Full Spectrum Warrior

Format: Xbox

4 005209 053310
Age Restrictions: 16+
25 June 2004

Take control of two light infantry teams as they head behind enemy lines.
Full Spectrum Warrior is a squad-based, tactical-action game that delivers the experience of squad level command in the heat of battle. The product was developed with expertise from University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, which worked with Pandemic to bring state-of-the-art technology to the game. Designed to simulate today's challenges of urban combat missions, Full Spectrum Warrior delivers a level of realism and accuracy that has never been seen in a military-based game...

Yeah, yeah, yeah! We've heard all that promotional puff a million times before. However, the fact is that Full Spectrum Warrior actually delivers what it promises.

The game is based on a light infantry-training simulator designed by Pandemic Studios for the U.S. Army as a tool to reinforce army doctrine and squad tactics amongst troops. However, the small print on the pack claims that: "This game is not sponsored or endorsed by the United States Army" which I found amusing.

Take control of two teams (Alpha and Bravo) each with four team members, with their own specialities, and head off into enemy territory. To be honest it's not essential that you know what each team member does, because completing each level is simply achieved by using the squad as a complete unit.

If one of your squad is incapacitated you can pick him up and carry him until you reach a medic, who will have your wounded as good as new in no time. You can afford to have one man down, but if two fall then your mission is a failure and you must start again from your last save point.

The game's controls look impossibly difficult to start with and the training levels are a real help. These guide you through the main controls and how to deploy your troops, use your weapons effectively and how to use your men as a team.

A nice touch is the fact that while you can restock your main ammo when you get to an area with a UN truck and allied troops, you can't stock up on grenades and other high explosive weapons. This means that you you need to make sure you only use these weapons in emergencies only, otherwise you could find yourself running out in areas when you most need them.

I also loved the in-game banter between your characters - foul-mouthed is probably the best way to describe it. But it is very funny and you don't hear the same dialogue repeated that often.

This is certainly the most realistic battle simulation game I've ever played. The graphics and sound are stunning and the gameplay is extremely addictive. However, it is a little too simple. I managed to finish the game over the course of a few days - and I'm sure more determined gamers could probably finish it in an intense afternoon. The game doesn't really get increasingly difficult as you progress, which is a shame, and it is really easy to finish a lot of the levels without getting killed.

Thankfully there seems to be no serious bugs (although my commanding officer from one troop did somehow end up inside a building during one level, which meant I had to start again from my, and the zoom function doesn't work too well if you try and move the camera - it moves erratically making it difficult to look at your targets).

There is also very little depth to the game. There are very few real choices as you have to guide your men along set routes and if you fail in your bid to traverse a certain area (for example if you get picked off unexpectedly by a hidden sniper) the fact that all of the enemies are predictably in the same place when you restart that level means that this is a game where trial and error comes very much into play.

Impressive graphics and addictive gameplay make this a must own game. It's just a shame it is a little too easy to complete.

Pete Boomer

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