Full Spectrum Warrior made our top ten of 2004 and with good reason. Pandemic made one of the most unique and innovative games for the year and we couldn't stop playing it until it was finished. Then we wanted to play it some more. So when we recently got the chance to have a developer presentation of Ten Hammers we jumped at it. Ten Hammers picks up where FSW left off and adds a few new features. During our quick presentation it looked a bit like an expansion pack as opposed to a full new game, but we're likely to be proven wrong once it ships.
Ten Hammers has a brand new storyline but the developers are keeping a bit of it secret right now and not too much was divulged during the presentation. Instead they decided to focus on gameplay. As the screen booted up, the familiar gritty settings of the game appeared and on the surface it looked the same however piece by piece the jigsaw of the new features was put together.
The first new feature is the ability to use vehicles during missions. You can still call in air raids and helicopter attacks but tanks are actually controllable teams which can be used to provide cover or bulldoze through an enemy line. This was demonstrated to us and the tanks are moved just like an infantry unit. Select where you want it to go and how and it will move, covering its body while driving. Although we were only shown the Bradley tank, Pandemic is promising a lot more useable vehicles in the final version of the game.
The commands are still issued via the DPAD but there have been some significant changes as to what you can do. The other main new feature is the ability to have four squadrons instead of two. You do this by splitting Alpha and Bravo into Alpha 1 Bravo 1 etc. This again was demonstrated to us and allows a lot more tactical play. You can now also control the team you're currently not viewing and each team can catch up to each other automatically as opposed to having to go all the way back and slowly move them through. Other than that, from what we saw, it appears most of the game remains the same. You still select your target quadrant and shoot but the AI has improved. Rather than watch something explode next to them, they will try to find cover.
Visually the game looks pretty much the same as the first game with minimal improvement in this area however with that said the original game did have some fantastic graphics so it's not a major issue to see this area remain the same. One big new feature is that you will actually be able to go into buildings to setup sniper teams and this will offer new tactics to the player. The developers however will take this into account when balancing the difficulty level.
Full Spectrum Warrior Ten Hammers will continue where the first game left off with twelve new missions to tackle and lots more tactics and problems to encounter. It's currently set to ship in November.