Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Review
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is not your typical online shooter. Sure, you've got your player classes, drivable vehicles, spawn points, and other conventions typical for the genre, but the real difference lies in the gameplay. Instead of your typical conquest and capture the flag game modes, each of Quake Wars' twelve maps features its own unique objective-based gameplay with its own set of goals that each team must accomplish or prevent the other team from accomplishing. Strategy and teamwork are more important here than in many online shooters and each player must fulfill the role required of his or her class. Lone wolves need not apply.
The combatants in Quake Wars will be familiar to anyone who's played their way through the Quake series. On the one side you have the humans of Earth's Global Defense Force and on the other the brutal alien race known as the Strogg. Quake Wars' maps are all set on Earth during the opening days of the Earth-Strogg war as the invading Strogg forces attempt to capture the planet. Each side has their own distinct look, technology, and weapons, and although the player classes are unique to each faction they fall into fairly similar roles. The soldier class has the access to the most weapons and can enter the game with anything from an assault rifle to a rocket launcher. The engineer can do field repairs and deploy defensive turrets. The medic can heal and revive comrades. Covert operatives can disguise themselves as the enemy and hack their systems. Field operatives have the ability to deploy artillery and call in air strikes. Each class may also have an important role to play in accomplishing the current game objective. For example, a team may need its engineers to create a bridge across a chasm or its covert operatives to hack a shield generator. There's a nice amount of depth to each class, and your experience with the game will be genuinely different depending on your choice of class.
The game features a large number of vehicle types that you can just jump in and control, and plenty of them can be crewed by multiple players. The vehicles range from jeeps and ATVs to APCs and tanks, and aircraft such as attack choppers are available as well. It's easy to take control of a vehicle the first time you play the game and have a pretty good idea of what you're doing. Aircraft are another matter entirely and will take some offline practice before you can competently control them. I'm still waiting for an online shooter that makes its flight controls as straightforward as those for the vehicles.
As for offline play, the game provides AI controlled bots to fill in the roles of both your teammates and enemy players. The bots in Quake Wars provide a fair amount of challenge, but I think it's due at least as much to their inherent familiarity with the maps than it is to their tough AI. In fact, I couldn't help to shake the feeling that some of their moves and tactics were basically handled as scripted events in some occasions. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the game as a single player only experience, but you will be a lot better off you if you spend some time familiarizing yourself with the maps and their objectives before venturing online.