Game Review of Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

Ten Hammers continues the fight in Zekistan with you controlling four man squads and occasionally vehicles to fight for democracy. You will usually have two four man squads of men with a variety of weapons and control movement, arcs of fire and some special abilities in twelve missions to help free the fictional country of Zekistan. On several occasions you get to control a vehicle such as a Hummer with a 50 cal machine gun or an Armored Personnel carrier with a machine gun and small cannon. On one occasion your alternate squad is a local who can act as scout but is still just an average foot soldier who should stay behind cover just like your own soldiers.

The system requirements are about average for a game of this type, Pentium III 1.5 GHZ or AMD Athlon equivelant or greater with a 64 Mega Byte 3D graphics card and 256 Mega byte memory. The more memory, better graphics card or better CPU and the better the graphics and game will be. And this game can have some pretty good graphics and sound. The game plays quite a bit like a third person shooter at least in the terms of perspective and what you can actually see around you.

The controls work well enough but one big complaint that I have is the men take too long to respond or they move too quickly when you actually want to cancel an order quickly. I found that when enemies start popping up you can’t move quickly enough to get your men under cover. And cover is the name of this game.

Most of the missions are urban fighting in third person perspective with you moving your squads to cover each other as they get into the next position of cover. That is what this game is all about, using cover to hold positions and taking out enemies from cover. If you’re not under cover your dead. If your men are not behind some kind of cover they will be shot pretty quickly. I found that even when your men are ready and facing the correct direction they will always get shot unless they are behind cover of some kind.

For instance I had a squad of four men facing where the enemy came out of and all four got shot down by one armed man in the open before I could kill him with one of my four. The games engine seems to penalize you if your men are not under cover and this is the whole problem with this game. At least one of my men should have taken the bad guy out before he killed all four but the game does this every time as far as I could tell. If your men are not under cover when the bad guys are around expect a trip back to the Casevac or field first aid station with one or more wounded.

Every scene or level has equipment stations to get more ammo and at least one Casevac or field first aid station to get a new soldier for your group. Some of the missions only allow for so many replacements so sometimes it is better to start the level over from a saved point than continue the mission when you’re near the beginning of a mission with replenished soldiers. Some of the scenes just lend themselves to your side while others take quite a bit of work to get your men into position and win the particular fight.

Some of the scenes are only a matter of placing your men in the correct positions and letting them duke it out and others are a bit of luck plus placement. Your men have pretty good weapons and should be able to win some shoot outs just due to the fact that two or more of your men are tossing enough lead in the right direction. But it doesn’t end up that way so you have to play the game the way it is meant to. Using cover and always having at least one group of your men facing the correct direction when the bad guys start popping out of their holes.

Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers plays much like a third person shooter and can be both frustrating and entertaining. The game is technically a real time strategy game with you placing and controlling your squads of men but you can only see from a third person perspective of one of your men in the over the shoulder third person type view. The frustrating parts can be from your inability to jump into the scene when you see your men doing the wrong things or just the fact that they cannot hit enemies who are clearly in the open.

You get used to this though and Ten Hammers can be fun as well as a challenge. You do after all get to jump in for a few seconds and target specific areas or enemies using your first person targeting but this is only a matter of aiming where you want the particular soldier to shoot. Useful for the grenadier and machine gunner or vehicles for general mayhem but accuracy goes out the window when it comes to other situations.

The graphics in Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers is really good with the occasional glitch for some added fun. On a few occasions I have had parts of soldier’s glitch and not show up in the scene, for the entire scene. One scene I had the head of a soldier just vanish for the rest of the scene, some ten minutes of game play. He even stopped at the end of the scene and talked with another soldier while smoking a cigarette without a head. Pretty funny stuff but annoying when it happens in a good game. Other than an occasional glitch the game played without any errors or problems other than graphical ones. Ten Hammers plays well and the engine only has the one quirk of always winning unless your men are behind cover.

The multiplayer is played out in either coop play or against other players in a kind of fight for supremacy or deathmatch type game. The coop play is rather difficult as it is the same as single player just with another person controlling one squad of men. If you don’t communicate what you are doing with your men and what you want the other player to do with theirs the game can be difficult but also shows the real nature of combat even when you have high tech communications gear.

In the multiplayer matches where you fight against others over the internet you pick either Coalition/US forces or one of the lesser equipped local groups and duke it out with each other. The coalition forces like the US or British have better weapons but are limited to the number of men on their side for replacements. The local forces are lesser equipped but you can recruit people from the civilians to fight on when your troops start to get shot up. The game plays well in multiplayer but this is not really it’s better game play type. The single player mission is by far the better game and much more fun.

Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers has at least twelve to fourteen hours of single player campaigns and you will also get to retry the levels with a harder difficulty setting. Ten Hammers also has the adversarial mode as well as the coop play for multiplayer fun for those interested in it. The graphics and sound play well and the only problem other than an occasional glitch was the AI and how it would always win when you’re not under cover if any bad guys show up. If you would like a new type of real time strategy or if you enjoyed the first chapter in Zekistan Ten Hammers is a pretty good game.

Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers is a sequel to the popular Real Time Strategy PC game from THQ and Pandemic called Full Spectrum Warrior.

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