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Gameplay 7.7
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.0
Value 7.0
Developer: Activision
Review Date:
November 2007
Rohan Anchan
Classification: M15+



Developed by id Software & Splash Damage, Enemy Territory : Quake Wars (ET:QW) delivers an explosive dose of online combat, which combines huge, sprawling battlefields with futuristic weaponry,  advanced assault vehicles, deployable defense mechanisms, and a multitude of objectives. Enter the fray to save the earth from total annihilation as a human soldier under the Global Defense Force (GDF), or lay waste to everything in your sight as the invading Strogg. Choose from five different player classes on either side, each differing in appearance, skill, and weapon selection. Yes, Quake Wars is a pretty impressive game due to its size and mechanics, but it’s not exactly the best of online shooters. It has some pretty interesting stuff on offer, but it does tend to get a wee bit stale after spending a few good hours with the game. Read on to find out more… 

As mentioned earlier, the game has two teams and five classes within each team to choose from. Under the GDF, you can choose to play as a Soldier, Field Ops, Covert Ops, Medic, or Engineer, and under the Strogg, you can reprise the role of an Oppressor, Technician, Aggressor, Infiltrator, or Constructor. Essentially, both teams have the same classes with regard to skill sets, except that they have a different set of names. For example, the Strogg Technician is the same as the GDF Medic – they both can drop stroyent / health pickups for their teammates. The same goes for the Constructor and Engineer – both can call in deployables, build and repair structures. The weapons, however, differ vastly as the Strogg use some pretty weird looking stuff manufactured from their alien technology, while the GDF weapons look more like standard-issue military firearms, such as pistols, assault rifles, snipers, RPGs, shotguns, etc. Nevertheless, both sides have some pretty neat looking weapons that can deal good amounts of damage, so you’ll want to spend a fair amount of time playing as either side.

Given that the battlefields are extremely huge outdoor locations, walking and sprinting across them is just a dumb, senseless chore which will only get you killed by some sniper or such. And this is where the game’s myriad vehicles come into play. Both teams have completely different land, air and even water vehicles that can be driven, ridden, or flown. Most of them are a breeze to control, except for some of the flying machines which tend to get a bit annoying due to the mouse. But you’ll get the hang of it pretty soon, as you’ll be using vehicles without even realizing it – they’re that important to the game. What’s more is that you could probably sustain a few more hits when in a vehicle than on-foot, depending on what sort of weapon is hammering away at your ride. At your disposal are buggies, tanks, military jeeps, boats, aircraft and more. The Strogg also have similar types of vehicles, but they look totally different and a bit cooler than the GDF vehicles to be honest. The Strogg also have the advantage of having this little personal ‘strap-on’ glider thing called the Icarus, which allows you to lift off the ground and fly around for a short period of time, while lobbing grenades at the infantry below. It’s pretty neat and you’ll almost always want one when you’re playing as the Strogg, because it can help you get out of nasty situations pretty quickly.

Some of the vehicles have plasma beams, lasers, rockets, or machine gun turrets at the ready, so you can actually deal quite a lot of damage with some of these beasts. And of course, running over the enemy with any sort of vehicle will kill them instantly and is a good way to rack up some XP. 

Oh yes, speaking of XP, it plays a pretty important role in the game. XP (or Experience Points for those who are illiterate here) are awarded to you for completing different objectives, assisting teammates, and loads of other stuff. And based on your XP, you unlock different rewards, which are normally character upgrades – faster sprinting, a flak jacket, quieter footsteps, a silenced SMG instead of a pistol for the sniper, and things like that. If you’re playing on ranked servers online, you’ll want to gain as much of XP as you possibly can ‘cos it makes you look good and feel good too. Oh and of course, for the rewards… 

The game has three modes called Objective, Stopwatch and Campaign, all of which can be played online, on LAN, or offline against bots. Objective is a simple, one-map battle; Campaign is where you play a set of three maps in succession; and in Stopwatch, the teams switch between attacking & defending in an attempt to beat the other’s best time. There are a dozen or so maps to choose from, and each one has been superbly crafted and intelligently designed. Map themes vary from arctic and tropical to desert and urban locations, and are a beauty to behold, especially if you’ve got the settings cranked up. 

Each map has its own set of objectives which must be met by either team to win the round. It’s fairly straightforward : some maps will have the GDF attack and take out some Strogg defenses or hack certain Strogg technology, while the Strogg have to prevent them from doing so, while others will have the Strogg on the offense and the GDF soldiers on the defense. On the way to your primary objective though, your team will be required to complete a number of smaller objectives in order to actually get to the primary one, such as blowing up barricades, taking control of specific enemy points, constructing a bridge, etc. And this is where teamwork is most important, because certain objectives can be completed only by certain classes. For instance, only a GDF Covert Ops (or Infiltrator for the Strogg) can perform hacking operations, as only a GDF Engineer or Strogg Constructor can build or repair bridges, etc. So, if you’re planning to go in solo, guns blazing, forget about winning – the only thing you’ll achieve is instant death…

So in this regard, the game nearly forces you to operate as a closely-knit team in order to rack up some victories and not just end up biting the dust again and again. 

And this is where the game may start to get on your nerves a bit. Given that the objectives are class-specific, and that you MUST work as a team if you want to survive makes things pretty slow-moving. It takes quite a lot of time to play through just one map, and if you’re playing Campaign mode, you’re in for one hell of a ‘patience test’!! What’s more is that once you’ve played through all the maps once or twice as both teams, there really isn’t much more to look forward to in this game. The objectives just get boring after that period, because it’s the same old “blow this barricade, build that bridge, then hack that slipgate…” affair. The game offers a lot of new stuff, but fails to make the novelty last long enough. Needless to say that it IS a whole lot of fun while it does last, but it’s just that the game fails to keep you hooked for days, weeks and months on end, like some other online shooters do. 

Graphically, ET:QW is a mixed bag. The huge outdoor battlefields which let you see right up to the horizon are a treat to behold, what with all the foliage, buildings, weather & sky effects, burning vehicles, explosions, amazing water, and superb lighting – it all makes the experience much more realistic. The downside is that some of the buildings, walls and mountain sides that you’ll come across have extremely plain textures, but thankfully, are noticeable only up close. The real bummer though has got to be the absence of ragdoll physics and the incredibly stupid looking death animations. Whenever someone from either class gets their health down to nil, they’ll drop on the spot and make some unimpressive efforts to get back up again, as if they’re reaching out for some invisible handrail to try and get up. And then, if a medic doesn’t reach them in a certain amount of time, all their ‘valiant efforts’ to resurrect themselves just come to an abrupt, screeching halt. Yes, all movements stop and the character just lies still for  a moment, before disappearing off the battlefield and re-spawning at one of the many spawn points. For a game of this magnitude and class, this is totally weird and unforgivable – it’s just that annoying!! 

Sound effects, on the other hand, are great. Weapons sound very authentic (can’t confirm that for the Strogg though, haven’t been to Mars yet…), as do the explosions and vehicles. The voices of the GDF soldiers sound fairly similar with just slight differences in pitch and tone, and the same goes for the Strogg. There’s no music in-game, although there is a fairly good track playing in the menus and game browser. 

It’s been a fair amount of time since we had a Quake game to tinker around with, and Quake Wars brings something totally different and new as compared to what Quake 3 or Quake 4 had to offer. It’s a good, fun game, but the novelty does wear off in a couple of plays, which is not exactly good for an online game. Also, the time required to get through a map may result in some boredom, but that depends on how skilled the teams are.

So if you’re an ardent FPS fan and have a good PC and fast internet connection, then ET:QW would probably appease to you. It’s not bad in any respect, but if you do decide to go for it, be prepared to let boredom engulf you within less than a month or so!



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