Full Spectrum Warrior

Review

posted 12/7/2004 by Dave Gamble
other articles by Dave Gamble
One Page Platforms: PC
"We're taking some heavy fire here, Sarge! We gotta get under some cover!"

I order my Alpha squad to back down the alley we had just come from. There was no way we were going to be able to take out the guy with the RPG that had us pinned down. He was well covered by a stack of sand bags. We were out of M203's, and despite the seriousness of our situation, I still had to chuckle about the last one we had used. We came across a guy hiding behind an old station wagon. In a scene that reminded me of the part in the first Indiana Jones movie where he pulls out his revolver and shoots the Arab fella swinging around those swords, I had Philly, my M203 gunner, put one right down the guys throat. Blew him to smithereens.

Anyway, we were out of the big bangers, so I had to think of something quick. I brought up my GPS to get a high level view of the local topology. It looked like there might be an alley that popped out right behind the guy that had us pinned down. I quickly formulated a plan: "Bravo! Head around the block and see if you can get through that alley. We'll keep him occupied with covering fire." As Bravo squad took off around the corner, I moved Alpha back into position at the end of the alley, and laid down a blanket of small arms fire. The target hunkered down behind his cover, while I kept an eye on our rapidly depleting ammo. Just as I thought we were going to have to pop a smoke grenade and see if we could risk a run across his line of fire, I saw Bravo arrive at the end of the alley. The guy was paying complete attention to making like a turtle behind his cover, so he had no idea what hit him as Bravo unloaded a clip into him.

Problem solved. A quick update to the CP over the radio, and time to move on.

In a nutshell, that is the kind of activity you will find in Full Spectrum Warrior. The first thing you'll note is that nowhere in that story did I shoot at the enemy. FSW has created a new genre that I like to call "real time tactical" or RTT. You are responsible for the tactics and movements of your two, four man squads, but your squad members are completely responsible for maintaining formation and handling weapons. As leader, you get to call in indirect fire (Apache strikes, artillery), though, so you do get to make things go boom now and then. Still, at times I found myself shouting at my troops urging them to blast a guy before he could get behind cover, or slink away down an alley, and getting pretty upset when they didn't get it done.

Graphically speaking, you're completely disembodied. It's not exactly a third person view, since you don't actually have a person. It's more like you're an embedded camera man that can float ten feet over the action, and jump from one squad to another very quickly. The good news: you can't get shot. The bad news: your troops can, and you are responsible for them. Let a troop die and it's game over.
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