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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quake (Office) Wars: Initial Impressions

I noticed a pile of new graphics card boxes sitting in a cube at work adorned with a sticker saying they included a free copy of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. I asked the IT guys if that meant they had a few copies hanging around that noone wanted and sure enough, they did.

Turns out to be a pretty good game. It's a lot like Battlefield and certainly draws a lot of "inspiration" from the Battlefield line. I've only been playing it at lunchtimes at work since my free time is nil at the moment, but it's well suited for that.

Here's the "lunchtime game" assessment.

Pros:
1) You only need 1 install disk for a LAN game (although we have several).
2) The bot support is decent and certainly playable.
3) The games are capped at 20 minutes for a map, so you can get in a game without manager-types getting all upset (however, campaign mode is more like an hour).
4) Due to (2), you can play a game with only a few people - with, say, Team Fortress 2, you'd need a bunch of people for a reasonable game.

Cons:
1) Learning curve is a little rough. There's no in-game tutorial at all, so it just drops you in and slaps you on the back. I could give you a (lengthy) list of all the stuff you need to know, or you could just go watch GreasedScotsman's excellent tutorial video series. However, the videos are pretty long, so if you'd rather read something on the subject this is the pretty much definitive source.
2) You will need bots to play unless you are playing on a pub Internet server or have a lot of friends (at least 5-8+ per side).

As for the actual game itself, well, it's good. I like it more than BF2142, which is the most recent Battlefield game I've played. The games progress in a series of objectives rather than just capture points, with different classes having useful inputs at each stage, which helps to concentrate both sides on single areas at a time. Deployable buildings add tactical depth and varies the gameplay from round to round. Dropping an artillery gun and then sighting it in with the Field Ops laser sight was particularly satisfying.

I suspect that playing it online won't be as fun for me just because I don't have time to get actually good at it and historically the Battlefield games have been rough going for me. I tend to die from sniper shots across the landscape and not even really know what killed me, which isn't terribly exciting. But playing with people in the same skill ballpark was enjoyable.

As for criticisms, I think my main issue would be that the sides could be more asymmetric. While there are definitely differences between the Strogg and GDF, predominantly the classes have the same abilities with different flavours. It seems technically well executed.

One final note: if you have multiple monitors and a NVidia card, your framerate may well be terrible. If you have this issue, you'll want to tweak the driver.

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