Enemy Front – E3 Preview
A first-person, World War II shooter, where you’re a lone solider behind enemy lines. This sounds like a new and exciting concept, or at least it would be in upside-down land. While I expect many people will be quick to judge this as just another World War II shooter, Enemy Front has its sights set on a totally different target and although the industry in general appears to have had enough of shooters in this era I, personally, have not. This was what I lived on, growing up, and a return to this period in history is something that I’ve hoped would happen for some time.
Set in various locations behind enemy lines, you take on the role of a lone solider, who’s only aim is to punch through the German war machine like a rhino in a greenhouse. The campaign will take place over several years and while you are very much alone, there are contacts that will aid you along the way. For the most part, however, it is you against the world.
The demo that I sat down with took place in France, early on in the campaign. The game runs on CryEngine 3 and already looks very promising; character models in particular look well detailed, all appear to react differently to being shot, depending on where they’re hit. Environments look lush and vibrant and the forest setting, where the demo took place, certainly had a European feel to it, with open spaces and quaint little farm houses.
Enemy Front may be based on an overused area of the genre but it’s certainly attempting to put its own style into that area. The look and feel, replicates such films as Inglourious Basterds and Where Eagles Dare and it has a slightly eccentric, over-the-top feel to it. The heads up display looks chunky and cool, invading the right hand side of the screen but in a positive way. Health appears to regenerate but won’t on higher difficulties. You also have a stamina and ammo bar, with all three surrounded by a giant compass.
The combat for Enemy Front feels like a throwback to the games of the late nineties. One man, plenty of weapons, maximum destruction. A weapon runs out of ammo? Pick up another. You don’t press a button to intimately feel up the nearest wall, you throw yourself behind it. If vehicles show up, you don’t have a conveniently placed arrow directing you to the nearest rocket launcher or heavy gun. You’ve actually got to find something to kill this thing with and in this particular demo, the developer used some grenades to blow up a couple of half-tracks. This seemed a little odd considering a hand grenade could penetrate the armour of a troop carrier yet it does actually compliment the slightly eccentric nature of the game, but there will have to be some consideration to maintain a balance.
During the demo, the developer announced there would be over twenty-five weapons and drivable vehicles. All the weapons will be based on World War II technology but will be presented in a slightly over-the-top manner. The main weapon of choice was the classic Sten gun and, although people familiar with the genre will know what one looks like, it has an excellent retro feel to it, with its large bulky clip taking up a sizeable chunk of the screen. During the presentation I saw other weapons including a MP40, a MG42 and throwing knives.
Considering that you’re this lone solider, it doesn’t always pay to get involved in every fight you can. As we approached a farm house, a trio of patrolling German soldiers approached our position and, although it took a few minutes, we managed to hide behind a nearby tree and time the movements to circumvent their patrol route. The use of throwing knives for silent take-downs is also an option but sometimes it is better to avoid them all together.
The demo came to a close as quickly as it had started and I was left with a hopeful, yet concerned, feeling. There was plenty of promise in what I was shown and there is still time for the game to be polished further. As I’ve already discussed, I’m more than happy for a return to this time period but is there any room for another shooter in this market? Is this game doing enough to justify investing in a new series? I can’t say for certain at the moment, but I can safely say its worth keeping an eye on.
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