Enemy Territory: Quake Wars hands-on

Friday 12 May 2006
Mere hours ago we were thrown headfirst into a 24 man round of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars... and we're still reeling from the experience. Our initial fear that Quake Wars would feel sparse and under populated, especially next to the insaneness of 64 player Battlefield 2, have been utterly blown away.

Quake Wars gripped us by the throat with its tightly focused and superbly fast-paced action, which meant we were never far from slugging a bullet into an enemy's head. The level we played started with the Global Defence Force assaulting Strogg-held territory, beginning with an objective that demanded we build a bridge. Each level is angled towards a set of objectives that really give the matches direction and purpose, thrusting everyone into a single pocket of action and creating some seriously hairy moments.

As an engineer - one of the five GDF classes - we snuck forwards under covering fire to help build the bridge. Each class has a special function - the engineer, for instance, can repair vehicles, set up gun turrets and complete objectives like bridge building. The strength of Quake Wars is that each objective needs a specific class to complete it, stressing team-play - with soldiers giving covering fire to engineers while special ops take out long range targets - as the only successful way to win.

We also got to pilot two different aircraft - the Anansi attack 'helocopter' and the Buffalo transport 'copter. It wasn’t too long before we got a handle on the controls either, as developer Splash Damage has made great effort to keep the game accessible while retaining tactical depth to the gameplay. And, yes, you can peer around freely in the cockpit, although it does stir your brain a little at first.

While this mission only gave direct objectives to the GDF force - the Strogg simply had to defend until the round timer was out - different maps will offer different objectives for either side. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is due to splash down in the autumn and it's going to be huge. But then, you knew that already.