Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers Preview

2004,s Full Spectrum Warrior was a hate-it-or-love-it game. Some players loved it for its excellent use of strategy and tactics, presented in a close-up view. Other players hated it due to the simple fact that you didn,t actually get to do the shooting, you only ordered the troops around. Whichever way you felt about this game there,s no denying that Full Spectrum Warrior was a unique title in its own right. Never before have we seen a strategy game like this that offers up such a realistic look on modern war tactics. As good as it may have been, however, it did get tiring fairly quickly as you would just simply order one team to cover an area while the other team flanks the enemy. This went on and on throughout the entire game, and it just felt like it was missing some more in-depth features.

Fortunately developer Pandemic Studios looks to change all of this with their upcoming sequel: Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers. This new entry into the series plans to offer up the same game mechanics as the original title but with some more detailed features this time around. Consequently this will make Ten Hammers a more complicated game than its predecessor. As you,ll see in the rest of this preview a more complicated game isn,t necessarily a bad thing. In this case, the added depth of gameplay gives this upcoming sequel the potential to go well beyond the original game. Recently we,ve had the chance to try out the new demo for Ten Hammers, and throughout this preview we,ll list the major changes between the two titles.

The demo features just one single-player mission. From the looks of things, it seems like it,s the first mission that will be present in the final game. It starts out with a cutscene told through the eyes of a reporter covering the war. In fact, it appears the whole story may be told through him. Not only does this cutscene introduce you to the reporter, but it also lets you get familiar with the soldiers serving in your squad. During the game, you,ll actually see the reporter following your men with his camera and hiding behind cover so that he can capture all of the action.

For the most part the entire mission serves as a training exercise. It takes place as a real combat situation, but it,s mainly there so that you can get familiar with the controls. Throughout the mission you,re presented with a number of helpful hints, visible waypoints, and another squad will also tell you what to do. The mission is very similar to what you would see in the original Full Spectrum Warrior. It,s basically a dusty Middle-Eastern town with terrorists running about. Fortunately there are some new details that make it a little more interesting. Throughout the town there are some pedestrians that are running around in fear and will become scared at the site of you. Once again there are also different routes you can take in order to flank your enemies, but this time you can actually enter some buildings and shoot out of the windows in order to get into a better firing position.

The first change that,s visible right away is the HUD. Like the original title, Ten Hammers does include the four squares in the lower-left of the screen which allows you to select one of the four men in your squad individually. This time it looks a little different and slightly easier to use. It allows you to switch between your team leader, grenadier, support, and assault troop by simply pressing the ‘W,, ‘A,, ,S,, ‘D, buttons respectively. Another new feature on the HUD is the ability to actually see how much ammo your selected soldier has left. When they run out of ammo they will fall back behind cover and reload right away. Under this you can also see how much health they have left represented in a number percentage. Finally to the right of the HUD is a radar that basically shows you how your team will be positioned when you send them to a new location. So when you tell your squad to move to a certain area you can see right on your radar what position they will be in. This is vital if you can,t see exactly where you,re positioning your men on the battlefield due to obstructions.

One of the new changes that add a little more spice to the overall gameplay is how you use your squad members separately. Instead of just highlighting an area and having your whole team suppress the enemy you,ll need to actually select your support troop and tell him to lay down some covering fire. This is done by using the precision fire feature which is selected by holding down the ‘E, key. Each squad member has their own specific precision firing mode. The support soldier can lay down covering fire, the grenadier can launch grenades from his assault rifle which can actually be used to blowup enemy bunkers now, and both the team leader and assault soldier can snipe enemies at long distance by looking through their scopes on their assault rifles. The decision to add the precision fire mode to Ten Hammers is definitely a good one as it allows you to more fully utilize your teammates as they would be used in real life.

Speaking of suppression and firing, the fire area circle (where your soldiers will aim and fire their weapons) is enabled the same way in Ten Hammers by pressing and holding down the left mouse button. However this time you,re actually able to select from three different choices. You can throw a frag grenade, throw a smoke grenade, or just simply fire in that area. Of course using frag and smoke grenades is nothing new in Ten Hammers, but being able to select those features right when you enable the firing circle makes it much easier and more efficient this time around.

Ordering your troops to a new location is also the same this time around. You simply have to press the right mouse button in order to activate the small orange circles that appear on the ground. Moving them anywhere across the map and pressing the left mouse button will order your men to move to that position. However if you hold down the left mouse button you,re actually able to select from three different ways that you want your squad to move instead of just simply running over to the new position. The three options include scout, tight, and hot. The scout option will send one of your squad mates to the new position and as long as everything is clear the rest of your squad will move over. The tight option will simply just tell your squad to run over to the new position in a tight formation. Lastly the hot option will order your squad to move very slowly to the new position in a tight formation while all four members are looking in different directions ready to fire on anything that moves. We should also mention that instead of just using two teams of four soldiers you can now split up both teams into pairs which then gives you the ability to flank the enemy by just using one team.

Finally, one of the last new features of Ten Hammers is the ability to command vehicles. As you may recall in the original Full Spectrum Warrior, using your radio gave you the ability to call in air support and a scouting aircraft. You can still use the radio in Ten Hammers, but it offers up a better advantage this time. Using it will open up a detailed map of the surrounding area, and in the demo we were able to call in a friendly APC near the end. Once you call in the APC you can then select it by going to your map and choosing the APC. Controlling it is very similar to controlling your squads. A simple right-click of the mouse will move the vehicle to wherever you want and pressing the left mouse button will open the firing circle. The APC is equipped with a main 25mm cannon and secondary machine gun. Of course the machine gun is more ideal for cutting down enemy infantry, but the 25mm cannon should come in handy against enemy armor. Let,s just say it gets pretty nasty when you fire the cannon directly on enemy soldiers.

The graphics in Ten Hammers have received a nice update. Everything from the textures to the lighting and shadow effects look much nicer and more up-to-date. However we did notice a few graphical glitches such as some texture flickering on objects that were very far out, and we couldn,t enable antialiasing or anistropic filtering even when we forced it in the driver settings. This was all experienced on a high-end gaming rig with the latest drivers installed. Hopefully these slight issues can be resolved before the game ships later this month.

The sound effects are also done very well especially in the way of battle chatter. You can always hear your soldiers yelling out orders and saying when they,re going to reload. Certain details such as the team leader saying that he sucks or cursing when he misses a shot through his scope add a nice sense of realism to the game. Although the game does contain a nice amount of profanity you can actually turn off the profanity via the sound options menu.

The demo didn’t contain any multiplayer features, but the final version should have a much better multiplayer mode than the limited two-player co-op mode of the original game. Ten Hammers will include an eight-player Versus mode that is mission-based and will allow you to play as either Coalition Forces or Insurgents.

Overall Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers is shaping up to be a worthy successor to the original game. All the small, new details make it look like more of a complete game, and it presents a much more realistic experience. At this point it does look to have a few small technical issues which will hopefully be ironed out before the game goes gold. Other than that, it plans to offer up the same tactical and strategy-based gameplay with some more in-depth features that should make it more enjoyable. Of course we,ve only seen a small amount of what Ten Hammers has to offer, but if what we,ve experienced is any indication of the validity of the final game than we may have an award-winning title on our hands.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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