Full Spectrum Warrior has quickly become a top pick with gamers this summer. THQ has turned this military inspired project into a product we can all enjoy.

The Game
Full Spectrum Warrior began as a government funded project to help in the training of the U.S. Army. Luckily the project then grew larger then the military and it landed on our store shelves. Full Spectrum Warrior (FSW) grew to include us! The normal population, the citizens, the gamers! Pandemic Studios is the team behind the FSW project and they say our version is fairly close to the exact one the military is using. What a great premise for a game, anything that is good enough to help the American army has to be cool, right?

Full Spectrum Warrior is not a shooter! I repeat is not a shooter. It could be a little deceiving if you picked this up and a store and expected Counter Strike, which some of my friends have done. The game plays like a real time strategy where you command two squads into battle, Team Alpha and Bravo. The teams each have four team members each having a specific role, two riflemen, a grenadier and the team leader. You will have to command these grunts through some tough situations in urban combat set in a Middle-Eastern nation. The enemy for the most part will have you out manned and out gunned, but it's going to be all right because you have your superior intellect to guide you in combat.

An interesting thing about Full Spectrum Warrior is that the game takes place over one day. The entire game will take the average gamer 15hrs or so to complete, but that 15 hours is bundled into a day's event of these solders and the games plot. You could say the game borrows from the TV series 24, where the entire season is told as if all the events happen in one day. It's a very cool concept, and FSW pulls effortless. You're always moving and the objectives and terrorists never get enough. If you're still in shock about the 15hrs, what can I say? This game is short. The games length could stretch it out, depending on your tactical skill level. Although once you get the hang of things you'll be spitting bullets into everything you see.

When I got my hands on Full Spectrum Warrior I thought the game was going to be a really complex, painfully deep military strategy game. But when the initially awesomeness of FSW passed me by and I came upon the higher levels, I realized the game at the core is really simplistic. The controls are simple to master, and the enemy never really switches thing up enough to present a real challenge. You will have moments when the objectives are involved, but I have gripes with some issues in the game which would have made it more realistic and challenging.

The main issue I have with the game is concerning the opposition. For the most part the enemy terrorists will behave in a realistic manner, taking cover and using team tactics to try and trap you in the middle of gunfire. This is cool and what I expected, what I question though is why the enemy never tries to sneak up behind your teams, or never tries to track you down and confront you. Once you go through an area, you never have look behind you. You could pull a twister mat and have a good old game in the middle of war, and never have to worry. Furthermore the enemy will never try and advance the attack, I know they are defending their land, but they could at least be a little aggressive. Without these little touches in the game it can feel overly scripted, and less like a real simulation and more towards a game, which is not what we want. The only other problem with the battles which I found was that you could get into situations where you where right in front of the enemy but because of the defense shield system you couldn't hit them, or vice versa even though you're practically right beside each other. An easy example would be a sandbag barricade waist high, with my team on one side and a tango on the other. What gives? It an understandable happening in the game which you will easily overlook, but to me it stinks.

Even though I have some minor grips with FSW, overall the game is great and there is no other like it on the market. I had a fun time playing through the missions and there where some great tense moments. Although other titles like Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon provide are challenging experience, FSW is the only game where you command a team rather strafing and firing.

Graphics & Sound
Full Spectrum Warrior has to be one of the realistic games; graphic and sound wise so far to be released on the Xbox. The environments are rich and full of life, as well as the character models. You're two teams, Alpha and Bravo have distinct characteristics which really look and sound the part. The solders in your team where developed to seem like a typical Joe in the army, and if you follow there snippy comments you'll start to distinguish the team by personality which pushes the emphases of life. The other visual effects like smoke, and bullets ricocheting off of buildings are exceptional and sound almost too realistic.

The background soundtrack completes the look and feel of this urban war; with a brilliantly constructing ambiance tracks which could have been out of cut takes of Apocalypse Now. I am overly pleased with the visual and audio presentation and polish in Full Spectrum Warrior; I keeping notes for this years game of the year.

FSW is all about becoming a new innovative experience. I can't think of another game which allows you be in command of an army division at this "grass-roots" level in the battlefield. Full Spectrum Warrior is fresh, inspiring and full of life. Developer Pandemic has created an innovative game while still being straight forward, which provides a great experience. Adding to the innovation is the Co-Op play which lets you and a friend play through the single player missions over Xbox Live. In the future, I hope Pandemic keeps pushing forward, I love to see 8 vs. 8 battles.

Full Spectrum Warrior is an innovation and a breath of fresh air for any gamer's library. There simply isn't another game which delivers the same type of action, at the same level. Beware it's not a shooter, but a wonderful experience of what the troops go through in todays conflicts.

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | July 12th 2004

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Full Spectrum

June 2004