Thursday, July 29, 2004

Full Spectrum Warrior - XBOX

When I went to rent this game... the guy at Blockbuster told that the game sucked. He said 'You don't even get to shoot, you only tell them to shoot?'.. while the second half is true... the first is not remotely close.. details below.

Upon starting the game up... I noticed that this was more that a tactical shooter... it required some thinking... the first few level are MOUT(Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain) courses... with MILES(Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) gear.... just like when you would train in real life. This is where you learn to play the game... I know that sounds scary... 'why should I have to learn to play it.. I want it to be fun??.. Trust me even the most complex orders you have to give as Squad Leader are very streamlined and are noting more than a few button clicks and a and the turn of an analog joystick.

Once you head out from the MOUT course... you are off to Zekistan... a made up location meant to mimic current military operations of the United States. You go from way point to way point achieving objectives along the way. You most definitely are not traveling in a straight line... There is a method known as ?leap-frogging?. You will have to position one of two or three teams to provide covering fire so that the other team(s) can proceed to a safe position to provide the team providing covering fire with the same. This can grow a bit tedious, but only if you play level after level in one sitting... ANYTHING can get boring like that.

Prior to getting into the ratings for this game I will touch a few things that you will notice after playing for a bit. Mainly the small touches of humor that are scattered throughout the game. Yes I said humor in a war game. The things that you will hear your fire team discussing or randomly saying can be quite funny. I have actually Laughed Out Loud several times when playing... hopefully you will hear a discussion about beans. Funny.

Alright down to business:

Visuals:

Overall: 6.75 out of 10

NPCs: 6 :They look good but not fantastic, they do not look bad, don\'t get me wrong... I can see that Pandemic Studios had to limit this on order to keep the environments up to par... they can get pretty big... and there is only a load screen if you just start and/or die.

Environment: 6 : They are large and complex... but a little washed-out... I have noticed that ONLY the vehicles are repetitious. they are convincing, very believable.

Effects: 8 : The little things is what makes this game for me. The visual effects are nice, from the shells pouring out of your fire teams M249( S.A.W.) to the cinematic bounce effect that the camera has if it follows a fire team on the move. Don\'t forget to look for the little things in this category.

Cut scenes: 7 : They use the in game engine instead of rendering cut scenes which is part of why they got a 7... when you can seamlessly go from playing to cut scenes and back to playing... the job has been completed well. Since the overall visuals look good the in game engine is more than enough for telling the story...

On to Sound

Sounds

Overall 8.333 out of 10

Voice acting: 9 : superb... did a great job on this... stays good throughout the game... and I will touch again on how funny it is to hear the guys chatting it up... smart asses. every one of them.

Effects: 7 : Convincing. The ricocheting bullets, the firing of the weapons. And even the background noises.. good job.

Music

Overall great 7.333 out of 10

Game play: 9 : Pause the game and you will hear music that sounds very much like something you would hear in this locale. The music that kicks in when combat starts is subtle but enough to amp up the action a bit.

Menus: 7 : Nice little drum beats going on... letting you know that you are playing a military game.

Cut scenes: 6 : Not a lot of music here.. but when it is... it pulls you further into the game.

Standalones....

Game play: 8 : I enjoyed handling 2+ fire teams and getting through situations. When else God forbid will I have to do this. Good sense of action.

AI: 4: Obviously it is scripted... but if you are careless with your men... you will get them killed.

Final Impression: Overall score: roughly a 7 (6.87) out of 10

I enjoy this game because I get to participate in the movies I see and stories I hear. The environments are very similar to what you see in the movie Blackhawk Down... as well as the sound. The voice acting... still a strong point for me. It just adds that much more to the game. I would recommend this game to the people who like Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six and even the the strategy gamer who occasionally like a FPS... good combo of the two.

Cheski