When the original Full Spectrum Warrior arrived last year, it introduced gamers to a new and exciting gaming experience on the virtual battlefield. FSW was originally designed as a training tool for the U.S. Army and gives players the responsibility of handing out orders to squads of troops in a variety of combat situations. One of the things that made Full Spectrum Warrior stand apart from other squad-based shooters was its significant focus on strategic commands, as opposed to direct-action, this initially proved to be a minor challenge but made the overall game play most enjoyable. Now we welcome the sequel to FSW in the form of Full Spectrum Warrior – Ten Hammers. The story of Tien Hamir (Ten Hammers in English), refers to the bottleneck bridge you have to control to win the game and follows a new character (Sgt. Daniels) and UN Coalition forces with returning soldiers from the original game. Gameplay consists of 12 large levels, spread through three missions in four chapters. Combatants start with a brisk march into the mountainous region of Khardiman, a rugged area north of the fictitious Zekistan. In each chapter, the game tells the same story from a different perspective incorporating military squads from different countries. The end result is that you’ll know the outcome of the story in the beginning, but you won’t know how it all played out unless you beat it.
The developers have added pretty much everything that players would want after the first FSW game (I enjoyed the original myself but always thought improvements could be made to make it better and more realistic, after all that’s what it’s all about – right?) The game has been given a great new AI system that gives the game a lot more challenge and replay-ability. In Ten Hammers, the enemy is actively trying to flank you, as well as trying to escape from your soldier’s flanking manoeuvres. Players can now order their soldiers to clear out buildings, and fire out of windows to get around, or over, an enemy soldier’s cover or obstacles. Tanks have been added to the game allowing you to drive them around, blow up roadblocks, deal with enemy armour, or suppress enemy forces with the mounted machine guns. Players have also been given anti-tank soldiers, to take out the opposing forces armour. And of course, you’ll be able to do all this in the new multi-player versus multi-player mode. There’s a new firing mode, called precision fire. This allows players to order one of their soldiers to stand up and take a snipe shot at an enemy player. This is really helpful and gratifying when you’re up against an intelligent AI driven enemy who keeps sneaking away from you.
You can now call in air-strikes at any point in a level – it looks pretty awesome seeing a helicopter tearing up the ground and cover all around your target. The damage factor is a lot more realistic, so when someone gets hit in the face with a 203, you really know it. Driving the tank around, blowing-up guys into lots of little pieces can get very addictive. It is no wonder the US Military is full of gung-ho lunatics running around tearing up the countryside and everyone in it. If you are familiar with the original, you also may notice a change in the game’s palette. The colour scheme is no longer filled with the sandy, orange, and yellow from the first game. There are more greens, browns, and blues. Unfortunately, Ten Hammers looks less polished than its predecessor. You’ll regularly see seam lines, collision detection issues amongst soldiers, and aliasing among other things. However, this does not detract from the game-play and is something I considered a minor detail of concern. Overall –Ten Hammers will be happily welcomed by Full Spectrum veterans, but should be tried by any first/third person tactical warfare fan.