If you criticise a game for what it isn’t, as opposed to what it is, you are a fucking lunatic. Unless what it isn’t is good. That’s a fair call, and you should then probably back up that opinion with arguements highlighting what that game is that makes it shit. Like if I say Tekken is shit because it’s not Virtua Fighter, then I’m being an idiot. If I say Tekken is shit because it has a terrible defensive game that consists almost solely of spacing and there are too many characters whose animations and striking heights have to be learned before you can play as the game intends then that’s a fair call. But I can’t criticise it for what it isn’t.
Civilisation Revolution isn’t Civ 4. But nobody intelligent is going to argue that that makes it a poorer game. Civ Rev has different objectives and so some choices are made in favour of achieving its objectives. I’ve only played the demo thus far but as far as I can tell it’s fucking brilliant. I’m not crying over not being able to choose the size of map or the automatic road building because I don’t want it to be Civ 4.
Enemy Territory Quake Wars on the 360 isn’t the PC version. I don’t want it to be. I have the PC version, thanks. It doesn’t work anymore. Fucking PCs can fucking fuck off. The 360 does work, though. And that’s where all my friends are, so that works for me. No proper single player campaign with story and all that also works for me - I don’t need any of that shit. I’m not looking for it, and ETQW doesn’t pretend to offer it to me in a shit form. ETQW sets out to do one thing, and one thing alone - bring to life a chaotic battlefield where different styles of play can work together towards a common goal, to either defend objectives or attack objectives. It’s definitely not something that’s new to videogames but that doesn’t mean I need it to be either like or unlike those that have come before it. I just need it to be good. I’m not going to use the PC version as the starting point for determining if it’s good or not, because if you have the PC version you are not a likely customer here. I’m going to take all other games ever as my starting point.
Enemy Territory Quake Wars is fucking brilliant.
There’s not many things as brilliant as taking out five guys and an anti-vehicle turret with one well-timed hammerstrike while screaming BRING THE RAIN down your headset, but I’ll try to come up with some anyway. How about if you leave your third-person camera by a doorway and then run around the corner and wait for enemies to run by before blowing them the shit up? That’s pretty good, but maybe not as good. Stealing an enemy’s uniform and then running around behind them and stabbing them in the back is also pretty good, but not as good as the hammer strike. Assuming control of a two-legged robot walker packed with GUNS and then tearing across an entire level supported by a team of engineers like some sort of unstoppable behemoth of death and destruction is also pretty good, but again doesn’t Bring The Rain.
The best thing for me about Enemy Territory Quake Wars is that it’s finally the first game to realise the dream of Chaotic Battlefield FPS on consoles in any sort of succesful way. Battlefield 360 or whatever it was called had different classes and two teams playing against each other, sure, but thanks to the stupid scoring system and achievements it didn’t feel anything like a battlefield. Everyone had their own objectives and it felt more like a free for all rather than two teams working against one another. ETQW’s system makes you feel like part of a team whose sole purpose is to defeat the other team.
The character classes are ace. The GDF and the Strogg are not identical by any means, but I’m enjoying playing around with both and figuring out what works for which side. I might be able to make a call on if they’re balanced in about a year. The maps are also brilliant, as is the option to play with bots. The bots do not play like humans, obviously, but if you’re going to tell me you expect them too, I’d like to know why and then shit in your mouth. No game on the planet has yet created convincing AI so I’m happy just to have dudes that run roughly to objectives and can shoot and take cover. Also, I can order them about anyway, so that works for me. And definitely, DEFINITELY I’d rather have stupid bots than teenagers from the states.
I am not sure about the stick mapping. I’m not a huge fan of exaggerating the effect the further a stick is pushed. I mean, I know you need that a little bit, but you need to get the curve right. I get the impression ETQW would like for me to be able to aim precisely in front of me but also turn around and face behind me at the drop of a hat. I don’t think it has really succeeded. Certainly in the turning around part, but not so much in the precise aiming part. I could be wrong, though, I’m not a huge FPS player, but I think I’ve played enough Halo and Call of Duty to have a handle on what works and what doesn’t. I think ETQW knows it, though, because it has a sort of auto-aim. It doesn’t always work so well, but it’s reasonable. I need to mess around with it more, I think, but in principle I’m for it. That’s because I think the fun in ETQW is not from being the person who can aim the most precisely so much as playing your role well. It evens the playing field somewhat and prioritises tactics above technical ability and that’s a good thing in my books. It also means they can up movement speed without targetting becoming uncomfortable at close range, which in turn means larger maps are managable. Which again suits the battlefield experience and allows each class space to play.
I’m not sure about the experience thing either. It doesn’t quite make sense to me, though I can appreciate that it creates a cohesion of play over several maps. So I’m down for it for now, but I might change later. Either way, it doesn’t change the fundamental experience of BRINGING THE RAIN too much, so let’s not dwell on it.
So the vehicles are good, the weapons are good, the maps are good, the bots are good and the overall sensation of being in a battlefield is excellent. How can you not love this game? It’s not Quake, no. Nor is it ETQW the PC version. Nor is it Halo or Call of Duty. But it’s still fucking brilliant.
0/10 - for not being Virtua Fighter.