Total Reviews: 5
Average Overall Score Given: 8.32000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 3126

BloodRayne 2

When I first heard about a sequel to BloodRayne I was excited. I enjoyed the first game, although it was shallow, short and easy. But, I still had fun. BloodRayne 2 takes everything I enjoyed about the first game and improves them. Back are all of Rayne's vampire abilities, her devastating blades and some fancy new guns. Terminal Reality really upped their efforts with great new graphics. Overall BloodRayne 2, although lacking in some departments is still a drastic improvement over the original. If you enjoyed BloodRayne you should enjoy the sequel. If you never played the first game, that?s no excuse to not try the second.

However, this is your typical single player action shootem' up game, which means it?s also relatively short and has little replay value. Although not completely obsolete BloodRayne 2 does have unlockable features. You can unlock new costumes for Rayne, cinematics, and other extras. The disc also includes a trailer of the upcoming BloodRayne feature film.

The story of BloodRayne 2 picks up many years after the events of BloodRayne. The original took place during the WW2 era, and Rayne was chasing her father, Kagan who was helping the Nazi's on some paranormal experiments. Well BloodRayne 2 takes place in a modern day setting. Having killed Kagan, Rayne is now hell bent on destroying all his offspring and essentially her own siblings. However these very siblings have found a way to block the sun to allow vampires to walk freely whenever they want. The story is good enough to keep your attention, and keep you playing more to advance the storyline.

The game handles well; the controls are simple and easy to pickup. There is a button for using the blades, a button for kick attacks, a button to feed, and a button to shoot. The d-pad controls your vampire powers.

One of the new features of BloodRayne 2 is a new lock-on ability. Instead of just swinging and kicking wildly into a group of bad guys, you can lock onto one enemy and concentrate your attack at them. This also allows you to open up some nice and violent combo attacks, that can't be performed without the lock-on. The game does offer a variety of combos and moves to learn and remember making the combat fun and different.

Rayne still has the ability to feed on the bad guys whenever she wants. Now when she feeds she can perform "execution moves" which when performed are extremely violent, but impressive to watch. Performing "executions" will charge Rayne's carnage meter. The carnage meter allows you to perform your special vampire abilities. These range from a bullet time effect to "aura vision" which helps you navigate your path.

The game is filled with many mini-boss battles. When you defeat these mini-bosses you will unlock new moves for Rayne's arsenal. You will mostly unlock improved special abilities. Abilities like "dilated perception" will become "super speed" slowing the bad guys, down and speeding Rayne up, that eventually becomes "freeze time." The original abilities are still available. Say you want to use "dilated perception" you simply tap the right direction on the d-pad. If you want to you super speed you tap right twice.

Also new in the sequel is Rayne's firepower. Gone are traditional guns. Now Rayne wields special vampire guns. That shoots a blood bullet. The ammo these guns require is blood. Once your blood ammo is gone, your health will begin to drain with every shot following. To recharge your guns, you have to "feed them." You do this the same way you would to replenish your health, except while you?re feeding you press the fire button, which will initiate a pretty cool animation to refill the guns. The guns can also be upgraded with different shot types.

Rayne still has her nifty harpoon. However this also has a bit of an upgrade now as well. Instead of just pulling bad guys to you for feeding you can now fling them from the end of your chain in any direction. You can use this to impale bad guys on surrounding sharp objects. Doing this increases your carnage meter.

Rayne is still quite the acrobat. She can swing on horizontal bars, climb polls, back flip, cartwheel and several other moves.

The game consists mostly of moving into a room, dispatching some bad guys and using many of your acrobatic moves to get to the exit. The game I think tries to feed off the success of The Prince of Persia, unfortunately it falls short. It just doesn?t have the fluid transition when it comes to the acrobatics aspect of the game. Don't get me wrong, its still fun; it just doesn?t flow as well.

Also another grip I have with the game is that most of the puzzles consist of flinging bad guys into certain things with your harpoon. Say there is a garbage truck blocking the path; you'll need to fling a certain amount of bad guys into the back of the garbage truck to destroy it. Unfortunately with this aspect of the game, it tends to get repetitive. Not to mention before each area, it normally shows you just how to do it with a certain cut scene, also very similar to Prince of Persia.

The major flaw of this game is the total lack of polish. Also the difficulty level could be a bit higher; however it does get increasingly harder as you progress.

The visuals in this game are very nice. The Rayne model is very detailed and animated well. The bad guys tend to be repetitive; however some of them do have unique designs. The textures are good. However the environments are kind of boring and uninspired. Don't get me wrong, the graphics on this game are wonderful for a multi-platform game. Terminal Reality really stepped it up a level with the new graphics for the game. They also implemented rag-doll physics for the enemy deaths. If you execute a spectacular finish of someone like throwing them through a window and down a large shaft, it will cut to a slow-motion style special effect similar to Max Payne 2. Terminal Reality also has implemented a Havok type physics engine for environment interaction.

However like I said, the game lacks polish. This comes into account in the animation department. The animation at times can be jerky. The bad guys sometimes tend to just pop up from a laying down position. The collision detection when fighting also can be difficult. At times it seems as if you should be slashing right through someone but you're actually not doing anything at all. Overall I'm extremely impressed with the graphical aspect of this game. Granted problems do exist but the improvements over the first game are very noticeable.

The sound of BloodRayne 2 would have to be my favorite part. I think the voice acting of this game was extremely well done. The special effects on some of the character voices are very cool as well. Rayne is still voiced by the same actress as the original. The other voice actors have done a phenomenal job of bringing the characters and story to life.

The game doesn?t have a lot of music, but when it does, the music I think is appropriate. It?s a mix of rock and techno, and usually only kicks in during the really intense parts. I can't express how much I enjoy the voice acting of this game. Some may say it?s over the top, I think its just right.

Suggestions: After playing BloodRayne 2 the few things I would suggest in a future installment would be to take more time and polish the game up. Try to make a less linear experience and add some variety to the missions and goals.

Overall Score: 8.4 / 10 Burnout 3: Takedown

First off let me say that I am in no way a fan of racing games. Infact I would go as far as saying I hate racing games. I never liked Project Gotham, Rallisport, or MotoGP. I never found it fun just driving laps over and over. That being said I absolutely love Burnout 3. Not just because of the high speed and wonderful frame rate, but I also find this game fun. I know, I know you're saying to yourself well you're driving laps and you've already said you don't find that fun. The big difference in this game for me among other racers is the crashing. The crashing makes it fun. Also not every race consists of driving in laps. The challenges vary and that adds to the appeal for me. Not to mention the online play but I will get to that later.

Burnout 3 is insanely easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple, the game has no learning curve which makes it more appealing to the average gamer.

The content of the game is a great mix. Tons of variety and lots of things to unlock, enough to keep people coming back for more. You have several different options to choose from. You can choose the gametype you want to play and rack up points that way, or you can participate in the Burnout 3 World Tour and unlock cars and events that way.

The different game modes mix up a variety of different objectives. For example in one mode you can be on either the red team or the blue team, the blue team races and the red team chases. The object is for the blue team to successfully cross the finish line without being taken out by the red team. Other game modes simply put you in a car and send you straight into the heart of traffic to cause the biggst pile up and dollar damage you can.

Collecting crash dollars unlocks new crash cars. Winning single races and scoring takedowns will help you unlock other cars and events. Takedowns happen when you successful wreck an opposing car. When you execute a takedown you add onto your burnout meter. But if you're takendown you will lose the extra burnout meter. To accumulate more burnout simply drive dangerously. Tailgate, slam cars, drive on the wrong side of the road, driving dangerously will add burnout to you meter, but taking other race cars out is the only way to make your burnout meter longer.

When you play the Burnout World Tour you can chose to either do crash challenges or other race challenges. The race challenges vary from Time Challenges to one on one races, Grand Prix's and others.

The game consists of six major car classes. Compact, Muscle, Coupe, Sports, Special and Crash. The Crash cars can't be used in anything other then Crash Party or Team Crush. However the other cars can be used in any mode.

One cool new feature in Burnout 3 is the "aftertouch" feature. When you are racing in a normal race and you wreck the game will go into a cinematic type mode, when that happens you can now hold the A button to slow down time and steer your wreck in an attempt to cause other racers to wreck if you successful cause another racer to wreck you will be rewarded with an "aftertouch takedown."

Now for the online. This is the third game from EA that is now on Xbox Live. I'm sure the many of EA fans are happy as a pig in slop that EA has finally gone Live. Unfortunately EA's online offering is extremely lacking in this particular game. Well maybe not lacking but poorly done. The game is great online, all the game modes are available and there is a ton of people playing so finding a game is never an issue. What is an issue is staying connected, or staying in a room. After every few races people are randomly kicked from Live, or the room the are currently playing in. The menus are also confusing at first. Because EA insisted on using their own servers as part of their online deal the games are broken down into lobby's where EA has banks of servers I.E. East Coast, West Coast, Central, France so on and so forth. You can still use the optimatch and quick search features to find a game in any of the lobby's. However don't plan on making many friends in a particular room because the likeliness that you will play with them for very long is extremely isn't high due to the abundence of disconnects and kicks that occur. I don't know if its poor net coding or bad servers on EAs behalf, but it has become increasinly frustrating playing with a group of people for a few races, you're starting to enjoy yourself and BOOM when the next race finishes you're getting kicked out of Live. Another annoyance about the online aspect would be when you start a game of Crash Party and one person drops, the games load time increases 10x's what it was, but the worst part is that it goes for every single round. So if you have a Crash Party set for 5 rounds and someone drops the first round you will wait extra long for the rest of the rounds it is extremely annoying. One other thing that is a negative in my book would be the fact that EA has absolutely no plans whatsoever for downloadable content. I certainly hope that they atleast intend to fix the numerous problems with the online experience of this game. If they don't address that atleast, I feel many gamers are being let down. This is not something that is only happening to myself. Everyone is experiencing these random disconnects and kicks. These things are so annoying that I've turned the game off due to frustration. Especially when I'm trying to play with friends.

The visuals of the game are amazing. The frame rate is something out of this world. The speed in which the game runs adds to to challenge. When you have your burnout going the screen blurs and the feeling speed is intense.

The tracks are well down and the enviorments are nice, but you're flying by so fast its hard to stop and admire.

The crashing is the best part. When you play Crash Party and cause a huge pile up there is no limit of tires, doors, cars and other debris flying everywhere. Slamming into other cars and the walls will cause sparks to fly . The cars all damage nicely bumpers drag and cause sparks, hoods rip off, doors fall off.

The cars themselves are modeled well. Some you will recognize, others where just drawn up. But the variety is there and you have lots to chose from.

From the sound of the wind rushing by you to the cars smashing into one another the sound effects all fit together nicely. When you are blazing by with your burnout it really feels like your are doing hundred something miles an hour just by the rush of the wind. Yet when you slam into the wall, or the front of a tracker trailer and the car crushing explosion happens you thank god it was only a game.

The music in the game is probably hit or miss for some people. It seems like a mixture of modern alternative with some punk mixed in. The delivery of the music while in a race is similar to that of a radio station with a DJ named Stryker. Stryker quickly makes you hate him with his stupid remarks and repeat comments. Fortunately enough EA did include the ability for custom soundtracks so put in the music that you want.

Suggestions: Make sure the online aspect works right when the game ships. That is my biggest problem with this game as of now.

Overall Score: 8.4 / 10 Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

When I first heard about Psi-Ops I was skeptical. Midway had been on a decline as far as game quality goes as of lately. However Psi-Ops was a very big surprise to me. I'm enjoying the game very much. The presentation and gameplay are very well done. It's not as stealthy as I think they built it up to be from early on, none the less its still a blast to play and a game definitely worth some attention. The Psi powers are a great idea and make the game fun. Infact playing through the game I hardly use the guns that are available, its just to hard to resist picking up an enemy and throwing them around with your mind. Not to mention throwing them into an incinarator or off a broken bridge.

Psi-Ops is your typical third person shooter action game. You are Nick Scryer and you work for a secret branch of the government known as Mindgate. You have Psi power match only by a few. Former employees of Mindgate have splintered off and formed a rebel group bent on world domination. The group is controlled by a rogue general, who unlike his cohorts has no Psi abilities, but has a plan to acquire them. The story is very in depth and actually kept my attention.

The game starts off with an impressive FMV scene showing a massive assault on the Mindgate compound. Nick and his troops try to fight of the assault but are overwhelmed. He is captured and taken to the Generals base.

When you finally get to take control, you have no Psi abilities. Let not your heart be troubled. Your Psi powers started "awakening" quickly. I like how Midway incorporates the training of the Psi powers into the game. As you play through the game and a new Psi power "awakens" the main story stops and you are warped into a memory of the training that Nick originally went through to learn the abilities. You get to play through all the trainings so you get accustomed to the abilities. Once you've completed the trainings, the story picks back up but now you can use that Psi power.

The Psi powers themselves are very cool. For instance you have telekinesis, Pyrokensis, Mind Control, Remote Viewing, and Mind Drain. Each is activated by a simple button press on the controller. Telekinesis of course is the ability to control objects with your mind, with this power you can control no kidding every single thing you can see. You can pick up people, boxes, steal boxes, dropped weapons, explosive canisters, chairs, tables, fire extinguishers. The is probably the most used Psi power in the game. You can use it to stack cracks, and climb to higher areas. You can also pick up attacking enemies and either levitate them mid air, and gun them down or you can hurl them in any direction. Pyrokenisis is pretty self explanatory. You unleash a fireball igniting anything in its path on fire. Mind Control is also obvious, taking control of someones mind either have them hit a switch for you or kill their friend, or them self. Remote Viewing, allows you to leave your body and scout ahead going through closed doors. All the powers are useful but as I said Telekinesis is the most useful. You will use this power the most to throw enemies around, throw things at enemies or get something out of reach.

The Psi-Powers are not your only weapon. Nick is also packing heat. Well he acquires it from fallen enemies. Nick can only carry two weapons at once, so choose wisely. When it comes to gun battles, Nick can put his back to a wall peak around a corner jump out and unleash hell on an enemy a little Sam Fisher-esq. Nick can also crouch, and sneak up on enemies, hide behind cover, or climb crates. You can also use Mind Drain to suck brain waves out of living and dead enemies to replenish your Psi power. Dead enemies will only give you a limited amount, but a living person will almost fill you up. However you can only use Mind Drain on a living person if you've successfully snuck up on them.

The game is very straight forward and easy to pick up and play. The level of difficult seems just about right. The enemies will duck for cover, some will charge you guns a blazing.

The boss battles are one of the best parts about the game. They are all very different and very fun. One battle pits you against a former friend, infact the you will recognize the man as the person who trained you in your Psi Powers. You must battle him in an open train yard. As your Psi powers are not as strong as his, you must pick up crates and launch them at him. All the while he is picking up tanker trucks, and train cars and launching them at you. This is just one of the many great boss battles.

The game is pretty lenghty with plenty of levels and areas to visit. However once its beaten I don't think there is much of a reason to replay the game.

Graphically Psi-Ops is nice. Maybe not up to par with graphics that could've been if the game was exclusive to Xbox. Nevertheless they are still good and easy on the eyes. The character models are all uniquely different. The environments are ok, some are bland and common. Like your typical all metal corridor. The game will take you from military bases, to train yards, to office buildings.

Alot of the environment is destructible, and Midway did a nice job incorporating the Havok engine into the game.

The particle from explosions are done well. You can pick up a canister with telekinesis hurl it into an area causing it to explode living black charred markings everywhere. As with the Pyrokinisis you can engulf a stack of crates in flames, once the flames go out the crates will be charred and ashy, and easily fall apart. Also if you have a row of crates or anything flammable and you ignite the first crate it will send a chain reaction all the way down the line as long as things are flammable. When you pick up an enemy you can slam them into a wall with Telekinesis and blood will splatter everywhere. Or if you are able to sneak up on someone you can use Mind Drain and suck their brain power until their head explodes in a nice bloodly explosion with head and brain chunks flying everywhere. Also if you light a person on fire once they go out their bodies will be blackened and burnt as well.

The FMV's and cut scenes all look good. There is an area where you are running through a hallway while someone is casting all these illusions around you. The screen blurs and people and things pop up everywhere. It really feels like you are hallucinating.

The sound effects of the game are probably my least favorite part. The guns sometimes sound awkward and other sound effects just aren't as good as they could be.

But to make up for that the voice acting is excellent. For a bunch of unknown people I must give them around of applause. Each character is brought to life very well. The acting is believable and very entertaining. The entire game is very cinematic.

Midway did a good job with the cast of voices they put together. The voices really fit with their character on screen which makes for some enjoyable interaction.

Suggestions: While Psi-Ops is a very good game. Maybe tightening up the controls a bit could help, they sometimes feel very loose. Improve the in games graphics a bit and sound effects. All in all the past two games Midway has produced have been a big improvement from past Midway games.

Overall Score: 8.4 / 10 Spider-Man 2

When Activision released Spider-Man a few years ago it was a surprisingly decent title. Normally comic book hero's don't translate well to video game. However Treyarch did a commendable job with the original especially following along the story lines of the movie. Well now Spider-Man 2 is out in movie theaters and Activision also released Spider-Man 2, again developed by Treyarch. The game improves on many of the things that Treyarch did in the original and corrects some stuff that was left out of the original. Overall if you where someone that enjoyed the original game, then you should definately enjoy its sequel.

The first noticable thing about Spider-Man 2 is the fact that you aren't confined to just the top of buildings. Treyarch has recreated the entire island of Manhatten pretty impressively. You can walk the streets, swing from building to building, jump from roof top to roof top. The entire city is your playground. You can climb all the way to the top of the Empire State Building and oversee the entire city. It really is impressive.

Another huge improvement of the game is the webswinging. Treyarch has made it drastically more realistic this time around. Spidey actually has to have something to attach his web to now. No more can you just shot your web into the air and swing. Also the controls of the swinging are nice as well. Treyarch included two different modes for the swinging. One is easy mode, where its just basic web swinging, the other is advanced where its more user controlled. With the advanced web swinging you can dive off a building, shot your web out swing down a busy street, break from that current web, charge your jump launch yourself higher, push the left thumb stick to the left, push the R trigger and shot the web to the left. The web shooting is direction sensetive, if you want to shot your web to a building to your right you push to the right, if you want to shot to the left just push to the left. Its very fun, and at times can distract from the main goals at hand because its so fun. You can even have two webs attached at once. Say you are in between two buildings already attached to one web, you can shot another web to a building to your other side, without disconnecting from the other web. You then can give yourself a catapault type launch from the two webs. Similar to how Spider Man reached the bridge at the end of Spider Man the movie.

Now moving on from the web swinging. We get into the rest of the game. As well this time around Treyarch tried to make the game open ended. Unfortunately I would say it doesn't quite fit the open ended feel people have gotten to know from Grand Theft Auto. True you can go anywhere and do anything (well almost anything) but sometimes it feels more of a chore then anything. As you're swinging around or walking around which ever you prefer random citizens will ask for help, or a random crime may be committed. Unfortunately Treyarch didn't involve to many different scenrios so you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again. Whether its stopping an armored car robbery, helping the police in a shot out, reaching a man that is about to fall of a building, or getting an injured person to the hospital.

However when you do complete these tasks you are awarded hero points, which you can later use at stores to buy upgrades. Upgrades include increased speed in web swinging, more combat moves and some other various items.

The game is broken up into chapters. Most of the chapters involve just going here and talking to this person or making it somewhere in a certain amount of time. Sometimes you'll be confronted with situations that will require combat. However almost every single chapter will require you to earn a certain amount of hero points in order to proceed to the next chapter. This is where the open ended feel goes right out the window. You are forced to do these random boring tasks over and over again if you wish to proceed in the game. Unforunately it feels more like Treyarch was trying to stretch the game out then truely make it open ended. For those who wish to just barrel through and not bother exploring, collecting tokens, or doing the MJ/Bugle missions the game is insanely short.

Fortunetly there are some other things to do. Scattered throughout the city are different challanges, that mostly consist of racing through goals on your web. Aside from the main story there is alot of stuff that you can do involving just searching the city. There are lots of different tokens to collect. Secret tokens and sky scraper tokens are just a few. You can also do mission exclusive to Mary Jane, that pretty much just consist of meeting her somewhere before time runs out. Same with the Daily Bugle. Occassionally Robbie will give you assignments to do, that involve going to different places and taking pictures in a set period of time. You can also deliver pizza's if you want.

The combat is very similar to the original Spider-Man. One button does most of the attacking, you can also dodge when your spider sense warns you, and counter attack, there are air combos. You eventually purchase more lethel attacks that require button combinations to execute. Also some cool stuff with your web like webing bad guys to light polls. Also in the game is something they call "spider reflexes" which is similar to a bullet time type effect.

The story of the game follows the story of the movie. Of course Treyarch had to include some other villians along the way to lengthen the game out. You'll encounter villians such as Rhino, Mysterio, as well as the mysterious Blackcat, and the recycled Shocker. However these battles seem out of place and random, not to mention extremely easy. Sometimes it feels as if its just thrown together.

The visuals of the game are decent, but nothing to write home about. As mentioned before the most impressive thing about the game is the modelling of the city.

The spider-man character model looks good and is animated nicely, as is Dr. Oct. However some of the other characters like MJ, Harry, even Peter Parker look awkward and bland from the in game cut scenes. When Parker is not dressed as Spider-Man he looks almost like a hobbit, short and stocky. But as Spider-Man he's tall and slender. Maybe its just my eyes playing tricks on me, I don't know.

The FMV scenes are nice though. The models in those scenes look as they should. Doctor Octavious looks like Alfred Molina, Parker looks like Toby so on and so forth. The character models of the citizens are very repetative.

One other thing which is more of a pet peeve of mine would be the lack of lip movement for anyone. The in game cut scenes between MJ, Harry, Peter or who ever lack lip movement. When you are speaking to a pedestrian their lips also don't move. Sometimes when there are alot of people on the screen you wonder who exactly is talking to you.

The game does have some nice graphical touches. Namely when you are swinging around and you break from a web it will stay there and blow in the wind. Also Treyarch incorporated some ragdoll physics on the badguys. Sometimes after you've disposed of a bad guy you can pummel their bodies for a while, or swing them around on your web.

The voice acting in the game is ok. Sometimes it feels like there is no emotion. Toby Mcguire in some spots seems like he is being forced to do it. There is no energy behind it, nothing. The best voice acting in the game would have to be Bruce Campbell. Treyarch brought Bruce back to do the narration again, which is a relief given such lack luster voice acting. He adds some good humor and an actual feel that someone was enjoying themself.

However not all the voice acting is bad. Alfred Molina does an absolutely excellent job of bringing to life Otto Octavious through the game. One of the big disappointments for the voice acting would be Treyarchs apparent inability to get the actor who plays Jameson (from the Daily Bugle) to lend his voice for the game. It's obvious from the moment you first talk to Jameson its not him, however the actor they did find does a nice job but it just doesn't seem like Jameson without that voice.

The voice of Mysterio is done well, and is rather funny. Some people may or may not notice different references Mysterio makes as he is taunting you. At one point he will say the phrase "Clatoo Varata Nictoo" if anyone is a Bruce Campbell fan they would know thats the phrase Ash is supposed to say in Army Of Darkness. One other funny line I noticed with Mysterio was, as he makes a threat to destroy the city he utters "you have no chance, make your time." Which is from a popular internet flash movie known as "All Your Base." Which originally came from a poorly translated Genesis game. These few things make the battle with Mysterio fun and entertaining.

Something I found strange about the game is the total lack of music. For most of the time as you are traveling around the city its silent as far as music goes. Of course you'll hear pedestrians give the occasional taunt or encouragement but for the most parts its quiet. Everyone once in awhile however music will kick in. But it seems like only whena chapter is about to climax.

Yet the lack of music isn't all that bad. Sometimes its nice to not have music blaring none stop. It also allows you to hear the woosh of the wind blow past you as you swing around. Also when you take a swan dive from a high building the sound of the wind barrelling past you really gives you the feel of falling from a tremendous height.

Suggestions: My suggestions first off would be to really give us an open ended game. Improve the graphics. I feel in this generation of consoles there is no reason lips shouldn't move when talking, heck even if they aren't in sync with the words just make them move.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Full Spectrum Warrior

Picture this, you're in a hostile country, you're there for peace keeping reasons, you're there to eliminate a dictator, and rid the country of terrorists, but the locals don't see it that way. It's hot, dusty and you want to go home, but you're a soldier, you know your duty. In Full Spectrum Warrior you take charge of 2 fire team squads "Alpha" and "Bravo." You issue field commands just as a commander in the field would. You relay the message to the team leaders and the team leaders issue the orders to their squad, just like a real chain of command in the United States Army.

A little history of Full Spectrum Warrior. This game was originally created as a training simulation for in urban combat for the United States military. Pandemic was asked by the military to create a realistic, life like simulation they could have real soldiers practice with. That's where THQ comes in. THQ saw this as a perfect opportunity to benefit on the amazing realism of this simulation, thus they asked Pandemic to put a story behind it, add some personality to the in game soldiers and THQ would mass market the game as a revolutionary new game for the Xbox. Giving gamers an idea of what its like to control two military units deep in urban combat.

What the game lacks in the gameplay department, it makes up for in realism and other departments.

Revolutionary is right, this game screams realism. You start off going through some intense training levels, where you'll learn fire orders, moving from cover to cover, proper use of grenades and a few other important tactics. The training levels are so deep that you learn everything you'll need for battle in urban combat. To be honest after I finished the training levels I felt as if I could be in the Army.

Once the training is over you're thrown into the mix. Pandemic has created a fictional country called Zekistan where a dictator has been ethnic cleansing, not to mention harboring terrorists. The UN has moved into Zekistan to remove this evil person, but not without heavy resistance.

There are so many small things that add up to one impressive whole with Full Spectrum Warrior. For instance by holding down one of the controller buttons you will display a "fog of war" what this does is make the area's around your unit that are not directly sighted by one of your soldiers blurry to indicate you are vulnerable from that area.

Both of your team leaders come equiped with GPS systems which you can access at anytime to look for alternate routes, or even call in recon flights to help you locate targets.

Each team is comprised of four soldiers. A team leader, grenadire, rifleman, and automatic rifleman. Each soldier is selectable by using the corresponding direction on the direction pad. Each soldier carries frag grenades however you are limited, the grenadire carries the gun mounted grenade launcher, and you're also equiped with smoke grenandes. Since grenades are so few lobbing grenades isn't always the answer. Also you can easily move between the two units by pressing the "Y" button.

The main focus of Full Spectrum Warrior is alot of engaging with one unit, while the other flanks an entrenched enemy. When engaging an entrenched enemy if they have good cover and you have good cover you will shoot at eachother until everyone is blue in the face, but no one will be killed. Thats where the flanking comes in. You must use your GPS and find routes with your other team to successfully flank enemies. However this isn't always the case. Sometimes you'll come to a situation where enemies can't be flanked and you may have to use a team to lay down suppressive fire while your other team moves up. When a team moves up on an enemy that is dug in, that enemy will usually fall back for farther cover. Until you've pushed them far enough back where the area is more open and the cover is less available. Not all cover is good cover though, things like cars, sofa's, boxes will splinter and eventually be destroyed leaving you vulnerable. More on that later.

One very cool feature about Full Spectrum Warrior is the replay. Every single mission you do is recorded and saved. You can watch your replay's again to impress yourself or you can use them to learn from your mistakes. If you are killed in battle you can load the last saved replay, watch your actions as you did them come to the part where you may have made a bad decission, realize what you did wrong and know how to correct it. From that spot in the replay you can choose to "jump into replay." This will insert you right into that specific moment in that replay, so that you can correct your mistake and make the mission successful.

Just like the Army has zero tolerence for casualties Full Spectrum Warrior has zero tolerence as well. If a soldier is killed it's mission failed. However it's not one shot kills here, unless of course you're kissing an rpg. When a soldier is down, a skull will appear in his spot on the direction pad you have a certain amount of time from the time he goes down until the time he dies. You must secure that soldier before he dies or mission failed. Once you have secured that soldier one of his team mates will hoist him onto their soldiers. This ultimately slows this soldier down and renders him useless in gun fights. However it also slows your entire squad down, because they will move as slow as the man carrying the wounded.

Your progress is constantly being saved throughout missions at designated locations called ; (situation reports). This spots will save your game and replay's. Also as you advance through missions you will come across "CasEvac's" or medical stations and resupply trucks. When you have a wounded soldier this is where you take him, when you are low on ammo this is where you resupply. A soldier in the field with no ammo is a dead man, so conserving ammo is important.

Full Spectrum Warrior offers two levels of difficulty one being a normal mode and the other a hard mode. The hard mode offers more enemies and less grenades.

Unfortunately the AI in the game I think could've been much improved. They do run for cover and they do engage you before you engage them. However sometimes they jump out right in front of you. Example I was checking around the corner of an ally and a bad guy just jumped out into the middle of the ally and stood there, I easily gunned him down. Also as I said before alot of the game is flanking, and there is no random action by the enemies. Everything is scripted so you begin to learn where they will be and some things become more or less trial and error.

When you're done toying around with the single player game you can hop online and with a buddy you can lead your teams through the story mode in a cooperative gameplay. One of you controls alpha team and the other bravo team. On Xbox Live you can also trade replays with friends and other players to see how they may have executed a particular situation.

I am extremely impressed with the visuals in this game. Pandemic focused on realism even in the graphics department. Texture's up close are a little bland, but from a distance everything is pretty. Each soldier has specific equipment on his person, the team leader carries the all important field radios. The enviorments are big and really gives the feel of a Middle East setting.

The partical effects are very nice as well. If you're using a corner for cover and an enemy is firing away at you, the corners will chip away. You'll never become exposed because its just little bits here and there but its impressive none the less. Now some other forms of cover you won't be so fortunate. Sofa's will be blown to pieces, crates will be fully destroyed, cars eventually blown up. If you're taking fire from behind a car you can see the bullet holes correspond with the incoming bullets. Car doors will swing open and closed, bumpers will fall off. Cover is represnted by a shield above your heads or an enemies head. If you are in solid cover a solid shield will appear. If you or an enemy is behind destructable cover this will be indicated by a shield with an "energy bar" so to say, once that bar is gone you or they are vulnerable.

Throughout the city streets you move through you'll see posters of actual real life terrorists on the walls namely Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, and other posters you've probably seen on the nightly news. Dust will blow around, papers and other debris gets picked up in the wind. Looking directly at the sun gives a glaring hazy effect. When you call in a recon flight the "small bird" helicopter will fly over head. The streets are also littered with cars, crates, sandbags, dumpsters and tons of other things to seek for cover.

The character models are very detailed, each soldier looks different has unique features and a distinct appearance each also as a very different personality. The team leader of the bravo team even has an appropriately placed NYPD on the back of his helmet. You soldiers will act concerned when a fellow soldier goes down, and be releived when he is given medical treatment. You frequently recieve radio communications while in the field, this is indicated by a flashing red light on the team leaders radio unit.

The animation is amazingly smooth in this game. Everything from running, to positioning themselves for better shots, throwing grenades, scouping up a wounded team mate.

The game uses the ever growing popular rag doll physics for death animations, some can be pretty amusing especially when the death comes as the result of a grenade or rpg.

The game does display in 480p. So those who have HDTV's will get an even better picture.

The final piece to Full Spectrum Warrior is the sound. The sound is by far my favorite part of the game. The music, guns, grenades, helicopters and the chatter between squadmates.

The in game music sounds like music taken directly from the movie Black Hawk Down, a mixture of rock and Middle Eastern.

The guns all sound extremely realistic. When my automatic rifleman poked his head around the corner and started ripping loose with the M429 SAW I got goosebumps, especially when I saw his target drop. There are times when you have to call in mortor or artillery back up, the explosions sound like you could be right there in the battle. Tie that in with a nice 5.1 dolby digital surround sound system and you've got yourself a nice gaming experience.

But the best part comes from the chatter among squadmates. They normally chat with eachother, make silly comments or cuss like a sailor. Yes the game does have a lot of vulgarity, and not just stopping with a few bad words, you will frequently here the "F" word fly around. But I guess that adds to the realism of being in a combat zone. When you are controlling one unit and the other unit is under fire, you will hear them reporting into the team leader of the unit you're currently watching. You will hear all this through that team leaders radio pack.

Alot of the dialogue is very military authentic. Words like "squawk" (radio)and other military lingo is common in this game. In one spot two of your squad joke about not knowing what the "squawk" is.

The sound of Full Spectrum Warrior is the final piece that brings together a extremely realistic and new style of game.

Suggestions: I would suggest improved enemy AI. While the AI of the two teams is great, the enemies seem a little dumb. Less scripted actions from the AI. The ability to enter buildings. Are just a few suggestions.

Overall Score: 8.4 / 10

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