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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Score: 96%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Splash Damage
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 24 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Squad-Based

Graphics & Sound:

The hype engine is a funny and fickle machine. We have all seen massive advertising budgets get behind a polished turd, and we have seen Indie sleepers with no market at all hit it big. For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone is not standing on a hilltop somewhere screaming "Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is here!" If you have been keeping score, I love FPS games. Countless hours wasted in the endeavor of being able to obliterate my closest friends online. Now however, with the squad-based play being so heightened in the recent titles, you want those same guys to have your back instead. I really feel that there is a game before us now that has been truly designed by people who love this style of gaming as much as I do. A game made by gamers. Now let us begin.

Evidence of a game made by gamers, exhibit one. I use an average gaming rig to test games for a reason. Sure there are some really beautiful games out there, but I am not going to sell my soul or pay a down payment for a car on the absolute largest gaming rig out there. And, most others can't either, so it is important that games are able to be played by gamers. On normal settings, the game looks and moves great with a more than acceptable framerate. Even if you push some of the settings, it still looks smooth. If you are fortunate to be able to really blast the graphics, then there is nothing holding you back because it is a beautiful game, and a ton of detail is pumped in for your viewing pleasure.

The game has an average soundtrack in the Menu areas. After all, it is the symphony of war that is going to be the opus of this piece. There is a lot of cross-chatter as enemies are spotted and commands criss-cross the com system. These voice commands may get thin and there isn't much variation to their styles, but they are important to be able to understand the situation around you. Weapons fire, from the best that I can tell, sounds very much like the Quake 4 weapons. Where it may lack originality or update, consistency may have been the order of the day.


Basically, if you were to be able to take all of the things that I love about FPS's and stick them together, you pretty much have Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. It has squad-based team play. They record persistent stats. There is a character development ladder. Multiple roles are available allowing you to specialize. And just for the cherry on top, you have mission-based objectives and bonuses.

After the brief cinematic, you are smack dab face first into a well-done and simplistic GUI or Graphical User Interface. I don't often talk about GUI's because they are usually a hit or miss thing. They are either easy to maneuver or not. So with one done well, I point out that a simplem straightforward and well thought out menu system makes games easy for beginners to get into, while allowing tons of tweaks for specialization.

From the Main Menu, you have the option to play the computer, join an online game, and surprisingly enough, a LAN feature. Why does this surprise me? It seems that as of late, game companies only want you to play on their servers, and hence online. I know the arguments for anti-piracy, but I have always seen this as the sacrifice of the basic elements that grew online FPS play to what it is today. I usually felt that the companies that forced dedicated server play were just trying to get another dollar out of me for the server space to run this dedicated server. This rant aside, I am glad to see a simple LAN feature back out front.

Once you have decided how you want to play, you decide who you want to play as. You take one of two sides. On one side, you have the world-devouring Strogg that have come to claim the resources of Earth for their own. On the other, you of course have GDF, sworn defenders of Terra Firma. Or if you can't decide, you can always take option "C" and spectate. Who wants just to watch life, er well, death for that matter, go by. Each faction has 5 classes. Though they may have different names, they compliment each other. Not only do each of the classes have multiple weapons, they have different battle elements they are responsible for deploying on the field. Radars, missile systems, anti-vehicle and infantry turrets don't just build themselves. You will have to strategically place these items to best support your faction. Each one of the classes has been designed in a way that is the most dynamic and encompassing class system I have ever played. There is no one-sided dimension to the classes on either side. Sometimes the sacrifice of having a team-based dynamic means that there are sacrifices to lethality. They balance if a gun will still shoot someone against their value on the field of battle. Here the shotgun is used by a few classes, and the shotgun is the shotgun. It didn't kill any differently because of my class. That is such a beautiful thing.

Once you have established your class and chosen your main weapon, it is time for battle. Take the field on huge maps. No worries though, there are plenty of vehicles around to get you from point A to point B. Of course, there is no problem with raining down fire and brimstone along the way with cool weaponry. Just as a point of reference, and only for similarities, it is like the Battlefield series. Be that 2, 1942, or 2142 or whichever! Complete the missions, shoot bad guys, and stay alive as long as possible. That shouldn't be too hard.


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars doesn't serve you a plate of cookies and milk. There is a great deal of information that you have to assimilate in order to have any success on the field of battle. Compound this learning curve with the fact that people are shooting at you, and it can get downright confounding. It isn't easy to either take over the planet or defend one and you will spend a lot of time simply learning the diversity of your chosen class' weapons and deploy-ables. Now, you add in the vehicle operation, and you are back to square one. Make it easier on yourself by sticking with just one class at a time, and one vehicle at a time. What can increase the difficulty the most is the dreaded yet unavoidable N00B factor. They have been kind enough to include an Advanced Player's Guide on the disk, and I highly suggest you read it before you are the said N00B. Is a game worth all of this? It isn't easy to get all of this information right off the bat, and I just want to play. I say "Hell yes it is."

Game Mechanics:

As I have said before, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars has a ton of dynamic mechanisms that all have to be in tune with one another to be successful in this game. Just being an efficient killer isn't enough. Don't misunderstand team play. It isn't always the MMO Idea of each class together in a fire-team to win. Killers should go kill, medics should heal, and engineers should make things go BOOM! But, there needs to be a balance of all of them to be successful. A well-rehearsed group of individuals outside of the fire team can work just as well. I liked the fact that there were map objectives and territories that you had to protect or control, but there were also selectable missions you could do for XP bonuses. This made the game far less of a ping pong game with guns. I also liked the ability to mimic the other side by disguising yourself as one of them.

Now that I have sung the praises of this game, it is time for the few critiques that I have. The HUD is so busy that you actually have a hard time seeing what is going on around you. You have the option of changing the opacity of all of the information on the screen. But that means usually you either get the information you need, or you don't. I would have liked to have seen the ability to assign information to a key stroke, so that I can decide to utilize it or not, and only because there is so much. There is only one mech in the game. Again, if you are keeping score, then you know my passion for glorious mechanized flaming death. Even the other guys, you know the ones that start with EA, knew you had to have mechs for both sides. I know this isn't a true critique, but I wanted more mechs.

I really could continue on, but why read any further. You have seen my score, and you have a only a small fraction of what this game has to offer. I see this game as a huge tourney game for many years to come which suits me fine, because I have seen and played enough of Counterstrike: Source for this lifetime. Pick the game up, join the battle. Don't let this one slip by you with what I consider too quiet of a presence in the market. Yes, I know there was a game recently released that is "Finishing it's Fight," and everything, but that shouldn't over-shadow this title. No matter how you slice it, the fight for Earth is on.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

128MB NVIDIA Geforce 5700 or ATI Radeon 9700, Microsoft Windows(r) XP/Vista (Windows 95/98/ME/2000 are unsupported), Microsoft DirectX 9.0c, Intel Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz or AMD Athlon XP 2800+ processor (3Ghz or higher for Windows(r) Vista), 512MB RAM (768MB for Windows Vista), 5GB of free hard drive space, plus 700MB for Windows swap file, 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card Broadband connection and service required for full gameplay and downloads. Features may change without notice., 100% Windows XP/Vista compatible mouse, monitor and keyboard, as well as their respective drivers. 100% Windows XP/Vista compatible quad speed DVD-ROM drive (600 K/sec sustained transfer rate)

Test System:

Windows XP Pro, 3.2 GHz P4HT CPU, 2 GB Ram, 512 PCIE 16 ATI X1600XT

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