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     " All in all, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars really is one of the better team-based games that have come out in the last many years. "

      Title: Enemy Territories: Quake Wars by Activision

      Format: PC Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters

      The Hype: Billed as a psudo-sequel to 2003's Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Quake Wars is an objective-based large scale shooter set in the Quake 4 universe. But is it something worth checking out or just another branded Battlefield knock off? Read on, my monkeys, and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Though Quake Wars is a decidedly good-looking game, you won't be comparing it graphically to any of the current heavyweights on the market. Its environments are decent, and its effects are solid, but everything from its details to its models really do lack when stacked up against any of the current crop of games you'll find on the shelves beside it. That said, most of those other games don't look that good sporting 24 players at once and running on the vast array of machines, including those with two or three generation-old video cards, like Quake Wars does. 4 out of 5

      Playability: At first glance you will want to think that Quake Wars (QW) is really just another Battlefield clone, but nothing could be further from the truth. Though, yes, it does use a class based, vehicle rich environment for gameplay, everything from how the classes behave to the way objectives are completed really are considerably different.
          Starting with the objectives, QW forgoes the usual control-point model in exchange for a rather clever, and generally well balanced, linear assault format similar to that of games like Unreal Tournament 2004. These typically boil down to straight forward attack and defend concepts, where one team must access and accomplish a mission goal (such as hacking a shield generator), but also can include progressive objectives like moving a mobile command vehicle from point to point. And while these objectives do become a bit repetitive after a while, they work marvelously in doing two things: focusing the action, since everyone will likely be congregating at the objective points, and encouraging class diversity, since most objectives can only be accomplished by specific classes.
          Which segues us nincely into talking about the classes, unquestionably one of Quake Wars most impressive features. Featuring 5 different classes from each of the two teams, what really makes QW entertaining is that each of the classes is actually fun to play. Let me repeat that, because it's such a novel concept. Each of the classes, on both teams, is actually entertaining. Part of this lies in decently balanced weapons, since even the basic assault rifle is functional and easy to get kills with, part of it is because of the legitimately useful perks each class gets, and part of it is because there are objectives that require almost every class to complete. The sniper class is also a hacker, so you need them to access enemy computers. The basic soldier has a ton of weapons to choose from and is also the demo guy, so you need them to blow up objectives. The medic can call in weapons support and is critical in reviving teammates and saving you from not only horribly long spawn times but also serious treks back to the objective. Even the engineer, often maligned in other games, is a hoot since they are required to perform at least one objective on each map, can repair vehicles, and most importantly build defensive turrets that will mow down enemies like crab-grass. Plus, all this is further enhanced by an experience system that unlocks bonuses and new weapons when playing in 3-match campaigns.
          But all of that wouldn't mean squat if the engine itself wasn't up to snuff and, thankfully, it is. Using a dynamic damage system that scales the effectiveness for head, chest, torso, and leg shots, QW is one of the more fun and functional team games out there. Even though a good player can hold a line by themselves for a bit, and can be brutal as part of a squad, a horde of noobs will still manage to get the job done if they stick together and work as a team. Even the vehicles tend to be decently balanced, although what vehicles are available at what points on a mission occasionally is not.
          And speaking of the imbalanced, there are a few things in QW that will piss you off, and often for reasons that you won't understand. There's a number of things that the developers seemed to have either forgot, such as an in-game voice chat system, or short-cutted, such as requiring the same keyboard key to be bound to functions for both vehicle and infantry use. There is also a real glaring flaw in the respawn system, which uses a repeating next-wave cycle that requires you to sit through the entire count-down again if you happen to miss readying up by the time your current count-down times out.
          Also minor, but worth noting, is the game's steep learning curve...which will unquestionably cause you an hour of grief and frustration before you figure out what the hell you're doing. But these issues are minor compared to an otherwise solid gaming experience. 4 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Though QW features a "campaign" mode, it is really just a string of objective maps with no real story to connect them. Hardly the script-driven story you'd hope for. No Score.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: In terms of multiplayer, Quake Wars officially supports up to 32 players, though we have yet to find an internet server that allows more than 24, and allows bots as both adversaries and teammates. Since the game runs on a variety of systems, rather than just the top of the line, it is highly accessible and you shouldn't have trouble finding a good game on line.
          That said, one of the glaring flaws is the lack of player hosting on a LAN--and since that's so ridiculous, I'm going to repeat it. LAN games can be played with DEDICATED SERVERS ONLY. We were so shocked we actually spent a full hour on the web looking for confirmation. Another major issue is the absolutely abysmal server interface--one of the worst we've seen since the old command line servers of the late 80s--that will likely make you test and then crash your game three or four times before you manage to get the configuration the way you want it.
          As for replayability, the presence of bots, and two armies with opposite objectives, gives the game some freshness even after you've gotten sick of being Powned by hard-core gamers with nothing better to do than kick your arse. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars really is one of the better team-based games that have come out in the last many years. A good engine and decent graphics make it fun to play, while it's solid classes and linear objectives keep people in the fight.

      The Good: Wonderfully balanced classes, cool objective-based play, bots, and runs great on a wide assortment of systems.

      The Bad: No voice support, horrible spawn system, and the worst server design we've seen in a decade.

      The Overall Ugly: Lots of fun for those who like big multiplayer games.

      What it's Worth: Market.

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