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Wot I Think: Enemy Front

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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