I downloaded the demo of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars last night. Melmoth had been talking about the beta, and then some random newsletter turned up with a link to the recently-released demo, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
There’s… a lot going on! I’ve been out of the loop of online FPS games since Unreal Tournament 2004, never played much Counterstrike, and more pertinently for Quake Wars never got into any of the class-based team games like the Battlefield series. Starting off with a nice gentle offline warm-up against Easy bots (ha! Easy bots, they can barely walk and chew gum, let alone walk and shoot you through the head at 800 yards then send you an insulting message), obviously I’d dominate the battlefield, but it’d be a nice, simple introduction.
Parachuting down is a nice, relaxing way to start things off, our home base looks familiar enough, there’s a few vehicles around, I’ll just hop in one… as soon as I find the right key… there we go! Follow my bot team-mates, I’m not really sure what we should be doing, and then there’s SHOOTING AND EXPLOSIONS AND I’M DEAD ARGH and parachuting again and MORE SHOOTING AND EXPLOSIONS and I can deploy stuff or is it hack stuff or ARGH I’M DEAD AND parachuting and I’ve got grenades and binoculars and airstrikes and a targeting device which doesn’t seem to target and something’s happening with a bridge and wahey! I shot a Strogg! And I’ve been promoted ARGH I’M DEAD and the bridge is repaired by someone (I don’t think it was me, but it might have been while I was trying to tie my shoelaces up) and there’s an MCP and artillery barrages and an airstrike and “press m for mission” is flashing somewhere and ARGH I’M DEAD.
Some tutorials can be a drag (“Now walk forwards! Can you walk forwards? Try pressing the ‘W’ key! That’s it! Well done you! Now walk forwards some more… NO! THAT’S TURNING LEFT! BAD PLAYER, WE HAVEN’T GOT TO THE TURNING LEFT LESSON YET!”), but I think there’s a bit of room in Quake Wars to not just chuck you straight into a fight… Still, it’s only the demo, and after a couple of rounds and a fair amount of ARGH I’M DEAD, I got a bit more of a handle on it all, and even managed as a Support Engineer Type Class That I Can’t Remember The Exact Name Of (But Not The Actual “Engineer”) to deploy an artillery turrent, and call in a barrage from it (after standing within the white outline of an artillery turret going “eh, what use is this?”, and dying when the *actual* artillery turret was para-dropped on my head).
The supplied map plays quite similarly to an Unreal Tournament “Assault” game-type, a sequence of objectives that one team tries to achieve, while the other team tries to stop them. It’s certainly piqued my interest, and after a bit more practise I’ll give it a try online so I can spend even more time looking at the “17 seconds to respawn” screen.