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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?

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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
THQ
DEVELOPER:
Pandemic Studios
GENRE: Strategy
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
March 27, 2006
IN THE SERIES
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

Full Spectrum Warrior

RELATED GAMES
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers
 Written by Troy Matsumiya  on May 17, 2005

Specials: The Xbox ain't dead yet.


This year's E3 can be best summed up in two words: next generation. Not surprisingly, the Xbox 360 is generating a lot of attention ? but where does that leave its older sibling? With everyone oohing and ahhing over the shiny new kid on the block, it's easy to forget about the old man skulking alone in the corner.

Fortunately, both Microsoft and game developers are still showing strong support for the Xbox Classic with many top quality titles on the horizon, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we will not be stuck with a lame duck console until the 360 is released.

Since the Xbox is considered a shooter's platform, here is a look at three upcoming titles guaranteed to get your trigger finger itching for some action.

Call of Duty: Big Red One

How can you not get excited at the next sequel in the best World War II FPS series since Medal of Honor: Allied Assault? This time around, developers Treyarch and Gray Matter are collaborating to create yet another action-packed excuse to blast the crap out of Nazis ? in fact, Gray matter was folded into Treyarch specifically for this and other future projects.

Unlike previous CoD editions where you played different characters from different Allied forces, this time you will follow the story of a single American squad, the 16th Division of Fox Company in the renowned Fighting First Infantry Division, nicknamed the ?Big Red One?. The story will take place over three years as you battle through Operation Torch in North Africa, Operation Husky in Sicily, and the most heroic battle of the war, the Operation Overlord invasion of Normandy (in fact, the Big Red One were the first to hit the beaches that fateful day). Although the characters are fictional, the 16th was real and the stories and battles you will encounter are based on actual events. The CoD series is known for its attention to detail and accuracy, and so it is not surprising that two decorated combat veterans and WWII historians consulted on the game's development.

To pull you deeper into the experience, the developers will reinforce the ?no one fights alone? philosophy of the series by letting your squadmates share personal insights with you. Like in real life, your buddies will develop and change their behavior over time as they cope with the stresses of combat ? and sadly, you will lose many of them as they fall in battle. It's not meant to depress you but rather to pay homage to the sacrifices of ordinary soldiers and illustrate the true tragedies of war. Survivors like your character will climb through the ranks and earn new responsibilities as you progress through the game.

The enemy won't be easy targets either. Unlike the console exclusive CoD: Finest Hour, Big Red One will use an updated and enhanced version of the original PC AI developed by Infinity Ward, which we are told will result in significantly improved enemy and Allied AI.

As in previous editions, the action is promising to be frantic and exciting, with ample vehicle combat and the freedom to pick up and use any weapon. The graphics look amazing and the realistic sound effects are promising to be even louder than ever. If you're a fan of WWII games, then you should definitely keep an eye out for the Big Red One.

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

It's been three long years since Battlefield 1942 stormed onto PCs, grabbing numerous awards and sucking up many a gamer's evening with its insanely fun and innovative team-focused gameplay. You chose your character from a specific class (medic, engineer, anti-tank, and so on), each with its own set of special weapons and abilities; teams lacking in one or two classes would ultimately have a tougher time against a well-balanced opposition. As well, each team shared in a pool of respawn ?tickets?, which further encouraged you to work together as a team rather than a bunch of individuals running around to see who can get the most kills. Add in the fact that you could hop into almost any vehicle and fight on incredibly huge maps, and you had one of the best multiplayer experiences ever on a PC.

So needless to say, it was with great excitement that EA and DICE announced a sequel; but instead of continuing with the WWII setting of the original, this time we would be fighting in modern times using the latest weaponry. Sweet!

But then came the delays. Then the rumors that Battlefield 2 was cancelled for current consoles and would be next gen only. But luckily, we will not only see it on next gen systems but on current consoles as well. Double sweet!

Unlike the original, Battlefield 2 will feature a true single player campaign, and since both single and multiplayer use the same code, you will be able to use the more than 70 weapons and 30 vehicles in both game modes. You will also be able to choose from the same specialty classes in each mode. Every class has special abilities; for example, the Engineer can call in a carpet-bombing airstrike to clear out campers and entrenched enemies. The Sniper, on the other hand, can call in a surgical smart bomb attack by pinpointing a specific target with a laser.

In both modes, you can choose to play on the side of the US, Chinese or Middle East Coalition, each with their own distinct set of weapons and vehicles. In single player, you will fight in the unstable region of Kazakhstan as the three forces struggle for control. You will earn points and multipliers for stringing together kills; earn enough points and you will be able to unlock new equipment and character upgrades.

In multiplayer, you will battle on massive maps with up to 24 players over Xbox Live. Each game will be populated with real players and bots, and as we saw in Star Wars Battlefront, the more bodies on the screen, the more fun you can have. Only this time, bots will be more useful than just cannon fodder thanks to a unique feature called HotSwapping, which allows you to instantly switch to and control any character you can see. Are you pinned down in a corner? HotSwap to the rooftop sniper and take them out. Can't take out a group of enemies dug into well-protected area? HotSwap to a helicopter and give them some .50 cal love.

The graphics are absolutely stunning, and we're not talking about the Xbox 360 version. When games look this good, it makes me wonder if we need next gen systems at all ? ok, I only wondered about it for 1.5 seconds, but hey, wonder I did.

Battlefield 2 is definitely shaping up to be one of the top titles on any platform on any generation. If you're a fan of multiplayer FPS, then this is certainly one to start saving your spare change for.

Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

The original Full Spectrum Warrior was a good strategy game but many gamers were perplexed to find that they had bought a shooter that wouldn't let you shoot. Based on the training simulator Pandemic developed for the US Army, FSW let you command teams by telling them where to go, when to shoot, and when to advance or retreat. From a realism point of view, it worked great but from a gaming point of view, it would have been cool if we could actually participate in the action ourselves.

Pandemic listened to their customers and are planning to lighten up a bit on the heavy realism and add more gaming elements to the sequel, FSW: Ten Hammers (the ?Ten Hammers? refers to a strategic bridge in the fictional region of Khardiman, Zekistan that you have to control in the single player campaign). This is not to say the game will become a standard fragfest; it is still a real-time strategy game with smart enemies that will react realistically. For example, unlike the original, all enemy scripting has been toasted; instead, enemies will appear in different locations each time you play. They will be very aggressive and will try to outflank you, seek high positions to snipe you, fire RPGs and grenades at you, and will generally be a nasty pain in the tuckus.

In other words, staying in one place will not be a good idea. This time around, you will control Alpha and Bravo teams as before but will also have the help of Charlie and Delta teams. You can issue commands to each team without having to switch control from one team to another and can split Alpha and Bravo teams into two smaller sub-teams. For example, you can send out an individual sniper to provide cover, or order one brave soldier to pull a wounded comrade to safety. With the additional teams, you will have up to 32 individual soldiers to command. It may sound daunting to have to manage that many troops with an aggressive enemy trying to hunt you down, but one thing's for sure: it also sounds pretty darn fun. Besides, if you ever feel overwhelmed, you can always kick back and call in your old friend, the airstrike.

To enhance the realism of the game, each soldier can die in combat. They will be replaced with another soldier after you complete a mission but the surviving members of your team will react realistically at the loss of one of their comrades. So while you may have sent a couple snipers up to the roof to cover you, don't forget about them because chances are the enemy will find a way to take them out if you don't move them.

Some new features include moving Tight, which means moving slow and quietly to avoid detection, and moving Hot, or attacking while moving as fast as you can. Precision Fire will let you focus sniper and grenade launcher shots with pinpoint accuracy. You can also control tanks and other armored vehicles as if they were another team. And thankfully, grenade throwing has been improved so you will actually be able to chuck them a useful distance this time around.

The big news is the addition of an adversarial multiplayer mode over Xbox Live and System Link, which will have the US team battling the OpFors team to complete objective-based missions. The two-player co-operative mode also returns.

Naturally, the graphics have taken a big step up but one thing that stands out is the addition of color. The original was a little bland with various shades of desert browns and yellows, but Ten Hammers offers a bit more color variation and is much prettier to look at as a result.

At its heart, Ten Hammers is still a real-time strategy game with some shooter elements; it's a niche genre but if sales of the original are any indication, the sequel is bound to be success, especially with the new changes. You'll have to be patient though, since it is scheduled for release next winter.

Other Shooters

Other upcoming shooters for the Xbox to keep your eye out for include Half-Life 2, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 (yes, it's being released for Xbox and Xbox 360), Serious Sam II, Star Wars Battlefront II, and the eternally delayed StarCraft: Ghost. So don't worry Xbox owners; there's still a lot of life left in the old man.



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