Reviews for Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

80

Brutal, Unforgiving, Frustrating...But Undeniably Engrossing

m0thbanquet | June 20, 2014 | See all m0thbanquet's reviews »

It's high noon, possibly just after lunch time. I have one fire team locked down in an adjacent street, unable to move for the risk of insta-kill RPG death. I hear the crackle of their SAW on the wind, their gunner furiously spewing hot lead on the enemy, desperate to keep them from them out-flanking.

But there's a problem. Several, in fact. The team have been on-mission for nearly two hours, having only progressed the same distance as a goat can kick a medicine ball. They're low on ammo, nerves and, oh yes, their grenadier copped one a junction ago. For wont of a better word, Bravo team are up KIA-creek without a paddle.

But Alpha are near. A few feet are all that separates them from a nearby house which offers aside from an abandoned and well-kept kitchen area, a vantage point overlooking the beleaguered Bravo and more importantly, their aggressors.

It's only a few feet. My men are US (United States) infantry, fit and battle-hardened. I order them forward, ready to stack up and clear the target building.

Scarcely do they "hoo-rah" before I realise my error. I know it even before it happens. I swear aloud, kicking and cursing as an OPFOR (Opposing Force - silly word for 'bad man') opens up on my exposed squad from a window on the opposite side of the street.

The jugulars of my men explode in showers of arterial red. It is a shade matched by my angry face as I realise the last checkpoint was sometime between 4 and 6 pm (it's 7:30 pm now).

This is what Full Spectrum Warrior is all about. Methodical progression, leaving nothing to chance and often furiously trying to dig yourself out of holes your complacency has gotten you into.

Certainly a game for those who have finished the more balanced and simple first entry, this is a direct sequel. The parallels with history (read: Second Gulf War/Afghanistan and following insurgency, respectively), Ten Hammers deftly sidesteps topical and potentially inflammatory references by setting its story within the nation of Generistan. Pitted against the nefarious and innocent child-hating Generihadeen, you'll be utilising real MOUT/FIBUA (I would explain this abbreviations but you can just Google them like I did) infantry tactics to weed out your enemies and survive with enough men alive for the game to consider you the winner.

Ten Hammers, like its predecessor, shows you just how far warfare has come. Far from the mad 'Red Tide' massed assaults of old Soviet Russia or the 'stand there and pray you don't get hit' mentality of line warfare in the 17-1800's, modern soldiery is executed with surgical precision and (providing you don't give a Scot a bayonet) intelligence. This is aptly demonstrated in a game where you must consider every move you make, weigh every single risk you take, and set every firing arc with the knowledge that if you mess up, your whole team will die in seconds.

It's gritty, it's scary, it's plain ball-out tough but damn, it's good. Most of the time.

There are hiccups. The friendly AI can be slow, while your enemy - despite being armed solely with an AK and tea towel - can display a deadliness that can only be described as an unholy union of Terminator and Christopher Lee. It will frustrate you plenty, but as with most hard games, this frustration will have come about as a result of your own error.

The gameplay is simple but effective. You embark on psuedo-point-and-click missions, guiding two squads of four, which in this instalment can be further divided into two teams of two, into multiple-approach (yet strictly linear) areas with objectives spattered along the way.

Graphics and sound were good for the time, being functional and effective. I would argue that the firearms used sound a little too close to paintball (or the infinitely superior Airsoft) rifles for my taste, though on the whole it all holds up well even today. The up close and personal third-person camera perspective gives us a good all-round view of the battlefield whilst plunging up neck-deep into the viscera of battle, allowing us to hear the grunting swearwords and panicked cries of our squaddies.

The likeable characters alternate between US and UK armed forces, with the latter - despite some inaccuracies - represented oddly well, for a change. There is a basic plot in there which keeps it personal by focusing on the human aspect to the war instead of FSW's pure 'kill the evil dictator' approach. Here, war is hell and nobody truly wins (except the people still alive at the end, obviously).

On a final note, it's also one of the few games that properly portray a Scouser (Liverpudlian) in the form of a truck (that he's presumably stolen) you must escort in one of the early UK forces missions. For this alone, it deserves an extra star for accuracy.

Altogether, it's an atmospheric and intense strategy game, one that punishes harshly for mistakes and survival is reward enough - and isn't that what war is all about?

85

Great game

Bolo | Sept. 12, 2013 | See all Bolo's reviews »

Great game! A great squad based modern warfare type game. It's very realistic like ArmA or Operation Flashpoint, but this is 3rd person, and always fighting in a city, using the buildings and low walls for cover. I recommend this game to anyone looking for a good realistic war game.