Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Hands-On

Nearly eight months after the PC release, Underground Studios and Splash Damage are set to release Enemy Territory: Quake Wars on the PlayStation 3 late next month. After a full day at Activision’s press event on Tuesday, PSU received hands on with both the versions of the title, going in excited, coming out disappointed.

First things first, Activision has given an official release date of May 27 in North America, with Korean and European versions to ship shortly after. Studio CTO at Underground Development Bill Chin said, “You can expect Korean and European versions to ship within a few weeks after the U.S. release, with Japan probably being the last [to receive the game].

For those not familiar with Enemy Territory, the game is an objective based team multiplayer, pitting humans versus an alien race known as the Strogg. The title features a single player campaign were players must follow a list of objectives moving from one area to another and destroying hordes of enemy bots. Then on the multiplayer side of things, players can fight online via PlayStation Network, or through LAN with up to 16 players.

Compared to the PC version, multiplayer is nearly the same, featuring all the same maps, weapons, and vehicles. Gamers picking up the PS3 version will see a few new features including VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and a custom class/weapon selection menu.

“We are using 4 SPU’s on the PS3 to run Enemy Territory, 1 of which is for the VOIP system,” said Chin. “We are also utilizing the PS3’s hard drive [4.1GB mandatory install] for virtual memory to help in load times and Megatextues.”

The controls in Enemy Territory are well mapped to the PS3 controller utilizing every button on the controller as well as making use of the DualShock 3 and SIXAXIS functions. The controls when on foot were very responsive, however the GDF Husky (Quad ATV) felt a little off and on, going from power handling to nearly no control.

Looking for another title to add to the “PS3 version gets gimped” list? One of the first things we noticed going from playing the Xbox 360 version to the near complete PS3 version was the graphical quality. The draw distances are impressive and the vehicle cockpit modeling in the PS3 version is great. However while the Xbox 360 version sports smooth character models and high quality textures on environments and vehicles, its PS3 counterpart was decidedly lacking in this area, consisting of low-res textures, jaggies, texture popping, frame-rate issues, clipping and one of the worst sniper rifle bugs ever.

Below is an image of what happens when players use the Covert Ops class equipped with the sniper rifle. When using the zoom, it seems as though the game forgets to remap the higher resolution textures on the enemies and objects. After the event, we were told that Underground Studios is still tweaking the sniper rifle, but there probably won’t be much of an improvement.

Despite these graphical discrepancies, the overall core gameplay still provides a great experience. Gamers will find that the A.I. difficulty is scaled perfectly to fit player skill. There is also an available option to turn off bot AI in completing the missions, so for those wanting to be a hero can complete the campaign themselves.

The missions are set up so that teams must use specific character classes to complete objectives. For example, one objective may be to blow up an enemy wall and to do so requires the skill of a soldier (since they can plant dynamite). Most of the missions include at least 3 objectives, each pertaining to specific classes.

From what we played, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PS3) ultimately falls short of expectations, showcasing the same broke visuals we have become accustomed to in deprived PS3 ports, delivering an unpolished experience.