| Blood and Gore, Strong Language,
| The Good
Strategy oriented gameplay is a nice change of
Multiplayer modes are a fine addition
| The Bad
Character models could use more polish
Controlling troops sometimes felt more like a
War themed games tend to be a dime a dozen. To set oneself
out in the genre, developers have to take a different perspective
on the warfield. Most third person shooters tend to try and
make the gamer feel as though they're one man waging a war
in the heart of a battlefield. With Full Spectrum Warrior,
the player is given the feel of a field commander watching
the battle through an observer's eyes. Rather than pulling
the trigger, players are given command over squads of four
soldiers who fight the war for you.
The story behind Ten Hammers follows events in Zekistan,
where the Al-Afad regime has been taken down, leaving the
country in unrest. US and Coalition forces must deal with
various factions, including Al-Afad loyalists, the Mujahideen
al-Zeki, the Anser al-Ra'id and the Khardiman Militia. The
heart of the conflict plays out in the Tein-Hamir region and
Once players get into the game, they'll find themselves in
control of squads of soldiers (be it one squad or multiple,
including armored vehicles). Using the left analog stick,
the player orders where the current squad needs to move. Often,
you'll have them move into a location where they can take
cover. This is displayed in the bottom right corner as you
move the cursor to locations in site. Players can move their
squad to corners, behind vehicles and barricades, up stairs
and into window locations. Move options include running to
the selected area or a slower move with weapons drawn.
While under cover, players can hit the X button to bring
up the Fire Cursor, which allows you to set the area your
squad will aim. If enemies are in this area, your soldiers
will fire on them. This is essential as enemies who aren't
being fired on can make your life hard. The more firepower
you have on them, the more likely you will be to kill them
or force them to cover. Holding the X Button will allow you
to also pick smoke or frag grenades, both of which are useful
in multiple combat situations.
Each squad is composed of four soldiers, each with their
own unique skills: the Team Leader is your link to mission
data and contact with command; the Automatic Rifleman is best
for laying down suppressing fire; the Grenadier is useful
for his grenade launcher; and the Rifleman acts as scout and
sniper. You can swap between characters by using the D-Pad.
While you have limited control over the characters, you can
use each soldier's unique skill when selected. By using the
White and Black buttons, you can even break your four man
team down to two teams of two. This is useful when you only
have one squad available to you and need to flank an enemy.
The B Button allows the player to set their Fall Back position,
call for cover or tell their squad to fall back. This is essential
for when you come under heavy fire and want to pull back rather
than lose men. The Y Button lets you switch between squads,
including your two man teams, if necessary.
During combat, you're sure to have one of your soldiers go
down. You'll need to have the squad pick up the soldier and
return him to the nearest CASEVAC, where the soldier can get
medial attention and be replaced by another soldier. The CASEVAC
is essential for obtaining more ammunition. When your squad
goes out, they have a limited amount of ammo, which can be
used up during extended firefights.
While the singleplayer mode is pretty intense and will keep
more players busy for a while, those who want to play with
others will enjoy the multiplayer modes. Xbox gamers have
the choice between Xbox Live and system link of up to eight
players. Instead of the standard modes, multiplayer is more
mission oriented, allowing for teams to take on different
real combat responsibilities. Considering the different take
that the game already takes with how its gameplay is established,
the multiplayer really had to be more goal oriented.
Visually, what works best for Full Spectrum Warrior
is the massive city locations and the fine attention to detail.
As you move you men through the streets, you'll be amazed
with both the number and variety of places you can set them
up for combat cover. The high level of real-world details
helps to draw the player into the mood of the game. While
character models have a nice bit of detail, they could use
a little polish and the faces tend to be lifeless. As battles
play out, real-time destruction adds a nice touch to the visuals.
Bullets tear up parked cars and windows can be blown out.
With multiple teams and numerous enemies on screen, the visual
action can play out quite nicely. The visual effects are a
bit scaled down, but considering the more realistic feel of
the game, this isn't much of an issue.
The audio portion goes a long way to make Full Spectrum
Warrior feel as though the player is dropped into a war
zone. It's as it Pandemic ripped the audio straight out of
Black Hawk Down and the mood it sets is nice. Music,
when present, is nice but is ultimately secondary to the effects.
Guns and explosions all have real world depth. The voiceovers
are pretty solid without being outstanding, but the comments
made during combat add another layer to the game.
For the most, the game holds together quite well, but there
are some issues I wish were a bit different. I felt moving
the troops was a little loose as the cursor seemed to require
more effort than needed to get your troops to locations that
you wanted the to be placed. Also, moving troops through cleared
territory seemed to take a lot of effort. Finally, there was
the rare occasion where the soldiers acted oddly, or not at
all. One case in point: two of my soldiers went down, and
upon ordering the squad to take them back to the CASEVAC,
only one soldier picked up a body, leaving the second just
standing around doing nothing. When the first guy reach the
CASEVAC, none of the squad would move, as if they were struggling
with conflicting AI orders.
If you want full control over your characters, then Full
Spectrum Warrior may be a little "distant" for you. But,
for those looking for a more strategic feel to their gameplay,
this title offers up a nice challenge while providing more
than enough gameplay to test out your ability to command troops.