Reviewed on Xbox

Full Spectrum Warrior

Reviewed By: Nathan Alterton

Computer Platform: Xbox, PC, Playstation 2
Produced by: Pandemic Studios
Price Range: $21-30
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Overall Rating:
Genre: RTS/Simulation
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 2 of 5

Full Spectrum Warrior.  Illustration copyrighted.
Full Spectrum Warrior (FSW) has to be one of the most unigue games of the year. Built upon a United States military tactical training aid, the game is really like nothing else I've ever played.

Following the war in Iraq thousands ex-taliban and Iraqi loyalists have fled to Zekistan at the invitation of the country's dictator, Al Afad. The terrorists now set up shop in this new location and continue training for attacks on soft targets around the world. In response, NATO votes to invade Zekistan and depose Al Afad, stop the ethnic cleansing of the people, and eliminate the terrorist threat.

Heavily influenced by the recent military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, (with some elements of Bosnia and Somalia thrown in for good measure), you lead two unmounted light infantry teams against in the tiny, fictional eastern country of Zekistan. Many who have not played the game mistakenly believe it to be a first or third person shooter, when it actually has far more in common with a tactical real-time strategy game.

You don't directly control any of the soldiers, however, control is completely is based on the a chain of commands. You directly issue commands to your men, such as move, take cover, point-fire directions, supression fire, etc, at which time the computer does it's best to follow your orders.

This is the game's primary strength and weakness. The command system is not too deep, but will take some time to master. This aspect of the game makes it extremely unique. The player does not have full control of his soldier, as he would in an FPS, sometimes soldiers won't be able to follow orders, such as when told to fire on a target while pinned down by heavy weapons fire (the A.I. does have a sense of self preservation). However, the player has significantly more control than in the average RTS, where commands a limited to “move,” "attack that target," and so on. The player controls how their soldiers move, which enemies to target, what fire tactics to use, and how to make both teams work together to out fight the enemy.

Full Spectrum Warrior Screenshot

The only major downside to this system is the limited camera controls. The player can rotate around his soldiers and zoom in on what they are looking at, but that's it. The camera can't pass through solid objects and often bumps up againts walls or the cover you're hiding behind, often limiting the view to the 180 degrees that you don't need to see (in many over 3rd person games, the camera can pass through solid objects, with the objects becoming semi-transparent). That being said, it's the only major gameplay flaw that I noticed.

Those who object to war as a vehicle for entertainment will obviously find game somewhat offensive, althougth the there is suprisingly little blood/gore in the game. The worst I have seen in several hours of play is when one of the players soldiers is seriously injured or killed, the camera pans to a slow-motion cut of that soldier falling to the ground with some blood spray from the wounds. But the violence is really rather tame compared to standards set by many other games in similar genres.

By far, the most offensive aspect to the game is the language, which makes use of both F*** and S***, in several places. The language is stronger then that in most video games, which, as an entertainment medium, almost universally eschew foul language. However, that being said, I have seen numerous PG-13 films which contain far worse language (think “Rush Hour,” to name one). I find this use of four letter words odd, as the game would have easily recieved a milder rating, if not for the language.

FSW does encourage a different type of game play than any other game of recent memory, it forces the player to think before they act, and to take every soldier's skills into account in forming strategies on the fly, it does not require great reflexes to play. Your soldiers must fight together to survive and accomplish their missions, teamwork is the name of the game.

Overall, the game is very compelling for military buffs like me, and will be enjoyable for anyone who enjoys the occasional FPS but also like to think. The language is very unfortunate, as it does not allow me to recomend it to younger teens (12-15, parently discretion advised, of course).

Year of Release—2004

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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