Enemy Territory: More Of This Sort Of Thing

By Jim Rossignol on October 26th, 2007 at 5:14 pm.

Bearded ETQW development boss Paul Wedgwood has just mailed to remind y’all that the 1.2 update for ETQW is imminent. It will include a bunch of balancing changes, UI tweaks, bot-bolstering, and lovely in-game voice-comms stuff.

And being a forgetful type, I’ve only just remembered that my Enemy Territory: Quake Wars review has gone online over at PC Gamer UK. In it I discuss how the game isn’t just Battlefield with Strogg, and how I feel it lacks some of the nail-biting this-way-that-way tension of games which have symmetrical objectives. I don’t talk about the totally awesome Slipgate level, however. So I might do that now.

Read on for thoughts and stuff.

Say what you like about ETQW’s achievements in the multiplayer death-game arena, but you can’t fault it’s awesome level design. Sure, some of the objectives cause gnawing of hands and raising of shrill nerd voices, but they’re nonetheless filled with detail and tweaked beyond all measure. Take Slipgate: you expect to be able to jump through that gap in the first village wall on a quad bike, and you can. Every single time. All of ETQW’s levels work. That crew of gamers Splash Damage had say in a back room testing this game over, and over, and over again really have done their job. Every problem has been ironed out, and every grand idea for level design has been realised. This is what the extra months of development allowed the team to achieve: unique maps that are more than just arenas for fighting – they’re architecture for gameplay, far more like a single player game’s fluid channels than the multiplayer battle-boxes we’re so used to.

But it’s not the level of polish that I’m concerned with here – it’s the great big gulps of ambition. Slipgate is probably the most notable level in that department. It starts you off in an African village, where the fighting revolves around the GDF hackers trying to get their electronic mitts on the giant swirly orange vortex machine. Once hacked you can leap in and jump from this:

To this:

The first time I saw it I knew it was going to be one of my favourite things about ETQW. And it’s thanks to Slipgate that this is the first time I’ve reviewed a multiplayer game and honestly worried about spoilers. As much as I want to say: “crikey readers, that Slipgate level is a bit of top clever, expecially when you X and Y”, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who played it through for the first time.

Of course it’s not much of a surprise when you’ve played through the same level two dozen times, but I nevertheless still anticipate the level each time it comes up on the map rotation. It’s far from my favourite level for enjoying focused battle-frenzy, but I still get a twinge of awe when you whoosh through the portal and onto another continent.

It’s not another continent, of course, it’s simply a second zone of the map hidden but parallel to the first, but the sort of idea that it demonstrates still makes me want to show it to everyone: this is the kind of thing we should be doing with our games. Even this simple teleport transition from one environment to another is a thrilling example of the kind of reality-bending foolery that games could, and should, be providing us with at every turn. It’s the kind of thing I want and expect games to deliver. It’s out of the ordinary, and I want More Of This Sort Of Thing.

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23 Comments »

  1. drunkymonkey says:

    What is it with portals taking you to corrupted-looking lands?

    It’s a shame that Quake Wars will be missed and trodden on by the gaming masses what with all the other games out this Christmas.

  2. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    This is my current multiplayer choice. The frustrating part is losing ;-) My mouse has bounced of the walls more times than I can remember.

    Slipgate is a fun level and the contrast between levels couldnt be more marked. Its a sodding hard level for GDF mind.

  3. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Absolutely loving it. I will disagree with you on the symmetrical objectives thingy – I think trying to hold off the tide, or, conversely, desperately trying to inch the mcp forward a few minutes before the end, is even more nail biting than the this way, that way of Battlefield etc. Then again, I never got into battlefield at all, whereas I loved this within the first 30 minutes of trying the demo.

    And yeah, that map is awesome. Though, imho, too hard for the GDF at the moment. Ive only seen the game go to Antarctica twice. And once was playing offline with “easy” bots.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, getting the hack is hard enough, but getting the MCP through too… ouch.

  5. Seniath says:

    I *think* I like it. It’s rather hard to have fun, but if I manage to, it’s great. Snipers ruin it somewhat tho, and the lack of a death cam type feature (damn you TF2, raising the bar and all!) makes it even worse.

    But yes, Slipgate is lovely. The contrast is wonderful, going from clear skies and ruined buildings to the middle of a snowstorm in a bleak environ.

  6. Soldats says:

    When things work out, this game is an absolute blast.

    When a team absolutely refuses to try and work together though, the game turns into the most frustrating experience ever for me.

    I’ve seen incompetent Strogg teams allow the Slipgate to be hacked within the first 4 minutes.

    A good Anansi/Tormentor pilot without a suitable opponent will absolutely rip apart the opposing team too.

  7. Seniath says:

    “A good Anansi/Tormentor pilot without a suitable opponent will absolutely rip apart the opposing team too.”

    Even with the faster reload speed upgrade for the Obliterator, I had really trouble dealing with an ace Anansi pilot the other night in Outskirts. It’s not often you meet one who knows about the decoys, let alone one who spams them left right and centre. It wasn’t until another plucky aggressor joined in the fray that I finally manged to down the damned thing.

  8. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I just get in them and crash into the nearest building. ELITE.

  9. Garth says:

    I lost all interest in the game when I logged on, determined to have fun, and died the second I spawned to an artillery strike. When I respawned, I died to an artillery strike. Respawn again, die to a tank sitting INSIDE my spawn.

    Kinda hard to have fun with a game I don’t actually get to play.

    And the MCP, wow. That just… wow. What a godawfully executed bad idea.

  10. James says:

    I lost all interest in the game when I logged on, determined to have fun, and died the second I spawned to an artillery strike. When I respawned, I died to an artillery strike. Respawn again, die to a tank sitting INSIDE my spawn.

    Dude, welcome to multiplayer gaming. The vast majority of people on the Internet are complete pricks; barely able to string a sentence together without mentioning someone’s mother or letting off a few rounds into the ceiling. Find a community not filled with complete idiots and then make an informed decision about the game.

  11. James says:

    And by the way, it’s a very good game.

  12. Thelps says:

    I like the game a lot, don’t get me wrong, but I must admit to having extreme issues with the GDF assault rifle and the Strogg Lacerator. The sound effects are mind-jarringly painful and the bullet animation appalling (sitting in an uncomfortable spot between real and unreal). Not to mention I prefer using automatic weapons in burst-fire, and ET:QW definitely encourages the ‘charge in and go full auto’ school of play with its machine guns. I have no issue with that in a deathmatch-based game, but objective-based battlefield-type games seem to suggest a more realistic mentality in engaging with combat.

    Of course, my first point is purely cosmetic and pretty superficial, and my second point seems to relate to Jim’s statement that the game isn’t a deathmatch game, nor a battlefield game, it’s Enemy Territory, a little like Labour’s Third Way, only better. Come to think of it, the Strogg’s artificial eyes always remind me of Gordon Brown’s gimpy ocular unit, and their demonic expressions give flashbacks of Blair’s scowling grin. Maybe this is a plot to ‘engage’ with a younger generation. Wedgwood might be taking Splash Damage to whole new, politically-hued pastures…

  13. Soldats says:

    I just got done with another session. Covert Ops is definitely my favourite class, but I prefer stealing people’s pants (skin?) and backstabbing clueless “teammates” over finding a remote spot to snipe. (Of course, this is after I’ve thrown down a radar.)

    On my continuous quest to find the next stab victim, I’ve noticed how floaty the game feels while trying to line up my targets. It’s also rather picky about what constitutes being “behind” someone. Still, there’s nothing more amusing and satisfying than stabbing 3 chaps within 3 minutes.

    Garth: Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Maybe you should give it another go with some RPS folks? Your team could’ve thrown down an Artillery Interceptor Turret to stop the spam. Spawn-camping was a bit of a problem in W:ET too; hell, I was guilty of doing it (with the mortar).

    If anyone on RPS wants to get together and play, add “Wopjuice” to your QW friend list (or Adel on STEAM). Just mention you’re from RPS and we’ll be set~

  14. Seniath says:

    “If anyone on RPS wants to get together and play, add “Wopjuice” to your QW friend list (or Adel on STEAM). Just mention you’re from RPS and we’ll be set~”

    Given the lack of a solid Steam like friends interface, perhaps an RPS clan of sorts is in order?

  15. Thiefsie says:

    Wow, this just gave me crazy ideas for a multiplayer fps affair that is like metroid prime echoes where you have a light and dark world and must use both together to get ahead, but can only exist in one at a time. hmmmm my head is exciting me a lot just thinking about it!

  16. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    I’d like to know what servers people in the UK are playing on. Be good to be on the same team as RPS forumites.

  17. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    feel free to add me too – JVGP100. Oh yes.

  18. Seniath says:

    My tag is Seniath….oddly enough ;)

  19. Thelps says:

    They call me Thelps pretty much all over the internet. Likewise in ET:QW. Please add me, I’m a friendless loner at the moment…

  20. Seniath says:

    I’ve taken the liberty of starting a pretty informal RPS clan, and tossed those who’ve put their names down here an invite. If anyone else wants one, well, lmk.

  21. Kismet says:

    I was positively impressed by the demo (I sort of hate Valley now though), but I didn’t expect to love this game as much as I do.

    Slipgate was a surprise the first time I played through it, as I had not read anything about it before, and I could almost feel the thermal excursion: simply brilliant. Over time, I learnt to appreciate the way the initial village is designed as well: there are plenty of ways to get to the slipgate through breaches in the walls or running on roofs and it always feels like if you’re solving some architectural riddle left by devs for your pleasure (and advantage, of course).

    It can be a bit of a pain to win the map as GDF (it happens rarely), but in most cases after getting through the slipgate it’s all downhill, generally getting to the other continent means victory for GDF providing there’s enough time left. As for the MPC bits, yes, they can be frustrating for GDF, but that’s where the wave respawning mentioned in the review shows its importance from a design point of view, beyond encouraging teamplay: it would simply be impossible to complete most objectives without that relief time a team get after clearing up an area of the enemies.

    All maps are carefully designed, a pleasure to discover, play and even just watch (what about the light in The Ark?). The only map feeling a bit sub par is probably Quarry, but maybe it’s just not too much suited for pubs gaming, I don’t know.

    Garth, sorry to hear about your bad experience: there are people occasionally spawn-camping but so far I’ve seen on average less idiocy than in most multiplayer games I’ve played, so it’s probably worth giving the game another possibility to show its merits. When you get more confident with the game, I suggest to try playing mostly on smaller servers: while the level of individual competence required to succeed is much higher, lamers tend to be rarer than on 32 players servers.

    Thelps, I agree with you only partially: while the gameplay tends to be action oriented, I don’t feel going full-auto is encouraged, given the amount of spraying you get after shooting a few bullets. I don’t have a very good aim (and a pretty poor mouse at the moment, for what may matters), but I generally take down people continuously pressing their left mouse button with short burst aimed to the head (and probably hitting the torso mostly, but anyway…). It could be than those people have worst aim than me though.

    Looking ahead for the 1.2 patch: I’m impressed by the amount of additions to the game planned, if that’s an indication of the attention Quake Wars will receive from devs, the game definitely has chances to be the Holy Grail of competitive team-based FPSs many multiplayer communities were hoping it to be.

    Anyone wishing to add me to his/her buddy list, I’m playing as Kismet (same nick on Steam Friends).

  22. MetalCircus says:

    Bit late in the day but I have to say – I also love this game. I’ve followed since the W:ET days and my support for this game and it’s community has remained untouched. There’s something special about being a part of a massive working machine. One slip up and that could be it. It relies so heavily on teamplay that the slip up of one player is very noticeable. Such is the beauty of it.

    There have been moments of brilliance during my many forrays. Leaping about like mad in the heat of a deeply tense battle, repairing turrets and laying mines, healing teammates, sabotaging enemy artillery behind enemy lines or simply popping heads off from a distance with a sniper rifle, watching aircraft swoop in and carpet bomb your team and the pure agony of wading through tonnes of enemy defences, placing that vital bomb on the objective, only to be blown away before you can arm it. (That makes it sound like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but it plays out far better in-game.)

    Comparisons are often drawn between this and Battlefield which I personally despise, because this game has spades more depth and teamplay to it.

    Anyone reading this and by chance wants to add me in QW, my tag is ZenArcade. If you could send me an invite to the RPS clan, that’d be sweet!

  23. Oringal Mac Gamer says:

    Damn nice game, very little n0085 and just one pro Covert Ops (me ofcourse with sniper rifle close combat and long distance battles)

    My favorite map are all the ones from europe, expacially the second: great sniper spot:
    when going to the generator, u can see a mountain, climb it (gdf ofcourse) deploy a 3e eye camera and let the headshot party begin (there is just one fcuking tree blocking a bit of ur sight, but u get used to it.)

    for strogg too: 2e and third map have some special infiltrator spots (using the portal weapon, by the way: it would be so much fun if it was the same portal device as in portal…) were the gdf cant reach you…