The Strogg are coming and they want you to join them. Not necessarily, all of you though, maybe just your spleen, brain and a limb or two.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is a prequel to the bloody saga seen in Quake II and IV. Playing as either the Strogg or the human Global Defence Force, you have to complete very specific mission objectives which change from map to map. And whether you can achieve your goals will depend entirely on selecting the right character class for the job.
It's Battlefield 2 with a flavour that only id Software could add, namely brilliant sci-fi weapons and game play so blisteringly fast that you hardly have time to blink. Admittedly our first few games felt a little strange, simply because we're so used to playing Quake in claustrophobic indoor arenas. It also surprised us to be battling the futuristic Strogg with such conventional weaponry - tanks, quad bikes and helicopters that wouldn't be out of place in COD4.
Steve Nix, Director of Business Development at id describes it as one of the few team-based to offer 'asymmetric' forces. "The classes on each side have subtle differences and the vehicles are substantially different," he says, "no matter what kind of gamer you are, you can find something that's fun. If you're not a twitch player you can play the engineer class, repairing things or setting landmines. On the other hand you can be a medic and go around healing your team-mates."
With support for just 16 players, you might have thought it would feel a little empty, but not so. As Designer Greg Stone explains, "there's such a focus point of attack on each level (the objective points) that you'll find it feels really crowded and like an actual battle because everyone is in a centralised location."
Frontlines and Battlefield 2 greatly benefited from their publishers running dedicated servers, with lag free games and a greater number of players. Quake Wars won't have this option, but at least there's an intelligent system where the player with the best connection automatically becomes the host.
So long as the game keeps fast and flowing, it's going to be one to watch this Summer. If you're already in a clan it might be worth recruiting now, the battle for Xbox Live supremacy starts here.