Wot I Think: Enemy Front

By Tim Stone on June 16th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

During the 11 hours I’ve spent with this CryEngined WW2 shooter so far, I’ve had 4671 separate thoughts. Here are 50 of the most telling.

#2038. I’ve just hacked a man to death with his own entrenching tool. I’m not sure I should be feeling quite this gleeful.

#2099. Player-protagonist Robert Hawkins has the personality of a sandbag, but better a bland hero than an irritating one.

#1775. Look Mum, I’m in The Heroes of Telemark!

#1690. Look Dad, I’m in Where Eagles Dare!

#3008. A WW2 FPS campaign that devotes half its missions to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and studiously ignores historical honey-pots like Normandy, Arnhem, and Stalingrad? How bally refreshing.

#3024. City Interactive is staffed by Varsovians. That local connection probably explains the unusually sensitive storytelling and excellent voice performances in the Polish chapters.

#490. This is promising. Strong notes of the original Call of Duty and the original Medal of Honor, plus zesty hints of Sniper Elite and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

#3103. I’d like to have seen regenerating health as an option rather than a standard feature. On normal difficulty I’m perishing pretty regularly, but I miss the sense of vulnerability that comes from moving around with a tiny slither of life left.

#1853. Time to give my faithful MP 40/Kar98K combo a rest. I’m going to attempt to clear this next section of the Norwegian heavy water plant with a super-discreet Welrod pistol, a knife, and a pocketful of pebbles.

#2273. Stealth is a perfectly viable tactic in many of the missions, but there’s no real incentive (beyond Steam achievements) to hug shadows and trust cold steel.

#231. Note to self. At close quarters enemies may attempt to wrestle you to the ground or slay you with melee weapons. Fail to bash the appropriate counter-attack key quickly or enthusiastically enough and it’s ‘Gute nacht, Wien’.

#1500. Or…Hold B to shout “BOO!”. Hold W to perform wedgie.

#2090. My, isn’t Fritz frisky today. Look at him dashing from cover to cover. Look at him blind-firing with his SMG. Look at him preparing to lob that potato masher. A little more grenade use together with some Brothers in Arms-style flanking might have made for tenser firefights, but usually there’s enough lead flying and bodies bustling, to keep your gun barrel hot and your pulse pounding.

#1145. Apologies Herr Panzer, I’ve confused you. You were expecting me to obey the on-screen prompt and Panzerfaust you from afar, not gallop up to you exposing flaws in your rudimentary AI. I promise I’ll keep my distance in future.

#3428. Bravo, City Interactive, bravo! That section in the makeshift field hospital was as powerful as it was unexpected. Eat your purple heart out Gearbox!

#821. Comedy ragdoll at ten-o’clock!

#80. Let me at them Mr Cutscene Director! Let me at them!

#247. Schmeisser loaded? Digits poised over LMB and screenshot key? Let’s slo-mo room breach!

#696.I’m not a fascist, I’m a priest. Fascists dress in black and go around telling people what to do, whereas… priests...” Father Ted Crilly, 1997

#1860. We meet at last. The Polish-made Błyskawica sub machinegun. I was wondering if/when I’d get my paws on one of these.

#4272. An extra difficulty tier wouldn’t have gone amiss. Even on ‘expert’, Mr. Hawkins can survive half a dozen hits.

#2330. ”So, Heinz, what was it you wanted to see me about?” “Please don’t take this the wrong way Sir, but I’ve got some concerns about base security. There are massive gaps in our perimeter patrols, we’ve got open ammo boxes scattered all over the place, and that Opel Blitz with the dodgy handbrake – the one full of explosives – is still parked up there on the hill.”

#1448. The ‘GO THIS WAY!’ arrow that’s always hovering somewhere on the screen is an intelligence-mocking mosquito. If I need directions I’ll consult the map, thank you.

#2666. Should I admit to enjoying the Sniper Elite-style slo-mo bullet sequences or pretend to find them utterly distasteful?

#2671. I wonder if Little Jacob will show up at some point.

#4008.  (Sadly, he doesn’t)

#2410. Halfway through and I’ve yet to encounter any exasperating time limits, obstructive comrades or stereotypically feeble females. Good work, CI!

#1887. Note to self. Next time you blunder into a room full of hostiles, and, in a panic, unload an entire SMG clip from the hip, don’t be surprised if your slugs hit everything but their intended targets. When it comes to material penetration, Enemy Front’s bullet simulation leaves a lot to be desired, but the game does model dispersal fairly convincingly.

#3353. Or… Press S to shave the hostage. Press D to darn gloves.

#1505. An accurately modelled MG 42 reload animation! Have a Flare Path flair point CI.

#2891. Gosh, that torpedo slinging section was god-awful. I hope there’s no more of that sort of thing.

#4650. (Happily, there wasn’t)

#3801. Polish venues – especially the cathedral that linchpins several missions – look great. In the French and German levels however, architecture and flora can feel a tad generic.

#3752. Given the focus on The Warsaw Uprising, it’s a shame we didn’t get a Polish protagonist rather than yet another American. At the very least Mr. War-Correspondent-Turned-Warrior should have been a Brit.

#2719. Some say the biggest Axis blunder of the war was the delayed start of Operation Barbarossa. Others claim it was the failure to coup de grace the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. Personally, I reckon the German habit of leaving explosive barrels around their factories and bases was a major factor in their defeat.

#1276. Ah! Playing on ‘expert’ difficulty eliminates those surprise-spoiling enemy markers on the HUD map. I’m no longer reacting to radar blips rather than bobbing coal scuttle helmets.

#4086. Either this mission commences in a pitch black cellar or I’ve encountered that annoying loading bug again.

#1856. Hmm. I think that stormtrooper may have just stormtrooped through a closed door.

#4102. Well, that was a thoroughly enjoyable romp. According to the Steam stats 10 hours have passed since I culled my first Nazi. It probably would have been nearer 20 with a stalkier/stabbier approach.

#4105. I wonder if anyone will notice if I fail to mention multiplayer. I can’t seem to join any games at present, and by all accounts, the trio of modes are remarkably unremarkable.

#4339. Would I buy a sequel focussed on Robert’s Spanish Civil War experiences? I think so.

#4340. Would I buy a sequel focussed on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? In a heartbeat.

#4556. Would I buy a sequel crawling with Nazombies? I think not.

#4645. Like the Schmeissers that litter its levels, Enemy Front is simple… noisy… good at what it does.

#4651. It’s a cult Seventies war movie starring Clint Eastwood, Roger Moore, and Daniel Olbrychski.

#4652. It’s a Commando comic full of Himmels, Mein Gotts, and RAT-TAT-TAT.

#4654. It’s Call of Duty back when Infinity Ward still had a passing interest in history and singleplayer satisfaction.

#4660. The worst aspect of Enemy Front? Almost certainly the title.

#4670. I wonder if there’s a subtitled version of Kanał on YouTube.

#4671. Splendid! There is.

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43 Comments »

  1. altum videtur says:

    Yes but can you run around at 70 kilometers per hour or beat people to death with a saucepan?

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      Colonel J says:

      If not here, then where can I do that please?

      • kincajou says:

        Not a first person shooter but Hotline Miami covers both of those points surprisingly well, as for FPS…. i’ll pass onto someone else to answer,it’s not a genre i particularly enjoy

        • Neurotic says:

          Dude, you need to stretch that last sentence out a bit – it just ends after the comma. Really, if you’re going to spam the Internet, at least check your text before you paste it everywhere. :/

      • Boothie says:

        TF2

      • neckro23 says:

        Left 4 Dead 2. The zombies are technically people.

  2. GameCat says:

    “The numbers, Mason! What do they mean?”

    Shit, wrong game.

    Anyway, please, please, please, give me more WWII games.

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      LegendaryTeeth says:

      Never thought I’d hear anyone say THAT ever again.

      • 12inchPlasticToy says:

        I reckon we will have gone the full cycle only once people start requesting for Pong 2.

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        lurkalisk says:

        Compared to the throbbing mass that is the beardy-GOGOGOBREACH sort of modern shooters, GameCat’s words are refreshing.

      • Moose Malloy says:

        I remember when there were no WWII games. And then there was Hidden & Dangerous, and it was GREAT! Buggy as hell, but still the finest representation of Heroes of Telemark / Where Eagles Dare style small-squad commando ops. Enormous fun.

  3. El Spidro says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect this to be much more than a generic throwback to the early Medal of Duty games, but it seems like there is more substance than first I thought.

  4. nothingfaced says:

    I’m about 1/2 way through and it’s an ok game once you go through the usual dance of setting the FOV and graphics options in the config.

    I find the actors floaty movement a little odd like a hovercraft; he’s floating a few inches above the ground and slides to a gentle halt.

    Plus the sound is messed up, guns sound particularly weedy. But still, its a happy wee romp.

  5. Paul says:

    Sorry but is it good or not ?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, the number at the bottom of the article is 4671, so it is approximately 47 times better than Half-Life 2.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Well written, but I’m not sure if Tim’s opinion on an FPS game is trustworthy.

      • toxic avenger says:

        …why is that? Cuz he disagrees with you?

        • Neurotic says:

          What he means is, is that although Tim is a legendary history nerd, his more usual gaming fare are sims and strategy games. Whereas the opinion of the man Rossignol would also be good here, because he’s a well-known shooter fan.

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            Henke says:

            He played through this thing on the highest difficulty! I’m sure he knows his way around FPSs. Anyway, very informative write-up.

          • Neurotic says:

            Yeah, I’m sold. Well, anything Stone says is good, I usually end up trying and enjoying.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    I approve of this review.

  7. Warlokk says:

    Haven’t decided if I’m going to pick this up or not… seems exactly my thing, I love WWII games in general and wasn’t nearly tired of them when everyone else was. However the reports of extreme bug infestation and horrendously brain-dead AI have kept me from pulling the trigger.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      Same here on all accounts. Plus I’ll inevitably want to play multiplayer, and it sounds like the servers are mostly dead.

  8. derbefrier says:

    RE: #1690 so you aint no goddamn son of a bitch?

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      Monkeyshines says:

      To make a comment like that, you must have read this feature with some jaded eyes.

      • Angrydave89 says:

        Question is, is that 20 jaded eyes? Aha, you better think about it baby.

        • nearly says:

          I feel like a misfit for thinking pun threads are horrible

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            cpt_freakout says:

            In contrast, I never understand them so I feel a little alien, like… like… a teenager from mars

  9. Gilead says:

    This reminds me a bit of the early 2004-2005 era Call of Duties. It’s kind of depressing that those are about ten years old and if anything these kind of games have gotten worse.

  10. Cortes says:

    Honestly I finish the campaign and I think Enemy Front is worth to buy. I don’t regret buying this game. Singleplayer is very nice with interesting mission which we can choose before start. Weapon is very good reproduced. Maybe AI and graphics can be better but now when I play on multi with another players this is doesn’t matter. I recommend this game all which loves WWII shooter games.

  11. gabrielonuris says:

    This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read so far!!

  12. Alfy says:

    Fun review, and it’s been a while since I played a good WWII FPS. To the Batmobile!!! I mean… To the Steam shop!!!

  13. Neurotic says:

    As a Brit living in Kraków now for 14 years, with a Polish step-father, a Polish wife and two half-Polish kids, I wholly approve of this game! (As do my mates down here in the gród Wawelski!)

  14. Michael Fogg says:

    City Interactive has been known to attempt to exploit patriotic sentiments of Poles with some shovelware quality titles based around historical tropes. It looks like this time they actually put the resources for a quasi-AAA experience.

  15. JFS says:

    Why is everyone wearing Swastika armbands? I thought this was historical? Or is it some sort of fantasy-Wolfensteiny-Warsaw Uprising? How tasteful.

  16. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    Hang on, did he just mention Where Eagles Dare in a game review? My interest is piqued!

    • Richard Burton says:

      Broadsword calling Danny Boy… Broadsword calling Danny Boy…

  17. Cortes says:

    I agree CI Games do very good game and I have a lot of good fun play on it. I think CI Games want to do something with unique subject. I don’t remember is another game during WWII about Warsaw Uprising. I’m happy because WWII shooter game come back:)

  18. Eggman says:

    Unfortunately it seems publishers and most devs believe a game must have an American protagonist to attract North Am gamers, while the EU PC market doesn’t care who their protag is. (Latter is true.)
    I’d think Stalker, Metro games have proven that American gamers can warm to foreign protags.