Enemy Front High Quality
Given that he's a reporter, it's puzzling and laughable that the delivery of Hawkins' radio-broadcasted motivational speeches during the Warsaw Uprising is painfully flat. This poor presentation is a missed opportunity that's meant to complement the story's nonlinear structure, which, by the way, could have benefited from further exposition and context for those unfamiliar with the uprising. Moreover, Hawkins' character development feels forced; he starts as an opportunistic, news-hungry reporter on the front lines and slowly realizes there are greater goals in this war than the next big scoop. When you have something as clear-cut as a tyrannical occupation, it's hard to believe Hawkins couldn't empathize with the resistance movement right from the start.
The wide-linear design of Enemy Front might feel inspired by Crysis 2 and Dishonored, yet its levels do not encourage the same degree of stimulating improvisation due to the lack of unpredictable enemy behavior. What made dying fun in Crysis 2 was that you got to try a different strategy with each retry, resulting in new enemy reactions each time. You are nearly deprived of that feeling in Enemy Front. Because of the game's poorly laid checkpoints, dying elicits a sense of frustration and boredom at the prospect of having to retread over half a mile's worth of leveled French villages. The thought of having to kill the same 20-plus Nazis a second or third time was so unappealing that I felt no guilt running past them after subsequent respawns. This says a lot since these aren't the smartest Nazis. Sure, they're consistently keen enough to spot you if you're out in the open too long, but once they're on alert, their movements are disappointingly predictable. If you don't want to leave any survivors, you can use the classic shooter exploit of funneling enemies toward you for easy pickings.
In these missions, players will also see a different side to WWII. For example, in one particular mission where resistance fighters have to defend a field hospital in Warsaw, players will experience fighting an enemy that has already settled into the region. The mission takes place five years after Poland was invaded, so resources are scarce, conditions are poor and many of the weapons are improvised. These kinds of missions will give players the opportunity to be creative in how they choose to meet the objectives.
In fact, Enemy Front has a lot of problems when it comes to how things interact. At one point, I was startled by an enemy and accidentally pressed in the right thumbstick, which caused me to take out his knife and slash the guy, killing him instantly. Except that I was nowhere near the guy. Certainly not near enough where I could kill him with a knife.
#1276. Ah! Playing on 'expert' difficulty eliminates those surprise-spoiling enemy markers on the HUD map. I'm no longer reacting to radar blips rather than bobbing coal scuttle helmets.
Then there's the AI characters and enemies, whose behaviors are often erratic. Enemy soldiers rush right at with the intent to kill, then stand there for a moment or two before opening fire. At one point, one of the enemies I was fighting decided to sit down in front of me as we were descending a staircase; apparently he wanted a break? Unfortunately, there was no way to get around him, so I had to travel all the way back and around the level to come out the other side to reach my next objective, which was only a few feet away from where he remained seated.
In some ways, Enemy Front succeeds in standing out in a crowded genre. Impressive visuals and expansive levels merge create memorable locations. And though some stages very obviously award stealthier playstyles, the gunplay is enjoyable when you're not overwhelmed with enemies. Unfortunately, a raft of weird bugs, mindless enemy behavior, and a multiplayer mode that feels like an afterthought shoot Enemy Front's potential square in the heart.
Besides those problems, the game is sprinkled with other small glitches that will take you out of the experience from time to time. The game would sometimes come to a brief stop when I shot an enemy in the head. The physics would occasionally freak out and send an enemy I shot with a pistol flying through the air like a javelin thrown by an Olympic athlete. On very, very, few occasions, enemies saw me through walls while I was getting my sneak on. The game lacks polish that almost any other game should get before release, and it makes the reason behind the $40 price tag very clear.
Graphically, the game looks quite beautiful at times thanks to the power of the CryEngine. However, the repetition of the same few enemy and object models throughout the game can get annoying. The developers seem to have failed to harness the full potential of the CryEngine as a result. The 720p prerendered cutscenes on the PC do not help its case either.
Gameplay-wise, you have ammo crates scattered around the place with replenishing health. There are a variety of weapons on offer though you will only come across 2 or 3 of them in any level, either from enemy drops or from certain locations. You have Grenades and Molotov Cocktails, which have their own separate key bindings, as well as time bombs that can only be placed in certain locations. There are Door Breaching sequences with bullet time following, though your gun starts shooting just as slowly as the time is moving, thereby negating the potential advantage. Bullets can travel through bodies to let you score multikills in the same shot.
The game can be quite buggy at times with you spawning with no weapons, the combat music getting stuck so that no enemy dialogues are triggered and some cases of invisible doors. All in all it is a rather mediocre experience.
Hawkins needs to complete various missions often fighting along with other soldiers. There is a large arsenal of weapons, including hand guns, machine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, as well a weapon types commonly associated with resistance fighters such as the sten gun, the welrod pistol, the lightning submachine gun and molotov cocktails. Weapons and ammo are picked up along the way or weapons are swapped with those left behind by dead soldiers. Next to pure action, a tactical approach through sabotage and stealth is possible. Hawkins can silently take soldiers hostage, dispose of them and drag their bodies to a sport where they are unlikely to be discovered. The game also has a noise indicator, where loud noises such as planes flying by offer a time-frame to shoot without being revealed. A mini-map in the bottom left corner provides an overview of the environment. Whilst sneaking through foliage stealth kills can also be performed directly. Objects such as stones can be thrown to distract enemies and lure them away. Hawkins also has binoculars to watch the enemy's movement from a distance.
Hawkins' health status is revealed through visual cues; when injured the screen has a red glow and fades. Health restores automatically when keeping a low profile for a while. There are three difficulty levels to choose from (casual, normal and expert). On expert enemy markers on the mini-map are removed, making it more difficult to keep track of opponents. While using the sniper rifle Hawkins can hold his breath to steady the view and slightly slow down time. The different levels are split up in multiple sections with primary and secondary objectives such as rescuing hostages, locating officers, stealing supplies and placing explosives. The progress is largely linear with a small number of choices with a different outcome, but the size of the environment often allows for different approaches. Online multiplayer is supported for up to twelve players simultaneously.
Small wonder that war-based games are running for the comfortable security blanket of World War II, a time with none of that troublesome ambiguity. Yes, we definitely are fighting bastards and yes, they definitely will come over and burn all our stuff if we don't. To this setting comes Enemy Front, yet another candidate for the Shitty Title award. What, as opposed to those nice friendly fronts they have in wars, where two allies dig trenches opposite each other and have bake-offs?
But Enemy Front makes an interesting comparison with another new release, Valiant Hearts, a game by Ubisoft. So even though I installed it on Steam, of course it had to open uPlay to actually start it. This is our fault; we didn't complain enough when games started opening with twelve different unskippable idents, so now they're taking it even further. Five years from now, we'll have to open up seventeen front-ends before they even let us enter the fucking CD key! But I digress, again.
My orders from General Franklin were, "to attack the enemy wherever, I could find him, but not to bring on a general engagement." I had with my command a train of about 200 wagons, carrying and camp equipage. No enemy was seen that day. My camp at night was at Crump's Corners, 23 miles from Natchitoches. On the 7th the division move to and through Pleasant Hill, driving some 200 of the enemy's cavalry before them. About 12 m. the Third Brigade, Colonel Robinson commanding, composed of the First Louisiana Cavalry, Major Badger, and Eighty-seventh Illinois Mounted Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Crebs, constituting the advance of the division, moved up the road toward Mansfield, and at Wilsons' farm, 3 miles distant from Pleasant Hill, encountered the enemy in considerable force posted in the timber on a hill beyond a clearing, with their left protected by a ravine. A lesser hill one-fourth mile in the enemy's front was immediately occupied by us. The Eighty-seventh Illinois was at once dismounted and deployed to the right, the First Louisiana taking position on the left and in reserve. Soon, however, the entire brigade was dismounted and moved to the front. A section of the howitzer battery, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, and a section of Rawles' battery, were put in position on the crest of the hill, and opened fire on the enemy. In the mean time the firing was heavy on both sides and the resistance of the enemy so decided that the First Brigade, Colonel Lucas, was hastened to Colonel Robinson's support. Just before it moved to take position the enemy charged with great impetuosity our front and right flank, driving the Third Brigade about 100 yards and forcing our artillery to retire; but the First Brigade, advancing immediately (dismounted), united with the Third Brigade, and impetuously charging the enemy, drove them in turn, breaking their line and dislodging them from their original position. During the action I sent a staff officer to General Franklin, informing him that the enemy were in force in my front, and suggesting that a brigade of infantry should be moved near me for a support in case of need. General Franklin was found at Pleasant Hill and sen forward a brigade of infantry, but before reaching me, the heavy firing having ceased, it was withdrawn to Pleasant Hill. At 2 p. m. I sent to General Franklin the following dispatch: 041b061a72