Quake Wars: Enemy Territory has to be one of the most highly anticipated FPS games for the PC this year. Game Console took part in the public beta test and happily spilled the beans on Activision’s next Quake franchise title, due out in September of this year.
Although the current public beta has only one multiplayer map available, the map didn’t seem to cram us all in like sardines. With so many different beta servers up and running, there was enough room for everyone to frag to their heart’s content. The map was big enough to easily accommodate 24 players at once.
When the game loads, you’re presented with a screen that asks you to choose a side – the two sides being Strogg or GDF (Global Defence Force). Personally, I really like the menacing look of the Strogg and the fact that they have weapons attached to their bodies! Once you’ve decided on a side, you then get to choose the class you want to play. Be wary though, each match cycles through VERY fast with people choosing teams at a furious rate. With only 12 people per side, you need to decide quickly or end up being a spectator until someone drops out of the game.
There are various classes in the beta to choose from. If you play as Strogg you can choose from an outright shooter type called an ‘Aggressor’, or perhaps you might enjoy shooting and reviving team-mates. If so, you could try playing the ‘Technician’ who is equipped with the ability to not only revive fallen comrades but to also create ‘Spawn Points’ from fallen GDF soldiers. It’s pretty awesome actually and a very different experience to the Quake games you may be familiar with.
Both factions have various strengths but seem to end up pretty equal on the battlefield. The good thing about it is that nothing is ever certain and it all depends on two factors; the skill of your team-mates and how well you all work together. The successful teams at the end of the battle are usually the ones that are unified in their assault on the enemy.
ET: QW is definitely a FPS. There’s no mistaking this and it’s fairly evident that the game you’re playing is part of the Quake franchise, even if it may not feel like it. But there’s so much more to the game now, with a strong strategic element combined with realistic military focused endeavours such as sabotage and various missions that each player can take part in to achieve the overall objective. The game has expanded in ways that now allows for gamers to do more than just shoot down opponents. Each class in the game has specific abilities; all of which can work extremely well given the right opportunity and of course, the desired amount of teamwork.
The beta also features a various array of ‘deployables’ and vehicles specific to each faction. The Strogg have a few units but their major unit is called a ‘Cyclops’ which, when deployed is an extremely menacing force on the battlefield. Standing on two legs and equipped with two plasma cannons, at a distance this unit is unyielding in its destructive power. The GDF aren’t without, either. The MPC is probably their main land unit, structured like a tank and equipped with a powerful missile launcher. At this stage in the beta, I’m still not entirely sure what every unit does, but it has been a whole lot of fun nonetheless.
The small bugs I noticed were mainly in relation to the physical movement of some of the vehicles and re-spawning in the game. At times, re-spawning seemed to cause a problem with visibility in the game and often flicked between spectator mode and the respawn point, which was extremely disorientating. Some of the vehicles displayed movement and manoeuvrability issues which I’m sure will be sorted out before the release in September. I also experienced a little bit of server based lag (but then again, a few people in the game complained of this on occasion). The beta version of the game also comes with VoIP capabilities where players can talk to their team-mates in Strogg and GDF voices complete with nifty vocal effects. It’s very cool.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars should be the ONE game on everyone’s list of games to buy this year. There’s no denying that this game is the next step in the evolution of an extremely successful franchise. The teams at Splash Damage and id should be proud – they’ve produced an extremely slick and polished piece of gaming history – once again.
At the time of writing, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is scheduled for a September release date in New Zealand.