Will Quake Wars sell? With Halo 3 already in people's grasp when the game releases, it's possible that it'll be ignored, which is too bad - because it's such a blast to play.

Anyone who's played the free Enemy Territory game that Splash Damage put out a while back knows what they're in for with Quake Wars: a butter-smooth online FPS (first-person shooter) experience with finely balanced gameplay.

Each side - the Strogg and the human GDF - has access to five different character classes: the soldier, the medic, the engineer, the scout and the sniper. All of the classes fulfill specific roles and you need a good mix on the battlefield to be successful. Some classes are more important than others, though, and the game helpfully identifies what it feels to be the key class for each specific map.

A variety of vehicles also adds to the carnage. Each side has access to small, speedy craft and large, hulking battle machines; things get pretty hairy on the battlefield when all of the vehicles come into play at once. One down side is that you can't use an opponent's vehicle.

You gain experience for everything from killing an enemy to using your class-specific skills. Once you gain enough, you earn rewards in the form of combat bonuses, such as increased sprinting speed and flak jackets, which is a nice touch.

The matches I participated in boiled down to one team defending critical objectives from the other side's assault. The objectives stack neatly on top of each other - accomplish objective A to gain access to B, which opens up C and so forth - and this creates constantly shifting combat zones as one team gains ground on the other.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP 2800+processor (3.0GHz Pentium 4 for Windows Vista)
  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM (768MB for Vista)
  • 128MB nVidia Geforce 5700 or ATI Radeon 9700 video card
  • DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
  • 750MB hard drive space (plus 200MB for Windows swap file)
  • 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP 2800+processor (3.0GHz Pentium 4 for Windows Vista)
  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM (768MB for Vista)
  • 128MB nVidia Geforce 5700 or ATI Radeon 9700 video card
  • DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
  • 750MB hard drive space (plus 200MB for Windows swap file)

OUR VERDICT

Splash Damage has done a bang-up job of crafting a fun and addictive team-based FPS experience. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface and can't wait to dig deeper into what the game truly has to offer. I hope lots of players buy the game and hop online, if only so I can be guaranteed a steady stream of opponents to play against. First-time players may feel discouraged, but hardcore gamers will love this.

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