The greatest compliment you can give Enemy Territories: QUAKE Wars is that it is perfectly balanced. For a game that places so much emphasis on its online multiplayer, a level playing field is essential, regardless of which side or class the player chooses. Developer Z-Axis has achieved this feat with aplomb, creating an intense yet tactical team based first person shooter.
Set within the QUAKE universe in the year 2025, the game drops the player into a devastating war between the human Global Defense Force (GDF) and the technologically advanced Strogg - an alien race intent on destroying Earth.
The core of QUAKE Wars' gameplay, as the name suggests, is about capturing enemy territory. The player can choose to control either a Human or a Strogg, with each side having five character classes to select. If you're a Human, you can choose between Soldier, Medic, Engineer, Field Ops, and Covert Ops; the corresponding Strogg classes are Aggressor, Technician, Constructor, Oppressor, and Infiltrator, respectively.
Masters of their trade
Not only is each team and class superbly balanced, they are all fun to play with and are capable of making unique contributions to the battlefield, thanks to the excellent objective system that drives the gameplay. For example, you could be playing as Humans, with your objective being to destroy a Strogg radar unit. Only Soldiers can carry the necessary explosives, but teamwork is absolutely essential in allowing that player to approach their target and plant a bomb.
Also, additional objectives are dynamically assigned, depending on the flow of the battle, to allow tactically astute players to gain advantage for their team. When playing as a Medic for example, radar icons highlight fallen team-mates; Field Operatives can call for airstrikes and recon enemy positions; and engineers are able to repair equipment and deploy anti-vehicle turrets.
This dynamic objective system allows the player to make tactical decisions of their own volition, but also encourages teamwork, ensuring that no participant feels uninvolved at any point, regardless of their class.
Driving the enemy back
As should be expected from a game set in the QUAKE universe, there is a wide variety of weapons and vehicles, and each race has their own selection. The armoury ranges from pistols, to shotguns, to sniper rifles - which only Covert Ops and Infiltrators can carry - and like everything else in the game they're extremely well judged to ensure each has its own nuance without offering any unfair advantage.
Vehicles range from jet fighters, to buggies, to bipedal tanks, and are extremely useful in traversing the game's 12 large-scale maps.
In supporting 16 players either online or using a LAN connection, multiplayer is what the game was designed for, yet it also has an excellent single player mode, which is every bit as challenging thanks to some incredible Artificial Intelligence.
Overall, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars in an excellent first person shooter that combines stunning graphics with flexible objective based gameplay. Its depth allows for limitless tactical experimentation across different character classes, while its emphasis on action and the wide range of guns and vehicles available make for an accessible experience. It all adds up to a cause worth fighting for.