Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Preview (PC)

It's a tough world out there, and information is limited on what the hottest FPS release in 2006 will be like. We got down in the trenches of the web and ferreted around to find out what information was available.

Look Mom! No menus!
Just dropping by...

The latest offering from Id, Activision and Splash Damage, Enemy Territory :Quake Wars is set in the Quake universe. Here are a few basic facts. It will involve humans fighting aliens. The trailers are cryptic but exciting looking and one thing we know for sure is that we are going to have to choose sides in 2006. The chills make my cup runneth over and slop into mine keyboard.

The setting is planet earth prior to Quake 2 or 4 and players must team up to battle the Strogg invasion forces. Or to battle the Earth Defense Force, depending on how much you fancy taking the chance to annihilate humanity. Team play is imperative, and the range of vehicles, weaponry and ability on the opposing sides means that there are is an almost infinite set of possibilities for the gamer. Gameplay involves each team setting up bases and defenses, using radar and artillery to detect and destroy the enemy and removing hostile structures. Various character classes contribute by stealthily assessing enemy positions, healing wounded members, operating equipment or by simply killing things.

I said team play was important, right ? It's much more than that, team play is the most important thing in the game. For example, if you're playing on the EDF side of things, players start in EDF held territory and must push forward through into the Strogg territory bit by bit accomplishing objectives as they go. The specialty you choose will greatly influence your ability to take up roles in the game, just as in a real military campaign. Thus there are assault teams, engineers, medics, rangers, feild-ops and more. There are five specialized classes available on both Earth Defense Force and Strogg sides. All these various players are integral to the team's success, with ideal player numbers ranging from the mid twenties to the mid thirties. Before any action can take place, the team must move their command vehicle to the desired location and from there an operation can be mounted.

Transport, Transport Everywhere...
Running Reccomended: NOW!

There are also a wide range of vehicles to suit various needs. Tanks, quad bikes and amphibious ATC’s are all present and are just some of the available resources. The Strogg also have an entirely different set of weaponry and vehicles which means that strategy becomes important. Teams must seek out the opposition's weaknesses and exploit them.

Each time a territory is taken the front line automatically advances and there are several options to reach it with various transport being made available to players. Vehicles come in various sizes, meaning that you can fit several players into them, or some players may be able to be air dropped.

For flying enthusiasts there are helicopters and flying packs that make exploring territory and carrying out missions from the air possible too. Care has been taken to ensure that the vehicular learning curve starts out gently so that new players can be functional members of teams.

When it comes to choosing sides you're choosing between humanity and wild animalism. The Strogg feed on human remains, extracting stroyent which can be used as health and ammo. They also have guns implanted into their arm tissue and are far uglier than your average human. The different units are as clearly marked as human units except in much more unique ways. If you need an engineer just look for someone with his brains hanging out the back of his head. EDF players will also need to watch out for the Strogg infiltrator class which take possession of an earth soldier and then use them against EDF teams.

One of the great design features of the game is the way that things are made visually clear without the need for text or menus. You can see what your teammates have in terms of items because they are clearly visible, the same goes for determining how well hidden you are, and what your fellow players are intending to do.

Playing well with others...
No, we’re not there yet...

Another result of improved technology is “megatexture”, which is a big word that means this game looks very very good indeed. Improved technology also means that the vehicles will look and move realistically on and off-road.

All this means that the most advanced first person shooter strategy game is mere months away. With massive maps, more advanced graphics and animation than ever before, a large range of weapons and vehicles, not to mention a wide array of character classes to play with, gamers are going to be challenged both individually and in teams to pit their wits and skills against one another.

This is the future of gaming. Can't wait to see it.