Last year, Pandemic developed a game that took the tactical shooter crown from Ubisoft and really gave the strategy style a real shot in the arm, a shot that it really needed with the domination of tactical shooters from the first person perspective. When Full Spectrum Warrior was announced it was only for Xbox and PC but THQ last year announced that the game will also be hitting the PS2 console in early 2005. Skeptics aside, this should become one of, if not the best tactical shooter on the console in 2005.
The game is set in the fictional country of Zekistan. Ethnic cleansing is the deal here and it's being caused by the dictator Al Afed. The storyline revolves around two American units sent into clean up the mess while trying to take out the dictator and his deputy. The great thing about the Xbox version of the game was the unpredictable style of the storyline and this is sure to be true on the PS2 version as well due to the environment ever changing during missions.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Xbox version was the tutorial and it will no doubt return. Interesting because it gave you the feeling you were the best FSW player around and lulled you into a false sense of security, it will be interesting to see if the tutorial has been tweaked at all. We doubt it because it was one of the best tactical tutorials in a game of this style that we had ever seen.
The campaign on Xbox comprised of eleven missions but the PS2 version will include the two missions which were released as premium content. In Full Spectrum Warrior you will have control of two units, comprising one squadron, Charlie 90. The most interesting aspect of Full Spectrum Warrior is how the characters are controlled. Rather than individually taking control of a unit, you move them in a format very close to typical strategy games. This means that in the game rather than going all guns blazing, you have to use strategy which is of no surprise given it's based on a proper army training tool. One false move and your unit can be cut down in a matter of seconds. Being an army training tool, deaths are not allowed, if a character dies it's mission over. This is not just to make the game harder either, as throughout the game the characters develop and you find out a lot more about them in terms of personality and where they are from such as the police chief who commands one of the units.
This is unlike other tactical game on the market and not just because of the way it is controlled. One big factor is that you won't be able to let men die. Should they do mission over, and its not just a case of bandaging them up. You will have to pick them up, walk across a hostile environment minus two men (one wounded, one carrying the poor soldier) to a medievac. As you can see it will definitely be in your best interest in the game to remain unscathed. Of course to get shot you have to be peforming tasks and FSW will ask PS2 players to do tasks such as paint targets for armored units and helping a United Nations doctor reach wounded civilians.
Another great thing about Full Spectrum Warrior is the lack of 'fantasy' tools that you sometimes see in games set in the future. Everything in FSW is available in the real world and along with real world weaponry you will have access to GPS units for the map but the great thing about the game is the squad really rely on each other. Each soldier has a different weapon for different uses. Heavy machine guns for suppressing fire while another squad moves, or other guns for more accurate shooting.
The PS2 version of the game in terms of visuals is looking like it will shape up against the Xbox version very well with seemingly not much difference in terms of detail and visual clarity. The environments are also destructible which you will have to be aware of. You can use items such as destroy cars for cover, however they only have a certain level of cover and eventually fall apart exposing your troops. So while your searching for the next vantage point, it will be vitally important to keep an eye on the world around you.
Full Spectrum Warrior looks like it will be as good on PS2 as it was on the Xbox leading us to give it a top 10 position of 2004. PS2 players get ready to see one of the most revolutionary action/strategy games you have ever played sometime in Q1 2005.
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