For years I have been a fan of the Quake series and not regretfully I wasted away countless hours in Quake III: Rocket Arena. That said, I did find Quake 4 to be somewhat disappointing. Games like Quake 4 can easily become a let down when so much is expected of them. In this particular case, while the game did provide me with enough hours of enjoyment to make it worthwhile, there was definitely something missing.
Just recently id Software released the demo of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (ETQW), a game that I have been eagerly awaiting for some time now. While Enemy Territory is a first person shooter, it is unlike previous Quake games as there is no deathmatch mode. Rather the game requires a larger number of players to take one of two sides where these sides will compete to accomplish certain objectives. Essentially what we have here is Battlefield 2 put in Quake's world, so anyone familiar with the BF2 style of play will pick up ETQW very quickly.
I still remember when the Battlefield 2 demo was first released (November 28th 2005, to be exact) because it got me completely hooked from the get go. This game was heaps of fun though the exciting play was undone somewhat by the title's poor stability. So when news broke of an id Software version I began to get quite excited again. Although it is hard to fully evaluate the game on what I have seen so far, the demo has failed to impress me which is exactly what the Battlefield 2 demo achieved back in the day.
We can already tell that the second half of 2007 is going to be a great time to be a PC gamer, with many triple-A titles released recently and more still on the way. However that also makes it difficult for a good game to stand out amongst the really great ones. Again, while my time playing the Quake Wars demo has been brief, there appears to be little wow factor so far. Having come from Bioshock and then Medal of Honor: Airborne (which completely blew me away), Enemy Territory: Quake Wars seems somewhat bland thus far.
While these other recently released titles are based on the visually stunning Unreal 3 engine, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is built around a modified version of the id Tech 4 (Doom 3) engine with MegaTexture technology. Sure, it still looks very nice but when compared to the games built on the Unreal 3 engine there is little comparison to be made, at least in my opinion.
If you still want to look at the bright side, unlike Bioshock and MoH: Airborne, Enemy Territory is by far a more system friendly title, as you are about to find out.
Taking the newly released Enemy Territory: Quake Wars demo, we have ran a number of tests to determine what kind of hardware you need to enjoy this game with all the eye candy turned on. The game has been optimized rather well and we found it to be quite playable with a mid-range GeForce 8600 GT board using all the high quality settings. We also discovered that this game is not nearly as GPU-dependant as most other FPS titles. Rather, the processor has proven to play a most vital role when it comes to performance, which will help justify those overclocking ventures.
Interestingly the single player mode is limited to just 30fps in the demo, while multiplayer is limited to 60fps. This is a little strange. I can understand the online multiplayer being limited to 60fps, but I have no idea about the single player. And while this limitation can be removed in the game console, there is no other easy way do it.
For benchmarking we used the game's built-in timedemo rather than fraps. This was done by recording our own five minute demo in spectator mode, as we watched the 16 bots fight to complete the objectives.