Shooters, like em or dislike em, are probably the most straightforward gameplay wise in the current market. However, straightforward does not mean easy to make. Even if you hate slick games like Call of Duty’s and Battlefield’s, you can’t deny that there is a certain level of polish behind them. Then, on the other hand you’ve got games like the recent Wolfenstein: The New Order that with its level of gunplay reminds you why the fps genre is so popular. Enemy Front unfortunately does neither.
Enemy Front follows the story of Hawkins, a journalist who is trying to tell the common people’s tales that are stuck in this seemingly endless war. He not only goes through the events he witnesses in Warsaw Poland fighting hand in hand with the rebels, but also takes the player through a journey of his past career via flashbacks.
Now, the game puts a lot of emphasis on its storyline, especially seeing how it is very much inspired by various real events. Unfortunately, it lacks any punch. From the opening monologue, it seems as if we are in for an entertaining treat, but as the game gets going, you start to witness bad animation and uninspired voice acting into the mix. The story doesn’t really go anywhere unfortunately. They could’ve done so much better seeing how we have such a wealth of historic accounts available. They really could’ve picked any one of them to build up on.
The gameplay is typical City Interactive fare, where the shooting feels responsive and fun but the overall set-up and AI is lacking and monotonous. The game encourages you to go the stealth route, which would have been fun if it wasn’t so shoehorned. Basically, the AI seems to have been purposefully dumbed down in order to allow you to sneak past, which in turn really effects the run and gun aspect of the gameplay as the enemies don’t react responsively, taking away any sense of challenge you might have, even on the higher difficulties.
Gameplay wise, what I do like is how at some points you get to choose which route you take, whether you go in head-front first or quietly sneaking from behind. Now, if the gameplay was polished enough, this would be a damn good option, giving you a different experience each time. I also like how they’ve got secondary objectives. Furthermore, during gameplay you can actually take hostages from behind, to use as human shields and slide onto cover. Too bad the game is so badly designed to allow any enjoyment from these features.
The multiplayer mode feels so tacked on and even though some of the map designs are visually solid, they’re not functional MP wise, and are too big to allow enjoyment for the 8v8 modes. Not to mention, there is no hit point marker that tells you if you’ve hit someone. It really removes that feedback you’ve come to expect with MP shooters. Also, I am pretty sure the hitboxes aren’t properly configured at times, with bullets causing damage even though they streak past you.
The graphics, even though powered by the cutting edge Cry-engine, feel a bit dated. However that does not mean bad, as the game looks really good at times, especially with its vibrant lightning system. It also runs pretty well on the PC, and so far I have not encountered any performance hiccups. The only hiccups I have encountered are some bugs. Still, they should have made sure that the textures were properly rendered, as they look really messy at times.
One aspect that does stand out though, is the music. Composed by the immensely talented Cris Velasco, the themes and melodies featured in the game give it a flavour and identity. What’s regretful is that, the element hat has been given the most polish isn’t even by City Interactive. They could’ve at least made sure the audio effects were on par, but even that lacks a punch at times.
I was honestly hoping for this game to be good, and the story looked interesting enough. Unfortunately, like most other CI games, it is very unpolished and misses most of the standard features we have come to expect from shooters these days. Some might argue that not every game needs to have the same features, but these aren’t necessarily the “fun factor” features, but are instead the critical gameplay factors that fix a lot of problems. At least the game looks really good on the PC, and seems to be using the Cry-engine well, even on old hardware and the music is also pretty good. Too bad the sound effect work is very minimal and seems to be stock based, in which you won’t hear variety in sounds.
I honestly don’t get why City Interactive always does this. I know for a fact that they can do it better, and even have competent talent, but they never properly utilise that and always settle for mediocrity. I really can’t think of any game by them that was critically acclaimed. If you are reading this City, please try something unique in the FPS genre as you guys are more than capable of it. Stop settling for mediocrity and start evolving.
Overall put, there is not a single reason to get this game especially at that high of a price point (£30). The best element is the music, for which you can just pick up the soundtrack. Enemy Front brings nothing new to the table; neither does it provide you with a fun experience worth remembering. If you were to skip this, you would miss nothing. It is that shallow of a game and there is neither action or shootout intensity to keep you going. There are better fps games out there, even from the World War themed titles from years gone by.
+ Nicely Composed Music
+ Opening Monologue
+ Some Gameplay Features
- Stiff Animations
- Uninspired Voice Work
- Tacked On Multiplayer
- A.I Seems Broken
- Monotonous Gameplay Structure
- Bugs & Other Technical Hiccups
- Too Expensive For What It Offers