The U.S. Army announced today that America’s Army 3, the newest version of its interactive recruitment brochure, will be released later this year.

Like the other America’s Army games, AA3 (which is powered by Unreal Engine 3) will be a free-to-play PC game that attempts to provide an honest-to-goodness authentic simulation of what it’s like to be a soldier in the U.S. Army. “With AA3, we’re taking military gaming to an all new level where every detail counts,” Col. Casey Wardinski, Director of the America’s Army project, said. “We want our America’s Army 3 players to have a greater understanding of the Army and its values.”

Fans of previous America’s Army games should have plenty to look forward to. “In AA3 we’ve taken all of the best features in AA2, incorporated feedback from the AA community and added the latest technology to develop a high-tech game that can be customized by the player to create a much more detailed interactive experience,” Michael Bode, executive producer, said. “One of our key design philosophies is to make the game easily accessible to a new player, while at the same time keeping a deeper layer of complexity for the more advanced players to discover and take advantage of.”

Players start off as a low-level soldier, but eventually move up in the ranks by doing training missions and special operations. You gain experience and as you advance in the game you’re rewarded what the Army is calling “pride moments: vignettes represented visually as an achievement screen, movie or slide show.” Eventually things get interesting and you even get to choose a specialization, like Rifleman, Designated Marksman or Grenadier. Class abilities will be patched into the game as updates are released, like a Combat Medic class due for release in the summer that can heal in multiplayer.

Of course, you’re not going to get anywhere unless you learn how to act like a good soldier. “In the game, as in the Army, accomplishing missions requires teamwork and adherence to the seven Army Core Values,” the Army’s press release writes. “In the game, a player’s actions and demonstrated Army values will have consequences that are integral to success in gameplay and will affect a player’s career progression.” So, does that mean if I don’t demonstrate core Army values I’ll get stuck mopping up floors in the back of the recruitment office? For some reason I don’t think even a videogame could teach me about the “seven Army Core Values”. Maybe if there were a game based on Pauly Shore’s “In the Army Now,” yeah, then we’d be talking.

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