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Full Spectrum Warrior Review





Developer: Pandemic Publisher: THQ
Release Date: June 1, 2004 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox

Based on a military simulation used to train soldiers in the US Army, Full Spectrum Warrior brings the extreme realism of urban combat to your Xbox like no other. Nominee for six prestigious awards at E3 2003, Full Spectrum Warrior was looking to be one of the best games on the Xbox. The mere fact that is was nominated for best of show next to the likes of Halo 2, Ninja Gaiden, and Half Life 2 is a great accomplishment. In actuality, how good is this game?

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The feeling of intense urban warfare would never be brought to life without exceptional visuals. Full Spectrum Warrior does not disappoint at all. The environments are highly detailed to create the most realistic experience of Urban Tactical Combat. Your platoon is bump-mapped and looks fantastic. Being the main characters of the game, this is expected. Your opposition does look like clones however which is a common problem in every game. I would hope that games could move away from this problem, but it may always be an issue. Some of the explosions are weak and frame rate does tend to slow some times.

FSW feels like an intense war zone by sound alone. In the foreground, bursts of Automatic rifle rounds and RPG fire fill the air as you try to safely maneuver your team through their objective. While the terrorists, you are trying to take down say virtually nothing, your team has tons of dialogue. This is only true for the many cutscenes that you will endure however. During the actual gameplay, they tend to repeat themselves way too often, which will sooner or later get on your nerves. This, combined with the many times you may be replaying parts you die at due to difficulty may drive you insane.

FSW is difficult as it should be. Being modeled after a military training simulation, you would expect it to not be a walk in the park. The action will take place through a single day in the life of Charlie 90. Your platoon of eight specially trained soldiers will be trying to hunt a terrorist leader that is threatening peace in the Middle East. Sounds like many of the other desert combat games we see released nearly monthly. The gameplay elements are what really make Full Spectrum Warrior shine when it comes to gaming.

Xbox is not one that has very many strategy games on the market. A high paced action packed shooter is not what you receive with FSW, but a strategy game. With strategy being the key point of the game, you will need to think like a leader, learning to move your soldiers into battle and come out safely. Your troops will be divided into two teams: Alpha and Bravo. You will have four soldiers in each team including your team leader, rifleman, automatic rifleman, and grenadier. You will use your teams simultaneously doing things like laying down cover fire for one team to move to the next area or keep one team in place as a decoy while the other flanks the enemy.

The AI will defend themselves, if needed, but you give the fire order for your team. You need to formulate strategies to bring all your troops out alive. If one gets hit, you have to medivac them before proceeding in the mission. If more than one person is down or someone has actually died, you fail the mission. Something that should have been applied though is a way for the soldiers to dive out of the way.

Xbox Live really can be quite enjoyable if you play it. Instead of adversarial and CTF type games, you will make your way through the campaign cooperatively; one will use Alpha, the other Bravo. Formulating strategies within the headset is a must. If you cannot communicate with your teammate, you will lose the game, guaranteed. The problem is, you can only play missions you have unlocked. This means you won’t find many people playing when you first get the game. You will have to advance a bit before actually getting into XBL play. This adds a bit of length to the 10-12 hour campaign, but overall, many were expecting a more fun experience. This adaptation of the real life Army training simulation can be fun, but may tick players off first, rather than bring them joy while playing. It requires a lot of skill to beat, but it can be done. You may want to buy Full Spectrum Warrior at a cheap price if you have Live, but there are better games out there that you may want to look at.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.6
Written by Shawn Review Guide