Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

May 29, 2006

[i]Ten Hammers[/i] is the second of the [i]Full Spectrum Warrior[/i] titles to arrive. First of all, this game is in no way shape or form for the run-n-gun shoot ’em up type of gamer. Patience, strategy, skill, and tactic are required to be able to adapt to this type of game play. Overall the graphics were good, I wasn’t awe-stricken though highly amused at bodies caught in explosions or falling off of ledges. Game play was adaptable due to its slow moving and lengthy searches of corners or buildings. I like a good game that requires you to have tactical thinking.

At first you will need about an hour or two to learn the controls via the ingame guide in the first level. The controls, although difficult to get used to, create the complexity the game needs to take the level of strategy where it needs to be.

When it comes to playing, you must take this game slow. The available commands range from setting your squad to cover a fire sector, which is where you grant permission for your team to fire at. Your men will automatically assign two men to cover the fire sector and two to cover the other exposed directions. You can also order smoke and frags to be thrown, or pick up wounded soldiers. There are also several movement options. You can order your squad to move in different formation types; Tight, which will keep the men in a tight formation; Hot, which will allow your men to shoot at enemies they may encounter while moving; and Scout, which will have one man scout out a corner, bunker or barricade – if he encounters an enemy he will return to the squad, if not the squad will regroup with him. And last but not least you have the option of Precision Fire, the closest you will come in the game to actually pulling the trigger, allowing you to tell your selected team member to fire when an enemy is exposed.

There are also a couple of options that are not readily available, but rather at certain points of specific levels. For example, C4 and Air strikes (no planes, only helicopters). The C4 is used to destroy road blocks and enemy vehicles. The C4 can be difficult to deploy on an enemy tank, since you must rely on strategy to distract them. As for air strikes, I didn’t ever use them since they are near impossible to get to shoot what you want. It would have been better if the pilot would have some sort of AI, rather it seems to shoot (50mm cannons only) where you put the laser and then retreat.

After you get done with the first level, you not only are in charge of Alpha squad, but also Bravo squad. This I liked, although it gives you more to do, you have the opportunity to flank the enemy with more men, and well as create more distractions. In addition to getting two squads, you can split each squad into 2 two-man teams; A1, A2, B1, and B2. You have the option to split up or regroup at any time in any mission. In select missions you are also granted a third unit. Charlie squad. This is always a 1 man squad in a Bradley Armored Vehicle, or as a sniping unit. One really cool feature is while switching between squads, the screen instead of a straight cut-to, unless you are a great distance from the other squad, rotates and zooms to their position. Allowing you to have a better feel and view for the battlefield.

When it comes to AI it seems like the enemies had the only type of intelligence in this game. You will definitely want to pick a spare controller when you pick up the game as you are in for some serious controller throwing with this game. The most annoying part of the slow AI that your squads offer is even while you may have a fire sector where you know the enemy is, your team is still slower to react than the enemy who has time to walk out, aim, then shoot one of your squad members. After nearly four or five takes at the same enemy, your guys will finally take him out, leaving you with a wounded soldier that requires you to pick him up with one of your other team members, thus putting you down two men. If you are lucky enough to reach a CASEVAC(medic/ammo truck or station) your men will lay down the wounded man and a guy will come out to take his place(unless too many men have been wounded). And when one of your guys goes down, the screen tints yellow, and zooms to and plays in slow motion your downed man falling, all the meanwhile the enemy is still shooting at your other team members possibly taking them out as well. Once you have a total of 3 men wounded without reaching a CASEVAC, it is mission failed. There is an autosave at checkpoints, so no need to worry about having to replay the entire mission.

One feature that I was looking for and would have liked to have seen would have been the ability to plan an attack and apply certain movements or orders to be sent to different squads at the same time, for example the ability to set 2 squads to breach the same room from different sides on a certain command. None the less you couldn’t and I found it quite difficult to set up distractions or complex strategic attacks from multiple flanking positions while encountering numerous enemies. Every action your team takes requires you to switch to that team, select team member and give command. So for that precise timing tactic, this is very difficult. This is also where the zoom while switching squads is less favored.

And finally for multiplayer! I was hesitant to take this game on Live as I feared a severe walloping, although I was quite curious to see the game types and how this game could actually be played online. Unfortunately when I tried to get on Live, it couldn’t find a match for me. It appeared that there was no one online. The game types were listed as; Co-op Mission, Versus Mission, and Optimatch. None of these selections found me a match. I was very disappointed with this.

To wrap it all up, this definitely deserves a look if you are into strategy and can think on your toes. But if you are impatient and are looking for “action”, this game packs a punch at Butterball speeds so it’s not for you. I did not finish this game yet, but am quite certain that if the number of people on multiplayer doesn’t improve then I won’t be playing it for some time as I couldn’t imagine any type of replay value. Overall rating, rent it!

Score: 2/5

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