Enemy Territory: Quake Wars - hands-on

Take Field Ops. You can hand out ammo, have a variety of artillery pieces dropped that you control with binoculars, and you can call in air strikes with smoke grenades - all with alarming regularity. Class abilities have more potential than we’ve ever seen. A skilled Field Ops could have the opposing team cowering under sheer weight of fire. At least until an Engineer puts up an interceptor turret that’ll obliterate inbound ordnance, or a Covert Ops hacks your artillery. There’s endless interplay between the classes, kept in motion by the ever-shifting maps and other players simply getting wise to what you’re doing - as well as a little system that unlocks abilities over the course of each of the three-map campaigns.

Instead of a kill tally you get points for teamwork. Someone playing a Strogg Constructor who dutifully repairs vehicles, sets up turrets and disarms explosives will find themselves rewarded with (among other things) the ability to launch their tool-arm from their body and repair from a distance.

Spicing things up even further are the differences between the two sides. The human Global Defense Force use the tools we all know and love, from smart rocket launchers and big, dirty machine guns for grunts to scoped rifles for the Covert Ops and defibrillators for the medics. The Strogg are consistently, deliciously different, and not just due to their horrific weaponry, hover-vehicles and jetpacks. The Technician (Medic) turns enemy corpses into forward spawn points, the Oppressor (Field Ops) has grenades that bring energy barriers up from the ground and scything lasers from orbit, and the Infiltrator (Covert Ops) can launch and control a vicious remote drone.

Too many options? Press N and the game generates a personal mini-mission for you. It’s Splash Damage’s policy to only be newbie-friendly in a way that doesn’t sacrifice complexity, because they want what you want: something you’ll play for years. And so they’re mixing the polish of an online arena game with awesome scale and variety. They’ve got the perfect balance of chaos.


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