Let’s hear it for id Software. Way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s they released a little game called Wolfenstein 3-D. While it was good, things in the FPS market didn’t really heat up and get popular until Doom hit PC’s everywhere. Still, Wolfenstein was the first in it’s kind offering full scrolling, fast 3-D levels and plenty of shooting action. I loved the original, and was absolutely stoked when they released Return to Castle Wolfenstein here recently. Now, Splash Damage and id have released a new chapter called Enemy Territory for multiplayer kill freaks like me that can be downloaded right here on Gamezone! Is it worth it? I certainly think so.
For anyone who hasn’t played the original game or the new Wolfenstein release, the plot of the game takes place in Germany during WWII. You are a soldier behind Nazi lines and trapped within Castle Wolfenstein … a horrible place where you not only have to contend with the cruel soldiers of Hitler, but also with a lot of nasty German Shepards and even some of the dead human experiments that have come back to life and are looking to kill anything that breathes. Enemy Territory does switch it up a bit in this new installment; shucking the supernatural and single player storyline for a team based multiplayer only experience that reminded me more of a Tom Clancy game title instead.
When you hop onto the multiplayer game, it’s pretty similar up front to the original RtCW. You select which side you want to play for, then select what class you want to play as … whether it be a soldier, a medic, an engineer, and so on. There are also newer characters in Enemy Territory like a covert ops character that looks like your opponent until they open fire to sneak in and around enemy areas and a field ops to provide on the run ammo and call in air and artillery strikes. You can also select various weapons to use with most of the classes, which makes it feel a little more like you are creating your own character vs. using all of the weapons that the game feels that you should play with. After doing this … it’s off and into the fray with you, soldier.
The first thing that you will notice when you get onto a server is the fact that there are a few little button looking things on a map and it will say “Mission ??? : 1 of 3”. The developers actually lump three different objective areas together to form a single mission that allows you to carry over new weapons and things that you have acquired as you’ve been playing (keep reading and I’ll explain that more in detail). This allows for an overall win or lose for the Axis or Allied sides after all are completed, so while you may lose the first round … stay focused and the next two may be yours.
One unique quality that I saw in Enemy Territory was the addition of an RPG style experience point system. Whenever you kill an enemy, you gain experience. After a certain amount is obtained, you will move from a lowly private and up through 1st class, a sergeant, corporal, and so on. Another really nice feature in this experience system that they designed is the fact that doing things that you are supposed to do will also earn experience and help you promote overall and also in specific areas like small arms fire or heavy weapons. For example, a medic can literally run around the map doing nothing but offering adrenaline shots to soldiers who are almost dead to revive them or drop health packs to heal the front line fighters and still level up not only in rank, but also in their chosen field. Just doing what you are supposed to do earns experience just like killing does, and while it is a little bit lower than a frag (kill) it still is there which doesn’t make you feel or look like you didn’t do anything if you’re not the best marksman and helps you stay focused on helping and doing your part for the team.
Playing as a well working unit is what this game is all about, and there is also a neat feature of having multiple objectives that have to be completed on a per map basis in order for your team to win. For example, one stage has you build a bridge for objective 1, then escort a tank to a checkpoint for objective 2, and so on and so on. Since each player has a specific job to do to make sure that these objectives are met, this really helps boost the teamwork perspective. In the above example, engineers will build the bridge while assault fighters watch for enemies, scouts are posted behind trees to look for bad guys coming and give warnings, and medics are on hand to heal the fighters and engineers so that the job gets done. It’s not perfect a lot of times due to the people who play rather than the game itself, but even if you get 5 or 6 people working together it really does work well and increases the chance for victory.
There are two areas of Enemy Territory that I think may potentially cause a problem for some players. The biggest one is the fact that the original RtCW has been changed up into a new style of game, and the creepy, single player, and really dark elements of the series have been replaced by a straight team based multiplayer game. This may cause two concerns overall, the first one being the fact that not everyone wants to play as a team and would really prefer to play alone. If you download Enemy Territory, you have no choice but to play multiplayer and if you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to do or wind up killing your army buddies, it may get you a healthy dose of flaming on top of lost experience points. The second thing is that even Wolf vets like myself will have a bit of a learning curve, since this actually almost feels like a whole new style of game than the first one did. Personally, I think it’s great … but a few of the people that I know and have played with quickly deserted the battlefield and left for the original, never to be seen again.
Graphically, Enemy Territory retains the nifty id Software graphics in the Quake III engine. The environments are a good size, and character animations, faces, and outfits looked good. There are some really cool looking smoke and explosion effects, and soldiers will even yell for medics and will struggle to sit up when severely wounded and close to death. There are some issues with some clipping and choppy graphics when characters are moving at a distance sometimes, and even in servers where I was pinging around 68 – 72 it was still present which makes it difficult for me to throw off as lag.
The sound to Enemy Territory was also good, with some decent character voices and a commander style guy who updates you on how you and your team are doing or progressing or what the enemies have destroyed or built. The sounds of battle are definitely all around you, and will get a little more violent and gritty as they get more intense. There is really no music to be heard, except for during the load screen and in between game scenes, but it’s a loop track that I didn’t miss while I was running around blowing holes in other players.
Overall, Wolfenstein : Enemy Territory may or may not appeal to you RtCW fans since it’s got a lot of newer gameplay style and is not the same thing that you’ve been playing. Regardless, I would definitely recommend that you download it and try it, since I really had a ball with it once I got the hang of what everyone was doing after about two hours or so, and once you begin leveling up and get some new toys to play with, it makes it worth your while. Lock and load soldier … we’re heading back into Germany.
Reviewer's Scoring Details
The gameplay to Enemy Territory does a lot of new things which make it its own unique little title. The removal of single player mode and removing all of the undead and supernatural stuff is great for team based multiplayer kill freaks, but RtCW lovers may not be as happy with the fact that the game that they have loved has been changed around not only in that fashion, but also thanks to the addition of a rank and promotion system. On a brighter note, I loved RtCW, and think that this was a great change to the series and did something fun and different for a new experience.
Enemy Territory runs off of the Quake III engine, and the indoor and outdoor environments both are a good size and provide some good cover and decent scenery since some are closed in and more claustrophobic and others are more wide open. There is some choppiness at a distance however, which showed up even at a low ping. It’s not horrible or anything, but it can affect some aiming and shooting periodically. The environmental effects like rain and snow looked good, and the explosions and dying animations were pretty impressive.
There is no music during the game, and the stuff that does play during the load screen and in between missions is a looped in track that didn’t really do a whole lot for me anyways. The in game voices, explosions, and reporting of gunfire sounded good, and could get really intense at certain moments.
For a veteran Wolf player, this shouldn’t be too hard to pick up and get into, although there may be a learning curve due to the new job and level up system that’s in place. Once you’ve got it down though, the most difficult part of the game is trying to complete your objectives as a team without getting killed in the process.
This was good change (in my opinion) to the RtCW series which offers a little something different for everyone who enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the series. Original Wolf fans may find happiness here due to a new game with a familiar look to it, while others who needed something more than another CTF or deathmatch title will find fun in team based gameplay.
While I can’t say that this game is definitely going to appeal to everyone, FPS fans that haven’t played the series yet should definitely pick it up and it provides a good, fun, and fast paced multiplayer experience that will be sure to please. Wolf vets who may or may not like it should at least grab it and give it a try, and while I have a heard a few say that it wasn’t for them the majority have said that they really enjoy it. Really, the only thing that you’re going to lose is about 280M of retrievable hard drive space and a couple of days of gameplay time. For free, it’s definitely worth it … trust me.