Full Spectrum Warrior
Full Spectrum Warrior is a game based on software used to train the military in the basics of MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain). That you don’t just pick up a gun and start shooting becomes clear even in the tutorial. Take about an hour already for that as everything gets explained in detail, in such a way that the rest of the game will provide you with hardly anything new! What you do get, I’ll explain below.
As I already said in the introduction: taking a gun or even pointing yourself isn’t part of FSW. What comes near a FPS the most is that now and then you’ll need to throw a grenade. Your mission consists of leading two teams of each four soldiers through difficult assignments. These teams each have a leader, a rifleman, someone with a heavy assault weapon and a grenadeer. You need to give these squads commands after which they will independently act accordingly, nicely following the rules of the military. This means you can watch how these well-trained guys can move, pin down someone, or take cover. Nothing for the trigger-happy action-junkies amongst us!
With very simple and well-designed controls (also the camera is easy to use) the game plays fluid. Only now and then the sight is blocked or goes a bit too fast. This simplicity also gets increased due to the fact that you have a large amount of available commands. Shoot, keep an eye out, move, take cover, pin down,… Next to these tools you can also get a top-down view of the environment on your GPS. Also stuff like objectives, spotted enemies and other important things are present in this view. Therefore you’ll often use this device to set up your strategy.
The gameplay itself consists mainly out of solving military puzzles. You’ll have to navigate your squads through small streets in Iraq, take out enemies and get missions to a good ending. For that you’ll need to learn how to safely go from cover to cover with your two teams and especially think of tactics to take out enemies that are also behind defenses. Mostly this will be done by having one team shooting at them while you have the other going around them to shoot them from another position. Since you don’t act yourself this may sound boring, but most of the time you’ll get plenty of tension and quickly you’ll be acting like a true general.
Although this concept is nicely worked out and created well, fun and realistic at the same time, you suddenly get the feeling that the game doesn’t offer anything more. It’s like it gets stuck in the sucking mod of its birth: the training simulator. You keep repeating the same things, until you know them through and through. Ideal to train soldiers, but less appealing when looking for fun and variation.
The graphics aren’t too bad although I must admit that on Xbox they look a bit better. Textures are good, animations great. The way your team moves and carries out your orders is very realistic and comes close to the rest of the visual concept where realism and authenticity are important. Surroundings are therefore a bit monotone qua color use, but this doesn’t bother because you don’t expect more. On top of that there’s more than enough details, destroyed buildings and cars, crates and other material to bring flavor to the whole. Also worth mentioning are the nice weather effects; the sandstorm for instance is very well done.
Or ears also get treated nicely. Weapons, explosions and other warsounds are sharp and powerful and especially the good voice-acting adds to the creation of the authentic atmosphere.
While the Xbox version had a nice unlockable Army-version, which gamers loved, the PS2 only gets some extra levels. These come in handy as you won’t be occupied with the game itself for a long time. After about 8 to 10 hours you’ve seen it all and the replayability is a bit meagre due to the absence of the Army-option where you could adapt a lot and make things a bit more challenging. Only the co-op mode can be turned on to reply the game again but then you need to accept that you’ll only control 1 team yourself.
Full Spectrum Warrior is for those amongst us who love strategic and realistic action; don’t expect a FPS. Despite some lack of variation in gameplay, the basic concept is good and thanks to the authentic graphics and excellent sound, the realism of the game will be able to interest you for some time. Sadly, the game is too short and too easy and lacks the most fun part of the Xbox version; the Army-mode. When you want to try this out and have both consoles, make sure to buy the Xbox version.