Review by: Jonathan Hynes
Published: July 9, 2004
There’s certainly no shortage of military-themed games available for Xbox these days, and at first glance, it would appear that THQ’s Full Spectrum Warrior is merely another shooter in the already vast pool of action titles. However, upon closer inspection, one discovers that it’s actually a tactical combat simulation, and a most interesting one at that. Based on a program used to train United States Army recruits, we’re guaranteed a game that will, in the least, be faithful to its subject matter.
Aside from the uncommon gameplay mechanics, FSW blurs the line between fact and fiction by incorporating real-world events into the plot. The story picks up after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with the remaining Taliban soldiers having fled to the rogue nation of Zekistan, who have openly established terrorist training camps. With UN backing, a coalition force has been sent in to seize control of the country and oust its western-hating fascist leader, Al Afad. You’ll take control of eight dedicated men as they’re thrust into the middle of this conflict.
Each of the Alpha and Bravo outfits consists of four men: a team leader, an automatic rifleman, a grenadier and another (lesser) rifleman. Seeing as you’re essentially a puppeteer, you can’t control each soldier individually, nor would you need to. Every person does, however, play a vital role in the squad. The grenadier, for example, is responsible for your collection of fragmentation devices, while the riflemen are essential to defending your positions and eliminating enemy threats. It’s not only possible, but also essential to switch between these two teams on the fly, as cooperation between the divisions is often the only way to achieve your goal.
Your characters will always move as a group, and you can select their next destination by positioning a bright orange cursor over any accessible position on the map. The key to keeping your men alive is cover; when your squad is safely concealed behind an appropriate object, a small shield icon will appear above each of their heads. Hiding behind things such as brick walls and around the corners of buildings ensures permanent cover as long as you keep your team put. However, enemy bullets can shred objects such as boxes and couches, and once they’re gone, your team is left extraordinarily vulnerable.