ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS XBOX 360 REVIEW

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory had made waves as one of the first free team-based shooters that generated huge base of shooting fans! In it, the Axis and Allies had been pitted against each other in maps that revolved around objectives. Though that game didn’t look quite polished, the gameplay had delivered an addicting euphoria. Now, the king of fast-paced team-based shooters receives a multi-platform title, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Being a team-based shooter, the story takes a backseat and leaves the gameplay to do the talking. There are two groups at war – the ugly Strogg, and the human Global Defense Force. The Strogg have come from space to try to wipeout humanity’s existence, and humanity fights back. This sets up the battlefields you wind up playing in, from North American settings to African territories.

The gameplay is similar to the original Wolfenstein – if you’re on the attacking team, you complete objectives by blowing up gates or escorting a massive APC around city streets. The defending team simply tries to prevent the attackers from accomplishing these objectives – the victor is either the team that plows through the defense, or the team that holds the attackers off until the end of the game. Players are rewarded for playing their part with not only points but experience, as well. The experience points count toward better equipment, and are signified by a change in your inventory and stars in your experience bar. What Quake Wars brings to the table are some of the much-needed tweaks to the formula. First and foremost, the maps are huge! Not just big in scale – but rather these are of continental proportion! Secondly, as necessity is the mother of invention, vehicles have been thrown into the mix; these are mainly land-based, but some aerial vehicles are featured as well.

Finally, the gameplay has been fine-tuned and as a result, you now have a more balanced combat sequence compared to the original Wolfenstein. In addition, the teams here are now almost identical to each other in terms of strength, with minor weaknesses between them. Of course, this being a Quake game, the pace is extremely fast – you’ll feel like you are constantly sprinting, and the jumping portion is still as insane as ever! One quirk to look out for between the PC version and the Xbox 360 translation is that Quake Wars supports a total of 16 players instead of the usual 32 found on PC. Since Quake Wars is limited to 16 participants, the action is not going to be as quite frantic in providing a multiplayer shooting spree; though that may be the case, the pace still remains true to the Quake experience.

Another one of Quake Wars’ little snags is the fact that you’re not told what the experience points actually represents; you have the usual reminder that you’ve leveled up, but you have to figure out what that reward is for yourself. All of this applies to the single-player and multiplayer modes; the single-player is generally just a series of multiplayer games with bots lined nicely up for you. The graphics are quite excellent, but not as advanced in details as we had hope it would be, especially living by today’s standards; but what’s nice is that the engine that was used for games such as Doom 3 and Quake 4 is featured here, though, with minor tweaks. Surprisingly, the Xbox 360 version has exhibited a few noticeable frame rate hiccups. Quake Wars occasionally chokes in heavy combat or sometimes just looking at the horizon.

The textures for weapons and characters are relatively sharp and the lighting effects such as shadows are relatively decent for the most part. However, the different environments are one of the game’s great spectacles. Fighting in snow is an amazing experience, and so is the moment you realize that the terrain is not all one texture simply repeated over and over. Quake Wars features “MegaTexture” technology, which means that the terrain’s texture has been essentially painted on, and not repeated through recycling process. In the audio department, the same mixture of remarks could be said for the sound effects. While they’re crisp and have distinct environmental noises, the qualities are somewhat similar to the PC version with slightly enhanced properties. At least, they project a more wholesome discharge, where the guns and other featured weaponries make a respectable and realistic impression.

The voiceovers, on the other hand, are interesting to say the least, with a bag of amusing scripts that help create a more laid-back atmosphere for casual players, such as humans screaming “I’m in disguise!” Unfortunately, the music is somewhat lacking in context. You’ll listen to significantly budgeted score. Overall, Activision’s move from the original PC to a more futuristic translation on the Xbox 360 console is a good one. Quake Wars features a lot of the same addicting gameplay found in the classic Wolfenstein, but presented in a much smoother, much refined, incredibly detailed presentation. Don’t expect any real storyline here. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is build on one thing, which is about straight up, hardcore shooting and does a fine job at it. Anyone looking for great kick in one of the best team-based shooters out there shouldn’t look any further. This is a must have for Wolfenstein fans!

FINAL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10