If you follow the industry at all, it’s no secret that this has been the year of the first-person shooter. The list is long and features some great entries into both off and online play, but fans of multiplayer have been the biggest winners.
As noted in my Christmas loot post, I received Enemy Territory: Quake Wars as one of my gifts and I’ve dumped a whole lot of time into it already. It’s actually right next to Team Fortress 2 among the best games I’ve played this year. The game is so much deeper than any other multiplayer online game I’ve played other than the original Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. As Tom Chick sometimes notes about real-time strategy games that appeal to the hardest of the hardcore in their particular genre, Quake Wars is the genre wonk’s first-person shooter.
In the span of one map you’ll shift from defense roles to attack roles and everything in between. Sometimes you’re playing a variation of capture the flag while at others you’re in what amounts to deathmatch on a massive scale. It’s an impressive conglomeration of play styles that requires you to always be on your toes and paying attention to the current objective.
I think it does help to have a soft spot for Quake 2 or 4’s Strogg. When you play their side, a little bit of Quake history goes a long way. I was in heaven when I was able to equip myself with a hyperblaster, but everyone might not be as excited about that as me. Still, if you have any interest in the Quake universe, this is a superb game that I think any fan of the teamplay online first-person shooter needs to play. It takes a game or two to grasp all that’s going on, but once you do, you’ll find your mind racing with tactical possibilities while still enjoying some of the best point and shoot gameplay around.
Oh yeah, the vehicles are a hell of a lot of fun, too.