Full Spectrum Warrior Hands-On
Don't expect a simple port, because developer Pandemic has put some extra time and thought into the PC version of this squad-tactics game.
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After debuting on the Xbox earlier this year, Full Spectrum Warrior should head to the PC by the end of it. This realistic, squad-level tactical game has garnered a lot of press, because it began as a US Army simulation to help teach soldiers how to operate in an urban environment. We got the chance to try out the PC version at THQ's press event this evening to check out all the features that PC gamers can look forward to.
As expected, one of the biggest improvements is in the game's graphics. The PC version will include higher resolution textures, which are needed because the resolution of the game is much higher. The version that we saw played at 1024x768, and it looked beautiful. However, we're told that it should max out at 1280x1024. At high resolution and with antialiasing turned on, the PC version looks a lot sharper than the Xbox version, which is an impressive-looking game in its own right.
The PC version itself will feature the same tutorial and single-player campaign featured in the Xbox version, but it will also add two bonus levels that serve as an epilogue--of sorts--to the campaign. We're told that these should add a couple of hours of extra gameplay, bringing the game to about 15 hours total. However, PC users won't find the Army version of Full Spectrum Warrior on their game discs as Xbox users did, because the Army version was designed for the Xbox, and the Army contract didn't offer any wiggle room on that.
Developer Pandemic has put a lot of thought and research into the controls for the PC version, and the result is an elegant translation from the Xbox gamepad to the mouse. Indeed, approximately 80 percent of the game can be played using the mouse alone. You only need to reference the keyboard for grenade commands and other advanced orders. You can click on your mousewheel to switch between your two fire teams. Holding down the left mouse button will issue fire orders, while clicking on the right mouse button will bring up move commands. After about a minute of orienting ourselves with the controls, we were bounding fire teams down a street and engaging the enemy with almost little thought to the controls. This allowed us to focus more on tactics, which are crucial in this game.
The PC version will also feature cooperative gameplay support for up to two players, so you and a friend can each control a separate fire team, and you can work together to battle through the campaign. You can chat via text, and you can use voice chat by using third-party solutions. Meanwhile, the system requirements look to be around a 1GHz CPU and a GeForce 3-level video card. The PC version of Full Spectrum Warrior is looking very sharp, and we should expect it to ship around the end of September.