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Full Spectrum Warrior review

It's the wargame for people who prefer Jarhead to Apocalypse Now - at times thrilling, sometimes realistically dull.

Pros

  • The orders interface
  • Excellent graphics
  • Squad AI is a cut above most

Cons

  • The enemy AI lags behind
  • Linear levels remove the game's strategy
  • Less to do in co-op mode

Full Spectrum Warrior is like no other video war game on the market. Originally developed as a training tool for the US Army, the game arrived on consoles bearing hallmarks of strategy and action. As players patrol an urban corner of the Middle East questions will crop up- is this chess? Is it propaganda, and if so for what? And is war always this dull?

But one man's boredom is another's tension. You'll take control of two four-man squads, playing the role of a non-participant CO. The goal is to give orders through a supremely well-crafted interface, advancing both squads so that one supports the other. (Co-op lets one player take each squad, but with less to do, the mode is less compelling.) By telling the men where to look, aim and shoot warfare is reduced to a strange form of strategy where you don't know how many pieces are on the board.

The structure is a very cool, innovative take on war and wargames. Unlike so many action games, it feels new. Thanks to a spot-on recreation of the stereotypical media perception of the Middle East, FSW is entertaining as the troops go about their business. The squad's artificial intelligence is strong enough that you don't need to be poised for action at every single second, and some of the best moments come when the squad gets the job done on its own.

More Info

GenreStrategy
DescriptionHopefully the flaws and questions aren't so glaring that you can't take the game as merely an evolution of action and strategy. This is an intriguing new template, and future games in the same style could be incredible.
PlatformXbox, PS2, PC
US censor ratingMature
Release date1 June 2004 (US), 10 June 2005 (UK)