America's Army: Proving Grounds

So far the beta does little to stand out from the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield.

By XboxBetty, Posted 07 Oct 2013

One thing that gamers tend to love is first person shooters. Every month there seems to be a new FPS hitting the shelves with some form of sequel or DLC claiming to be cutting-edge in a world full of shooters. America's Army: Proving Grounds Beta has been available on Steam for close to a month now, and is giving gamers a peek at what to expect from yet another shooter in a genre bloated with a redundancy of copy cats and wannabes.

Matches in Proving Grounds are played in rounds, with the conquering team becoming victorious by winning the majority. Currently there are two types of matches: Forward Line Operation (FLO) and Battle Drill Exercise (BDX). FLO matches are 12 vs. 12, taking place on a larger map and tend to be lengthier, with fewer rounds required to win a match. BDX matches are 6 vs. 6, played on a smaller map, are quicker paced and more rounds are required to win a match.

Within each match there are mission objectives: extract, activate or destroy. Extract is similar to a game of capture the flag. The assault team is tasked with carrying a flag to a specific location in a timely manner, whereas the defense team protects this location and attempts to destroy the opposing team. The objective for activate calls for the assault team to locate three devices, and logically activate them without being taken down by the defensive team. Destroy is similar to the activate objective, only explosives are located and armed, with the defense team able to disarm said explosives. Each objective has its challenges, making for a pleasant variety of missions and an overall positive gaming experience. 


The weapons in America's Army: Proving Grounds consist of your typical shotgun, assault and sniper rifle. Currently there is only one secondary weapon, the M9A1 Pistol, and the load-out screen gives players two spots for any of the four types of grenades: M67 fragmentation grenade, M84 stun grenade, M83 white smoke grenade and M106 fast obscurant grenade. Picking up on the mechanics of these weapons takes some time, and it is helpful to adjust the default controls to what best suits players individually. Overall the gunplay is straightforward, and the game does its best to simulate training that would be seen in the American Army. It is anticipated that gunplay will continue to be tweaked, and more weapons and modifications will be available once the game is out of beta.

Very important attributes of the game include bandaging, reviving and securing. Unless you're an expert, all players will be wounded, often severely, throughout their time with Proving Grounds. Bandaging is a quick solution, bringing players back to 100% health within seconds (*EDIT* bandaging does not bring players back to 100% health, it merely stops bleeding). Teamwork is essential, thus, reviving teammates is a must. Injured players can be revived no more than twice and players earn points by helping an injured soldier. Securing enemy soldiers is done in the same manner as reviving teammates; an injured enemy is taken out of the game with the click of a key, disabling the capability to communicate with their team. All of this is done within seconds.

Veterans of first person shooters will quickly catch on to the gameplay with those new to the genre needing multiple matches to get the hang of things. Once comfortable, gamers from all walks of life will surely enjoy playing America's Army: Proving Grounds for hours on end. The option to use a controller appears to be available under the settings, but is currently not available. This preference may make it easier for console gamers to enjoy America's Army: Proving Grounds, and open up the doors for more to take part.  

America's Army: Proving Grounds is one in a series of video games, comics and of course the US Army, providing a broad universe for fans to explore. As the game is free to play, it's hard not to be tempted by the allure of yet another FPS. So far the beta does little to stand out from the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, but its accessibility and receptiveness make for an outstanding contender for the next exhilarating first person shooter. 

For more information visit

Many thanks to my colleague Daav for his recent support with my adventures in streaming, and allowing me to use the above video.

Megan Bethke (@XboxBetty),

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): U.S. Army
Developer(s): U.S. Army
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Modern Military
Release Date: 2013-08-29

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