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Published on June 5th, 2008 | by simeon


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Quake Wars ID Software and Splash Damage have crafted one of the most enjoyable action fests in years with the release of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. The game is a prequel to the events of Quake 2 and Quake 4 and covers the invasion of Earth by the evil cybernetic Strogg invaders.

After delighting fans on the PC the game has finally come to the PS 3 and X-Box 360 Consoles.

The gameplay is based on a series of team missions, where players select to play as either the invading aliens or the human defenders. This is not the end of the choices, as each side has several classes ranging from soldiers, recon, engineers, medics, and more each with their own unique weapons and abilities. Players can also alter their load out in a specific class. For example, the human soldier can have a machine gun, rocket launcher, shotgun, or other weapons as their primary weapon. When you need to get down and dirty, the machine gun is often my default choice as between this and my grenades and heavy explosive charges; I can often do what I need to. When the tide of battle changes, I often sacrifice some speed for a rocket launcher, which enables me to destroy large vehicles and defenses from afar.

Missions generally unfold in a trilogy in a specific geographic region and involve various aspects of attacking and/or defending a locale, and dispatching as many enemy forces as you can along the way.

A countdown clock lets you know how long you have to complete a mission and you are constantly updated by the voice of your commanding officer as to your objectives which change during the course of battle.

One recent mission in Africa tasked me with hacking an enemy portal device so we could safely use it to travel to the next objective. The enemy had set up a solid line of defense, so I was forced to improvise by going the long way around, climbing a building, and dropping down on the enemy. The game rewards players with powerups as they gain skills in battle sense, vehicles, and other areas.

Vehicles are a large part of the game, and in this scenario I was able to use a Hummer like vehicle called the Armadillo to drive near the portal and use the mounted Gatling guns to clear the way for my teammates to hack the system.

Once this was done, the next part of the mission took place which whisked us through the portal where we had to infiltrate a Strogg locale and place heavy explosive charges on a key section of the installation.

The fighting was fierce, and this time out, my team was not able to complete the mission which in turn led us to a new mission.

The game does not end when you fail or win missions; it simply tallies the totals and moves onto the next campaign. As such there is no way to win the game or lose in the traditional sense, as the game is simply a series of battles, some will be one, others will be lost, but there is always another fight around the corner.

As with vehicles, land, sea, and air based, players can also call in support units such as towers, defense turrets, airstrikes, and more. This is often limited to certain classes such as engineers, but it does allow the game to have great versatility, especially when you have a full squad of players operating on the same page. This is key to the game, as this is not a lone wolf show. No matter how great a player someone is, they will not be able to complete the objectives on a consistent basis without the help of their teammates.

This leads to one of the only real issues that I have with the game, and that is the bot play of the game. Many times when I go online, I see a server with players on it, and later learn that I am the only human player in the game. While the bots are a challenge and carry out their duties well, it makes it difficult to really use any team strategy as they will not respond to suggestions or commands on a regular basis.

While this is a minor annoyance, I would love to find more servers with more human players as there is truly no substitute for human lead games.

Graphically the game shines as everything from the outdoor detailed maps, to the amazing facial animations of the characters is amazing. Despite a detailed story, players will likely find themselves captivated by the diverse and entertaining missions and the detailed and challenging maps.

In an era where many titles are playing it safe, it was nice to see that the Quake series stepped out of the standard run and gun formula and encouraged players to use their brains rather than brute force and encourages creative thought.

The sheer scope of the game is amazing, as I am still getting comfortable playing as a human soldier, and have only lightly experienced playing as other classes or the Strogg. Playing as the Strogg presents a new set of challenges as players have to get used to their units, as well as their weapons which are quite different from the human counterparts such as the lightening and rail guns.

The Strogg also eschew traditional medics and can use fallen comrades and enemies to create spawn points for more troops as the battles range on. While it may seem a bit daunting learning all of the classes, weapons and abilities, Quake Wars gives players something lacking in many of today’s titles, and that is variety and supreme replay value as it is never the same game twice.

4.5 stars out of 5

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