magnifying) and I held back in the shipping container area.
I played a few rounds like this, some where I went out into the action and fell back later, others where I went into action and got killed, and at least another where I stayed back for the duration of the round.
I found this to be very effective, as you can ambush the whole surviving enemy team, blasting them all away as they try to get to extract. In one round, myself and a few other survivors managed to accomplish this. I killed several enemies with my M249, and I got the last player using my M9.
Pistols can be fired extremely fast in the game, and I've noticed that the M9 is like a backup submachine gun. At medium ranges you can drop opponents with aimed double or triple taps, and at close range, you can just empty the entire magazine, spraying your opponent with lead.
If you are playing with a sniper rifle, having a handgun is very useful, unless you can pick up a third gun from a fallen player. Weapons that other players drop come with extra magazines, so its a pretty sweet deal, especially if you get to pick up a enemy weapon.
There was no chance for this guy to be revived since he was lying right in front of me and there was no point in doing it this late in the round when everything was down to the wire. I probably wouldn't have been killed if I had just been smart and waited for the last enemies to come into my field of fire. When I was zip tying this guy, an enemy player quickly dropped me with his assault rifle.
Getting a takedown (chokehold kill) is one of the hardest in-game feats. I have only managed to do this once, and it was in a situation where I was fighting another player one on one, and he was less experienced than me.
I would like to get takedowns more regularly. As for me, I have been taken down a embarrassing amount of times. Or the circumstances were embarrassing, because the same player choked me out three times in the same spot about three rounds in a row.
Takedowns are a fancy pants move, they do have the tactical advantage of being quiet, (shooting can really give away your position) and whoever you choke out can't be revived, so there's no chance of them getting back in action.
But usually, players go out of their way to do a takedown just because its so cool and really marks you out as being skilled (not to mention its pretty humiliating to the victim).
However this can really backfire, as I remember a player who attempted to sneak up on another player to take him down, but the other player turned around and shot him. Going for a takedown is a calculated risk and you have to be careful. Usually its just easier and safer to shoot somebody when you get the drop on them.
And that principle is pretty accurate in real-life combat, as knife fights and things like that are pretty rare. Its always best to kill your enemies from as far away as possible.
In one round where I was playing the VIP, I only had a pistol with sixteen rounds and no extra magazines. I got the drop on another player, and if my profile statistics are correct, I killed this player with just one round to the head. I could have attempted a takedown, but there's a good chance I would have met the same fate as the previous example. You have to be smart! This is no game for Rambo. Its for brainy, patient Rambo!