Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

Pandemic's splenid sequel bangs hot new nails into the squad shooter!

In the Costcutters near to my house, they sell an almost mystical cider called Three Hammers, the audience for which is almost exclusively tramps. The logo of said beverage simply consists of three hastily scanned pictures of crap pound-shop hammers. It's the worst name and the worst design you could think of but it still works, since it conveys the sense of cheapness, of getting hammered and of getting hammered by a multiple of three. And so we inextricably come to Ten Hammers, a sequel with a name akin to an extra-strength white cider designed to keep tramps in the gutter and without any hope of salvation.


Apparently though, the developer was thinking that the Tien Hamir bridge (fictional) that serves as the focal point of the third-person squad mischief, lying within the city of Khardiman (fictional, sounds like a curry spice) and the nation of Zekistan (also fictional) sounded a bit like the phrase 'Ten Hammers' - thus the name. And despite my criticism of the title, the game itself is looking to build heavily on the original and exciting dynamics provided by its progenitor - a strategic think-fest of pushing forward, organising covering-fire, heightening tension and watching your poor men dying in a variety of bullet-torn and slow-motion ways.

You can now control up to four squads (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta), and no longer have to skip between them when giving orders, so you can bark commands
on-the-fly. This adds to the complexity of the whole farrago tenfold, with the four separate squads obviously bringing a multitude of extra bodies to the fray that need to cover and be covered. This is further complicated by the fact you'll be able to break up a squad and send a few lucky souls up front to have a bit of a scout - something bound to result in a few Full Metal Jacket "Doc Jay and Eightball are wasted!" moments of jollity.

There'll be vehicles to order about as well, plus buildings within which you'll battle and set up sniper positions over the surrounding streets - everything an armchair general could wish for. As mentioned earlier, the storyline revolves around a key bridge that lies over a river that separates two warring factions, one in the north and the other in the south, and playing as US and Coalition (ie plucky Brits) who aren't popular with either party. So once more you're in 360- degrees of danger, but you can bank on Ten Hammers bringing the formula forward a few paces - while at no stage walking into a wide open market square and being shot in the head.