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Full Spectrum Warrior marks the beginning of a new genre in gaming; it’s unlike any other game out there, combining the squad based tactics of titles like Ghost Recon and fast paced strategy. Unlike other team based shooters out there, in FSW you don’t actually take direct control of your troops but instead, move them around the map with a context sensitive cursor and giving them fire sectors telling them which direction they should shoot in.
Strategy games don’t usually translate well to consoles due to the lack of a mouse but FSW is an exception, the controls are very easy to use and within minutes you’ll be commanding your squad like a pro. This game has been specifically designed for the Xbox control pad and it shows.
The game itself takes place in the fictional ex-Soviet state of Zekistan. A Middle Eastern country that bears an uncanny resemblance to Iraq/Afghanistan and even has an evil dictator for a ruler that only the Americans along with a coalition of NATO forces can remove. You can’t deny that the content of the game has more than a passing resemblance to recent events in real life, and since the games based on a training tool used by the US Army; it’s most likely the intention.
When you first play the game, you’ll have to go through several tutorials. The training levels in most games are boring but FSW actually manages to have an entertaining training level where your soldiers use training gear and fire blanks for authenticity. This authenticity that runs through the game brings me to my next point.
The game is VERY realistic and very unforgiving in places but actually manages to be low on frustration due to the excellent replay system where you watch a replay of your actions and jump in and take control the moment before it all goes wrong. This is a great system and should be used by more games in my opinion. While it’s brutally realistic (even down to the ‘colorful’ language from your soldiers) it’s not really all that tough to beat. As long as you stick to correct tactics and move from cover to cover, most players should be able to complete it in about a week or so.
Fortunately the game has tons of replay value in the excellent Xbox live co-op mode where one player controls Alpha squad and the other one Bravo. You can even unlock the US Army version of the game with a cheat code which is even more realistic and includes 6 extra missions.
Graphically FSW shows what the Xbox can do with some stunning lighting effects and very detailed levels with not a hint of slowdown. AI is equally as impressive with soldiers that can actually look after themselves and don’t get shot the minute you turn the camera away from them! The enemies are also intelligent, taking cover when under fire and running away when they know their life will soon come to an abrupt end (always frustrating!).
FSW won’t be for everyone, but for people who like squad based shooters like Ghost Recon, you should get FSW now. That’s an order soldier!