Warm on the heels of the original Full Spectrum Warrior, the chess of war has returned to your small screens in Full Spectrum Warrior:Ten Hammers with all the stalking and flanking that anyone could ask for.

The quaint little seaside hamlet of Zekistan is abuzz with revolution. Full Spectrum Warrior is back and Ten Hammers refers to the mountain range that separates the lush, top third of the country from the lower, arid majority. There are plenty of places for terrorists to hide and it’s up to you to move them out and instill democracy in the land one corner at a time. Will the second shot at this unique look at warfare live up to its lofty goals?

Your boys, your troops, your army…so stiff. Your mannequins

Keep in mind that I’m probably the biggest advocate of adult themes in game but the F-Bombs in 10 Hammers fly more than real bombs. This F(*&^&%N game has more F*(^%&N swearing than consecutive showings of Goodfellas and Glengarry Glenross combined. I’m sure this is done to add some realism but I really doubt anyone is going to pop in another war game and say: “There’s not enough swearing. This is completely unrealistic!” The game is rated “M” so there is a warning but it seems like the profanity is way over the top and not all that important to the gameplay or the atmosphere.

The other sounds of the game don’t present that much of a shock to the system. The weapons, vehicles and shouts of anger from your opponents are well done. Not too much to say.

Those familiar with the original FSW know that you aren’t really taking control of one soldier travelling around the world like an FPS. You move your squad point to point by issuing commands every step of the way. There’s so much you can do and only limited amount of room on a standard control pad. I’ll start off by saying that this game has four different varieties of a ‘Cancel Order.’ It can get pretty overwhelming.

The standard layout gives you control of a 4 person squad and the face buttons represent each member. The majority of time you will end up moving these four as a group, sticking them to the sides of buildings and snuggling them up to corners in an attempt to complete the mission at hand.

From the movement comes the weaponry (shocking for a war sim, I know). Each member of your squad has their specialty. From wielding an automatic weapon, to sniping, launching grenades and even laying down a laser marker for air support. The HUD provides the 4 buttons for the squad and highlights their individual weapon once selected. You can order any individual soldier to use their weapon and even go into a “Precision Fire” mode to off some better shots in with a close, over the shoulder camera, which is new in this sequel.

Are you with me so far? It’s been all nice and easy to this point. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just let you know that you can split your squad into 2 groups, join up with other groups, split them on and on not to mention calling in air support or planting C4, commanding vehicles, etc… All of this can be done while you’re not ‘with’ the team you’re moving. Yep, you can shuffle alpha around the map while staying with bravo. It’s a nice addition but tough to pull off when you’re in the thick of things.

I know it sounds like I’m whining, but I’m not (OK maybe I am). It takes this amount of sheer options if you want the player to really feel they have all the options and controls at their disposal that their real counterparts would under real circumstances. There is a reason for all these button combos and sequences however daunting they may be.

At this point I’m going to assume, if you

The value of Ten Hammers lies with your initial attraction to the game. If you just want a tactical strategy game of squad hopping progress through a mythical middle east conflict then you’ll find it here. That’s all you’ll find here. The lack of variety combined with the lack of any substantial upgrades from the first FSW leaves this game as sort of a FSW 1.5.

There is an online mode, that does have a co-op mode as well, but when I tried to play online, I couldn’t find anyone else out there. Let that be a warning to you. Online could help if you plan to grab the game with a buddy and plan on playing each other though. At least it’s an option for you.