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Full Spectrum Warrior Review

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Full Spectrum Warrior
Pandemic Studios
Xbox Live:
Rating Pending

Full Spectrum Warrior 
Monday, July 26, 2004 

In Full Spectrum Warrior you act as the commander of two military teams in an urban country named Zekistan. This game is actually a real time strategy game and not like most other military first person shooters. Instead of seeing through the eyes of the soldier you look down on your military squad and get to control them through the mission. Also unlike a first person shooter you will never fire a gun in the game, the soldiers in your squad will do all the firing on their own if you command them correctly and safely. Another interesting fact about this game is that it's engine was actually developed by the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army developed the engine to visually train troops how they should act during combat and other situations, that only is enough for me to want to pick up this game and give it a try.


The gameplay is definitely nothing like anything I have seen before. Because the game is in third person view you can see everything that is going on in the battlefield as well as your entire military squad. This makes it easy to see if your soldiers are in danger and also allows you to better control how your soldiers will act rather than if it was in a first person view. The camera is also very easy to use if you need to see something behind you quick. Also when you are switching to your other military squad to command them the camera will quickly fly though the level to where the squad is so you are not confused as to where you are before you start commanding the team. The controls in which you use and the overall combat part of the game is outstanding as well and will keep you playing for a long time.

Throughout the entire game the most important thing you must remember is that your troops need cover or they will be gone in a matter of seconds. For most of the game the combat takes place in a town or small city and their are plenty of things lying around to hide behind. You can take cover from fire in a lot of places such as behind a wall, car, truck, dumpster, boxes, sandbags, and even a heap of debris. However if you where to chose an object such as a box if the box takes to many hits from enemy forces it will begin to deteriorate and your squad will be exposed and have a bigger risk of being shot and killed. If this starts to happen you better take out the enemy soldiers or get out of their quick. Because this can happen often their is a small icon above each soldiers head which looks like a shield. This means that the soldier is behind cover and can not be shot. If the box you are standing behind starts to deteriorate the symbol of the shield will act like a meter to show how much cover you have left. For example if their is half of a shield it means the box in front of you is probably about half broken down and you have twice the chance of getting shot.

The actual combat part of the game is extremely well done because you have a large number of options in doing things such as getting past a few enemy soldiers. If their is a tango (or enemy soldier) around then next corner you don't just send your squad out in the open and hope that you will win simply because you outnumber him four to one. If you where to ever do this you would be lucky to come out of it with one soldier left causing you to fail the mission. Chances are that the enemy soldier already has some sort of cover, whether he is behind a car some sandbags or a dumpster if he has cover and you don't he is going to win. The smartest thing to do would be to command your squad to move to the very edge of the corner. This way the man on the end can pop out take a few shots and then get back into cover if he needs it. If the enemy is to far away and has sufficient cover you probably won't be able to take him down. When this happens you have many different opportunities to get past him. If you don't have to travel past him but have to go through his line of fire the best thing to do would be to through out a smoke grenade and hope he can't see you. If you have to travel past him you can use your Grenadier to launch a frag grenade and hope that takes him down. If both of these fail you can use both of your squads to slowly creep up on him. For example when one team is shooting at him you move the other closer and then that team begins shooting while the other team moves. Eventually you will be close enough to shoot and kill or get a grenade close enough to him.

As stated previously for the most part you will have control over two military squads, Alpha and Bravo. However in some missions you will have a third squad named Charlie. On each team their are four soldiers that have a specific title and job they do. The team leader is one of these jobs and this is the person you will control for most of the time. The team leader will command his team to move when it is time to move and will most often take the point when in combat. Another two jobs on each squad is the Auto Rifleman, and the Rifleman, these two soldiers job is pretty simple to shoot at targets when they are in sight. The last soldier's job is the Grenadier, this soldier is equipped with a M4/203 and it can launch a frag grenade a great distance. When you need to use this weapon he will be the one to pop out from behind the cover and launch the grenade at the target you have specified.


I was quite surprised at how some of the graphics looked in the game such as smoke, fire, explosions, the towns, and even the character models where superb.

The entire environment looks like an actual Middle Eastern country and it does not seem to look exactly the same level after level. The textures for things like buildings and houses are look excellent and although most of them are the same type they almost never look reparative or the same. Also as you progress in the game you will get to see some pretty neat places. For example one of the levels takes place in a palace where you can see things like giant columns and archways. Another great mission will take you through some oil refineries in the country.

Another great thing about the graphics is how some object will react when they are fired upon. For example, if you are standing behind a box for cover and enemy soldiers are shooting at you and hitting the box instead the box will begin to break down. It is quite fun to watch even though every time they shoot you are getting closer to dieing. You will even be able to notice such things as wood pieces fly off of the box after it is shot. Also if you happen to be standing behind a car for cover it too will react when it is fired at. You might notice when being heavily fired at the car door will move around do to the bullets passing though it which is a never nice effect in the game.

Before every mission there is normally a short movie that explains what is going on and what you will need to do in the mission. The graphics in these movies are normally better than that actual gameplay graphics and does a great job of explaining what is going to happen. Also sometimes in the middle of the mission there will be movies of the actual gameplay such as a tank coming in for your assistance which gives a nice touch to the graphics.

The character models in this game are done very well. I was surprised at how detailed they where. One of the soldiers even wears glasses and it looks extremely real. Another example is the soldiers suits, they also look every detailed and they might be wearing such things as vests, radios, pouches, ammunition, backpacks, and helmets which are very detailed even down to things such as the strap on the helmet.


For the most part the sound is great and the audio department did a good job on this game. The part that is probably the best is how the audio team made each of the soldiers in the game have their own unique character. Each soldier on both the Alpha and Bravo team have their own name and specific character. In the beginning of the game the characters are introduced and it also shows and explains in a small movie how they act most of the time. Throughout the rest of the game in most of the cinematic movies they will act like this and it makes the game so much more realistic as if they where actual people, not just soldiers that you are controlling around.

The background must was pretty well done as well. When there is more action going on or something big is about to happen the music will fit the mood of moment very well.


The gameplay controls of this game is very complex and takes a while to learn everything that you can do. Because of these their are a series of tutorial missions where you will be taught how to do everything in the game and the easiest ways to get out of sticky situations if you ever find yourself in one. Here is a list of the basic controls used:

  • Left thumbsitck - movement cursor, used to command your squad to move to a different location.
  • Right thumbstick - move camera view.
  • A button - issue command .
  • B button - cancel command.
  • X button - fire cursor / grenade cursor (hold button).
  • Y button - switch to the other squad / switch to the Charlie squad (hold button).
  • Left trigger - zoom in.
  • Right trigger - displays the fog of war.
  • White button - use radio to report in.
  • Black button - pull out GPS.
  • Start - Menu and pauses the game

  • The only way that you can tell your squad to move to a different location is to use the movement cursor. To do this all you need to do is move the left thumbstick and the cursor will appear. The cursor consists of an arrow and four dots with one of the dots being yellow. The yellow dot represents where the team leader will end up. The other dots represent where the other soldiers will end up. You can move the cursor anywhere in the level and even to places you can not see such as on the other side of a corner, however this would not be smart to do since you do not know what could be there. If you move the cursor will also sometimes get into a certain formation that will provide cover from your entire team if possible. For example, if you move the cursor behind a box the cursor will show your them being in two rows and two columns so that the box provides cover for everyone instead of just having the soldiers being in a line meaning out would be hanging out the side and could be shot at. Once you have chosen a place for your soldiers to move all you need to do is press A and they will move to the new location. If you hold A then you can select a fire sector and not only will your soldiers move to the new location but they will shoot anything in the first sector while the move.

    In many of the missions the map that you are playing on can be quite large and it is possible to get lost. If you ever find yourself lost in the map all you have to do is press the black button and the team leader will pull out his GPS. When it pulls it out a map will be desplayed and there will be a few markers on the map. Such as where team Alpha is, where team Bravo is, and where you are supposed to be heading.

    The white button is used to talk to the people that assigned you through the mission. Most of the time you will only use the white button so that you can be told what to do next or if there is a change of plans.

    Both of the trigger buttons are used to change the view of the camera. The left trigger allows you to zoom in. This is useful for spotting enemies that you could not normally see or to see what is further ahead. The right trigger is used to display the fog of war. This is the area where your soldiers are not currently looking, which means you could be easily attacked from this area. The fog of war is displayed as grey areas.


    Ever since this game was announced it always looked like it was going to be a pretty good game but I was surprised myself of how well done everything was in the game. The gameplay is truly amazing and will have to playing the game to the very end and even going back to replay a few of the better missions. The graphics a just as good and the urban environment is supurb. The controls although can take some time to get used to are quite easy to use and there are a lot of different commands you can give to your squads. This game is defiantly worth purchasing even if you have not played it before.

    Overall Score

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