XBox: Full Spectrum Warrior

First off, thanks to Pablo for lending me Full Spectrum Warrior to play. I haven’t actually bought it yet, and if I keep tearing through it as I have been I think I’ll be finished it in no time.

This game appealed to me from the outset. It’s the one that the US Army are using for training their men tactically, and it’s a change of direction for these types of games as you do not shoot. What I thought? You don’t get to fire a single shot?! Madness!

That hit me because I love games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 and its follow up href=”″ title=”Eurogamer review of Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow” target=”_blank”>Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow. Tactical, strategic shooting games where crossfire, careful decisions and slow cover are of ultimate importance. Then take away the firing in that game? How could that ever work?

The thing is, it does, and it works really well. You become totally obsessed with the idea of cover, fire, move and repeat. It’s actually really engrossing for that and retains all of the points I like about the Rainbow Six style games.

Initially you are forced to do the training, there is no way to get through it otherwise. With that there are a number of cut scenes where you control nothing and cannot do anything but watch. During the game these are vital and add a lot to the experience and hide the fact that you can’t really clear out buildings and your are confined to a small area (more of that in a moment). This makes the training even more frustrating, particularly when you think you know everything. However, stick with that.

When the game opens up it is surprisingly linear. There may be two ways to reach your objective, but that’s usually because you have two teams (strangely the first time I’ve had a third team, there have been three ways!) However, saying that, you hardly every notice this as it feels right to circle round the block with two teams and approach the enemy. The street blocks are so well designed that there’s no other natural way to think of it. Just which team where.

The AI is very well done in the game, and the only noticeable faults are on your own team. The odd point where you’ll indicate to move to cover and one member of the team will walk round to the opposite side facing the enemy. Or your team will just not carry out an order, not even a sorry, no we can’t do that, just no action.

There’s also the odd moment where one of your team members gets shot and he turns into a petrified, crucified rocket corpse. Set out like a big T, he just flies for a good few metres from a single bullet. This can be very annoying when you’ve just failed your mission, you’re being lectured about not standing naked in front of an enemy with a gun, and you’re spinning endlessly – it’s like having a grenade rubbed in the wound!

Saying all that, the game makes up for it in atmosphere and graphics, the well laid out scenarios and the excellent premise of the entire game. I look forward to completing it.

Update – 31st September 2004 Well that is it finished, and looking back I think it was quite easy. I might give it a go on a harder level now.

One Great thing about the game is the cinematic ending. It certainly portrays war in the harsh light it should be, with a closing talking of the deaths and the ethnic cleansing. By no means is it over the top, but it is enough to sober you up to reality after running round blasting enemies for hours.

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