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Posted on Dec 8, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Game Review

Armchair General

Passed Inspection: A fast, apparently bug-free game that’s great fun to play.

Failed Basic: Needs some improvement in the in-game communications.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is two franchises in one – serving as both a follow up to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory whilst also sitting squarely within the Quake universe, in a game which focuses on an invasion of Earth by the vile alien Strogg. The storyline is something of a back story to Quake II – which told the story of a Human counter-attack on the Strogg.

Players can choose to play as the aforementioned thuggish aliens or as human soldiers serving with the GDF (Global Defence Force) – tasked with defeating the alien incursion.


Like the Battlefield series of games, this FPS gives players the ability to control vehicles in the air and on the ground in addition to their usual tasks of running around shooting out the teeth of the enemy.

Battles are fought all over the planet, and should a player so choose, he or she can also of course play against people from anywhere on Earth online. There are also the usual LAN and single player options – the latter featuring computer controlled bots in place of real opponents.

Once a player has chosen his or her side, it is then possible to pick from various soldier classes – but unlike the Battlefield games, the two sides are asymmetrical – a typical “grunt” on one team has no exact opposite on the other team. Although some of the roles are broadly the same, the way each team fights is not. Whilst the humans must rely on finite supplies of ammunition, the Strogg have no such limitation, although weapons do overheat. Instead the Strogg use a substance called Stroyent which doubles up as their “health” – so a wounded Strogg trooper can replenish his health by diverting energy from his weapon. Instead of a medic to patch up wounds, the Strogg instead rely on their Technician class to replenish their Stroyent levels. Interestingly, where a Human medic can of course revive a fallen soldier, the Strogg equivalent can use his Stroyent to inject fallen enemy soldiers and create a new spawn point for his team. This makes it rather important for GDF soldiers not to die without permission where they might find their bodies used to aid the enemy advance!

Each soldier class can also choose from different weapons, from typical assault rifle type weapons to shotguns or heavier small arms that dish out more damage but which require a longer time to warm up before they open fire.

As a game plays out, certain missions must be accomplished, be it hacking an enemy computer, destroying a RADAR installation or just defending a key installation for as long as possible. Using an in-game menu, it is possible for the player to select the mission they are interested in accomplishing or supporting. Completing one mission may lead to a new one becoming available. As missions are completed, the front line of battle can shift, causing one team to suddenly find itself on the defensive.
It’s with the missions that the final two classes of soldier really come into play.

Engineers/Constructors can place turrets that can turn the tide of battle or create bottlenecks on the field to force the opposing team along a certain route. They can also build bridges – a requirement on some maps to progress forward.

Equally, Cover Ops/Infiltrators can disable enemy installations, creating blind spots in RADAR coverage or temporarily deactivating a turret. It’s even possible for these classes to steal enemy uniforms and run amok behind enemy lines.

Completing missions, performing well as a team or even just achieving a certain number of kills sees players rewarded with various goodies to enhance their combat abilities. Sometimes it might be the ability to run faster, other times it’s the ability to carry an additional clip of ammunition for their weapon, plus of course the obligatory increases in rank and prestige.

There are twelve maps in total to play on, ranging from Africa to the Pacific, and Northern Europe to North America. The settings include a refinery, a quarry, a volcano and a valley and each one is rendered beautifully, with a magnificent draw distance unencumbered by any fogging or distortion. As players fight their way through these highly detailed battlefields, explosions and falling debris from every direction immerse one in the thrill and excitement of battle. Parachuting into action as the GDF brings home the impressive scale of the maps. Some battles are fought at night, with dark moody clouds lit by the penetrating moon – the darkness really brings home the dynamic lighting as explosions illuminate all that is around them.

Combat isn’t just limited to the great outdoors, there are factories and sewage plants to fight through, their confined corridors requiring a new kind of battlesense and swift reflexes.

During several hours of online and offline play, I never had a single problem with the game and performance was top-notch at all times.

Players can jump into vehicles such as Main Battle Tanks, APCs, quad bikes and attack helicopters or, if playing as the Strogg, hovering tanks, one-man bouncing jet packs mounting rocket launchers or flying insect-type aircraft that can really mess up a GDF infantryman’s day.

If I had any criticisms to make it’s that sometimes the representations of guns and the players themselves are a little “soft” on texture – a marked contrast with the super-detailed environments in which they fight and it sometimes seems as if the two don’t quite go together. In addition, although there is an in-game communications system using hotkeys, the menu stays on screen for what seems like a fraction of a second, a major distraction for a new player who has to bring up the menu a few times just to learn the keys to say “thanks” to the medic who just revived them – only to be wasted again because of the delay. In fact, in-game communications seem inferior to the Battlefield games, and in the online games played by this reviewer, general chit-chat was at a much reduced level, surprising for a game that relies so much on cooperation and team objectives.

All that aside however, I have no hesitation in recommending Enemy Territory: Quake Wars which is, at heart, an extremely fun, fast, furious and above all rewarding game to while away the hours.


1 Comment

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