Full Spectrum Warrior
Ten Hammers

Format: Xbox

4 005209 076975
Age Restrictions: 15+
23 June 2006

You are the squad leader of multiple infantry forces. Your job - to lead them into action through a host of dangerous missions and environments. There are real-life tactics deployable in order to defeat your opposition, and as squad leader you also have some of the most advanced weapons and military equipment known to man, such as grenade launchers, machine guns, helicopter gunships and mortar stations. The lives of your men are your responsibility. Every decision, no matter how small, can have massive consequences...

Ten Hammers is the sequel to the original Full Spectrum Warrior game. I have to admit to being a huge fan of the first game - despite the fact that it was relatively easy to complete and there were a few too many bugs. In fact a lot of the problems from the first game have not been addressed with the sequel (like the fact that when you have to replay a level you still have to kill the same number of enemy who always come at you from the same position - making it easier for you to plan your tactics once you know where the enemy are going to appear from).

You start the game in familiar territory - with two squads that are dressed in the same style uniform from the previous game. However, once you have completed a few levels you are given new squads to command - a British and Northern Ireland team come equipped with their own expletives and vocal outbursts. Sadly though, there isn't much variety to their speech so you'll hear the same phrases time and time again.

This time around you can split each of your squads into two teams (the team leader and automatic rifleman come as one unit and the rifleman and grenadier as the other). You can also enter buildings and venture upstairs to take up a better firing position on your enemies. Another addition is the ability to control tanks and other units for the odd mission. You can also learn from past mistakes with the in-game replay video system, which gives you the opportunity to look again at your squad's actions and movements. These enhancements do add a lot to the game, but you'll need to make sure that each unit is secure before switching to another team - because if you leave your men in the open for too long they can be shot down before you have time to get back to them and give them orders.

There are a few too many bugs though that really should have been ironed out. I couldn't understand the logic of the control system in firing. You can't customise the camera options and they seemed a bit messed up. For example, when moving around the gaming environment you must push down to look up and vice versa (which is how I always prefer my controls to be configured). However, when you switch to looking down your weapon's sights, the control movement switches so that you must push up to look up and down to look down. Even after days of playing, this was still annoying - and led to plenty of situations where I was killed because I had to mess around with the controls.

Also, when under fire, your team act like they are on a walk in the park. If you direct them to go a certain way some of them go the direct way, while others wander into the enemies line of fire and then eventually make their way to their destination (if they are not shot down).

Then there is the fact that the camera angles are a little restrictive - if you want to move around your team and examine if there are any areas ahead you can move to, it's not as easy as it should be. Also the restrictions on grenade throwing is a little odd. Sometimes you can throw them a long way, other times you can only throw them a very short distance (which usually results in you getting blown to bits).

The enemies AI was also a little odd. More often than not you'll enter an area and be shot down before you know what has happened. But at other times you can stand out in the open near your enemy, who won't spot you - and instead just runs around like a nutter.

Another thing that I thought worthy of mention, although most people won't is that in the later levels the composer was obviously heavily influenced by the music of James Horner.

Now all of my above comments make the game sound unplayable. But the truth is that they are just niggles, rather than serious problems. The end result is still an entertaining game, it's just a shame that it wasn't a little more polished before being released. Fans of the first game will love this follow-up.

Darren Rea

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