Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammersby Stephen Cameron
March 22, 2006
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers is the sequel to the award-winning Full Spectrum Warrior. Pandemic Studios developed this offering, published by rock-solid THQ, and have added innovative new features throughout the game. The game offers real-time squad-based action and should be a combat fan’s wet dream!!!
I should start by mentioning that I’m not really the world’s greatest fan of any military type game in the first place; however…the ease of control in FSW:TH quickly made me re-think that ALL military combat games are the same. In fact, Pandemic really did an amazing job here blending enough real-world military authenticity and solid gameplay to snag even a naysayer like myself!
The games graphics are top drawer for sure. Everything from blowing bits of paper and garbage tumbling through the war-torn streets of a fictious middle-eastern city, to Arabic “graffiti” randomly marking area buildings had been done so well that you actually feel immersed into the environment. Now that’s storytelling at its basest form. The realism of the gunfire, of which there is virtually no end, and sounds of falling shell casings and grenade explosions all add to the elaborate virtual world. I found the controls to be well-thought out and not really too complicated, after a short period of time familiarizing yourself with it. The ability to separate your four man squad into two smaller fire teams for multiple engagements was really cool, and again heightened the overall sense of realism. The sound effects were also very well executed (no pun intended…), from the distant background wailing of a local for their fallen brother/father/spouse, to the sudden thunder of the Bradley APC’s assault cannon!
The game utilizes a very handy (probably essential) cover meter and graphic formation display. This means your squads cover, or lack of, is graphically indicated in a rising “threat meter” to clue you into the fact that you are either being fired upon…or will be if you continue to leave your heiny hangin out!!! The formation radar (of sorts) shows you what formations your squad will align in of you choose to execute the movement command after placing the movement cursor at a given location. For instance, you can move to a forward location far beyond your naked eye line of sight, and would have no way of knowing in advance that a squad member will be positioned out in the open, if not for this radar. The game AI has to be, in my estimation, the crowning glory in Full Spectrum Warrior:Ten Hammers. Aside from the fact that you can switch squads on the fly (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…etc) to flank or surprise enemy insurgents, you’re team members will act appropriately WITHOUT orders when the need arises! Here’s a scenario: You have Alpha squad engaging an enemy group head on, both factions behind cover…kind of a stalemate until somebody makes a gutsy/fatal advance? You send Bravo squad off to either side of the enemy group to flank them, and should an enemy run out to try and gain a closer shooting position to Alpha squad, Bravo members will independently open fire to negate his advance, all the while you’re off doing something else? Very cool!!!
The retail version of the game will offer more than 12 levels of action-packed urban warfare and the ability to control everything from small fire squads and sniper teams to mechanized units with the likes of Bradley assault vehicles and armoured Humvees. The online action will include “Friend or Foe”, co-op and head-to-head modes for lots of multiplayer fun. Overall, Full Spectrum Warrior:Ten Hammers was a pleasure to preview, and I believe that all genres of gamers would really enjoy playing such a solid title! We’ll be holding our breath for this one…look for it in stores near month-end March 2006. “Frag ‘em & Bag ‘em”!!!