Of course, gaining 'XP' wouldn't be much of a
big deal if it was just a meaningless number, so Splash Damage made sure to build on the original ET's system of granting upgrades to players based on XP,
although this time around there definitely seem to be more on offer, or at least more important upgrades on offer. For instance, you can gain more accurate
weapons and even a scope, increased running speed, more health, and other class related enhancements such as lower build times and quicker target
times. It was very important if not down right vital that 'XP' mattered in this game and Splash Damage have done a grand job of making this so, as these
upgrades truly come through on the battlefield. For example, the second you gain a scope for your Assault Rifle as a GDF Field Ops, you're basically capable
of changing the tide of a fight from well behind the front lines. These XP upgrades and your XP number itself doesn't stick with your online account
(although there is stat tracking), but it does
span across an entire 'campaigns', four of which exist by default, each featuring three unique maps, which by the way are all nicely designed and well
stocked with useful buildings and terrain, not to mention plenty of vehicles and air craft to drive or fly around in, such as the 'Titan' tank and
'Anansi' Helicopter for the GDF, or the imposing 'Cyclops' mech-warrior like machine and personal 'Icarus' jet packs for the Strogg.
With all these options going on at once, it's no wonder that this classic ET gameplay is so damn fun. Even though you're likely only out to enhance your
own XP so you have a better chance of killing other gamers, this selfishness as a whole across all gamers comes together in a team sense almost flawlessly,
and eventhough the maps are quite large and the
player limit per server quite small (24), it's very rare to see more than one battle going at any given time, meaning just about everyone playing any
given map will be in the same general location fighting over the same goal. The result is pure mayhem where, at times, you can expect to die,
re-spawn and kill maybe 10 times for each respectively in a span of 2 minutes. But then it all comes back to your class - you may hardly die
at all pointing our bombardment targets from a distance, or as a sniper perched on an obscure hill, or as a Strogg 'Infiltrator' as you deploy your deadly
flying drone from a safe location and detonate it amongst
an unsuspecting group of GDF engineers fixing their MCP. This control to do what you want isn't meant to also allow for such team oriented gameplay, but
somehow Quake Wars pulls it off perfectly, offering so much variation and possibilities while at the same time maintaining balance amongst classes and
both factions. The end result is quite simply multiplayer gameplay that can't be faulted, it is just that fun and that well done.
Unfortunately though, the system isn't perfect. The trade off here with all this carefully crafted team based gameplay is that Quake Wars is
not exactly the most user friendly online shooter out there. There is nothing more simple than a basic deathmatch online shooter, so when you start to
introduce the more complex notions of teamwork, objectives and classes, that's when you also start to introduce somewhat of a learning
curve. I must admit at first, when I started playing the demo some weeks
ago, the amount of action and information being processed in-game was a little overwhelming, not to mention the initial confusion of understanding the
responsibilities of each class which can change depending on the map. Quake Wars is a game that will take a fair bit of experience and
experimenting to become accustomed to where you will often learn things the hard way. With this in mind, some people may be put off which could limit
the amount of gamers online at times. This is fantastic
for those wanting to take the game seriously because it means you're more likely to play against other serious and experienced gamers who know what they're
doing but, in a way, it might make Quake Wars somewhat of a niche title compared to other online shooters, just like the original ET
And this is really the only significant point you can make against Quake Wars - it is exceptionally similar to the original ET. Obviously the
graphics (which looks great by the way) have been updated moving to the newest Carmack created engine, and obviously the shift of focus to Quake
themed gameplay has added some new weapons and capabilities such as vehicles and expanded deployable's, but ultimately the gameplay has remained
much the same. This is not a negative in itself because the
original ET was a great game, but if you gave the original ET a go and it didn't take your fancy, you'll probably have the same reaction here. On one hand
this somewhat conservative approach may limit ET: QW's ability to attract new attention to the series, but I tend to believe the simple fact this is
now a commercial mainstream PC title and not a free download hidden in some file archive will help to attract the attention it deserves. The
Quake angle offers enough fresh content to separate
this game from the original enough that a purchase from ET fans is warranted, but at the same time it retains the same feel and balance that made ET so
popular. If you loved the original ET or just want some extremely fun and addictive MP FPS fun with quite a lot of depth and detail, you simply can't go
wrong with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, it truly is a multiplayer master piece that will remain in the upper echelon of online PC shooters for many
years to come. It's just uncanny how awesomely fun this
game can and almost always manages to be.
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