We were lucky to get a fairly in depth look at Enemy Territory and a lot of improvements have been made to the game since it was last seen at E3. We got a chance to discover some of the simpler game mechanics, such as unlimited sprint and context sensitive controls, and some of the more technical issues, like support for Linux servers and the removal of per-pixel hit models which the developers found caused serious balancing problems in game.

"We now have just four bounding boxes on players," Paul told us as he demonstratively gunned down an enemy Strogg bot, "namely the head, torso, legs and neck. Per pixel hit meant that bullets were just missing a lot of the time, even if you had someone right in your sights. To compensate for the perceived inaccuracy we had to push weapon power up, making weapons feel very random at times."

More importantly though we got a feel for how the game plays and got to go up against some of the game's bots. The bots are going to be an important part of the game because, even if the game is the massive smash we expect it will be, then there's still going to be one or two empty places on most servers because the levels are balanced for 24-32 active players with players fighting campaigns over a series of maps.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars preview Conclusions Enemy Territory: Quake Wars preview Conclusions
Vehicles have two control methods to suit both professional players and FPS noobs.

Bots acted semi-intelligently on each team and provided a nicely realistic challenge for our go at the game, with their accuracy being nicely balanced. We also saw them perform some of the more insightful tactics such as clearing minefields with grenades so other team members could drive vehicles through and get to the frontline of the battle.

We found evidence of them dropping proximity mines around some of the extra objectives too, so that they could get down to the main battles while still hindering the opposing team.

We’re happy to report back then that not only does the game play smoothly – though all we could see of the game systems we used were the Logitech G15 keyboards – but that the artificial intelligence we went up against was flawlessly put together.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars preview Conclusions Enemy Territory: Quake Wars preview Conclusions
The dynamic mission system delivers personalised objectives to players and helps them have the most fun.

We were also happy to learn that the game will ship with an applet to take advantage of the G15's LCD screen, using it to display the XP players have earned in each of their disciplines. Good news for those of us who forked out the big money for Logitech's uber-keyboard.

As with all multiplayer games though it doesn’t really matter how good it is because if it isn’t a market hit then servers will be empty no matter what and fighting against bots, no matter how intelligent they are, gets old eventually. We reckon Splash Damage has done an excellent job of putting together id’s latest title though and that the game contains enough simplicity to appeal to newcomers and enough depth to last for FPS veterans.

With graphical improvements and a decently streamlined gameplay model since it was last spotted at E3, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is a title that we're very much looking forward to playing and should be on the list of every serious FPS fan out there.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04