Full Spectrum Warrior

Posted by Chris

The big story in gaming for me this week is my discovery that Microsoft has added Full Spectrum Warrior to it’s Xbox 360 backward compatibility list.  For 360 owners and fans of tactical gaming, this is really great news. 

Before you read any further, I need to point out that this game is currently selling used for $4.99 at Gamestop and EB Games.  The minute you finish reading this, go out and buy it.

Full Sectrum Warrior, along with Full Spectrum Commander (never released to the public), were developed as training aids for the U.S. Military.  FSW is a 3rd-person tactical strategy game that marries the look and feel of a traditional tactical shooter with the control and unit management of a real-time-strategy game.  There are no direct actions taken by the player – instead, the two fireteams under your command are given orders, and it is up to the AI of the fireteams to execute those orders.  It is the player’s task to lead his fireteams through an urban conflict in the fictional middle-eastern country of Zekistan. 

I have played alot of tactical video games, and the one thing that stands out for me about FSW is it’s ability to deliver the feeling that I was there, in Zekistan, telling these guys how to carry out their objectives while staying alive.  This might seem surprising, given the fact that it’s not using the expected first-person, direct action system (where the player’s in-game counterpart “is” the player, a la Ghost Recon, SWAT, Rainbow Six, etc).  I think this is achieved by the fact that when you have an in-game character performing actions directly related to your button presses, joystick controls, or what have you, you are not expereincing any of the feedback you would expect from a real-life situation involving firing a rifle or being shot at.  In FSW, none of that first-person disconnect can happen, because it’s never implied that you are one of the guys you see on screen.  It’s really a unique experience in gaming.  The only thing I can compare it to is the team management aspects of GRAW2 – but with much more granular and detailed control.  The game also features a co-op mode over Xbox Live, which allows two players to each control a single fireteam.  I have never played this way, but it certainly sounds intriguing.

My only complaint about this game is that as you near the end of the campaign, it starts to get repetitive.  This is rewarded, however, by the fact that when you successfully complete the campaign, the actual training simulator is unlocked, and you can play it exactly as the military does – which incidentally, is alot harder than the standard version. 

Xbox 360 owners and Xbox owners who missed this game the first time around owe it to themsemves to shell out the measly $5 to get this one.


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