Date Released: June 10th, 2014
Developer: CI Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rated: M for Mature
World War II was undeniably the number one setting for shooters during the 6th gaming generation as WWII veteran Medal of Honor, and the up-and-coming Call of Duty franchise, made a hefty amount of games about the historical events that took place during. The 7th generation generation toned it down a bit because by that point the subject matter was already done to death. Then here comes Enemy Front that promises to do away with linear levels, and tries to break the first person mold. As ambitious as those claims are, it misses its target by quite the margin.
Taking place during the Warsaw Uprising, American journalist Robert Hawkins makes his way to Poland to write about his next big story. But for some reason Hawkins gets caught up in the war because his informant gets captured and he really wants to take a bunch of photos for his newspaper. From then on he decides to kill Nazis, and sabotage their operations. Along the way, as he continues to fight besides the men and women of the resistance, he learns the meaning of fighting for a cause that matters.
Besides that, this is your average World War II game where the Nazis are being jerks and you have to try and stop them. The way it’s actually told is one part convoluted, one part lazy, and another part boring. Throughout the game Robert Hawkins surprises people by being a decent shot with a sniper rifle, and when asked where he learned to shoot, he just vaguely says “I was in Spain”. They had flashback levels before this and that was an opportune moment to get into Hawking’s backstory, but nope, mentioning Spain is all we need to know apparently.
Choice is a big concept in this game. Your choices range from which missions to undertake, whether you want to take a vantage point to snipe, or to charge in. There are times when you’re even forced to choose which weapon to use! Choice also applies to gameplay: players can sneak up on guards to avoid alerting the others as you use stealth kills or you can rampage and kill everything in sight.
There seems to be an emphasis on stealth due to the detection meter (red bar) that tells when you’re about to be spotted and the noise icon that indicates when it’s safe to fire weapons without causing alarm. However, stealth is clumsy and you can even be spotted through cover. If you’re really careful you can take out everyone in an area, but eventually you’re going to have to resort to a frontal assault. But if you want to have any fun or challenge makes sure to start at the highest difficulty and fire without hesitation.
Enemy Front attempts to be an open-world game that encourages diversity in gameplay; yet there is a clear way to point B because there is only one way to get there. Your methods to reach that point may differ, but there are too few moments in the game that is specifically designed for sniping or stealth.
The enemy A.I. makes things too easy because no matter what you do, there are no consequences to being spotted. Even if you have a whole platoon alerted to your presences you can simply run ahead to the next area. Nazis will take cover and seldom move from their spots.
My playthrough was 98% running through and unloading clips on foes. Not the fun kind where you can blast several people with the trusty spread of your machine gun, but where you must rely on aiming down the sights to even hit your target. Even then you will empty an entire clip unless you have dead on accuracy.
I expected close-quarters combat to be where firing at the hip with an assault weapon would be a viable option, but even as I was merely feet from an enemy soldier and shot every round I had in my magazine he still managed to survive. It’s like the accuracy of my weapon was so bad that the bullets purposely avoided him!
So many questionable and missing functions tarnish what would’ve been a somewhat passable shooter. You can’t get into a prone position, you need to hold buttons just to pick up certain items, and when using iron sights, the aiming sensitivity is a bit too high. The weapons are mapped to the left and right directional pad which is nothing out of the ordinary, it’s the fact that you can’t visibly see which of your two main weapons is mapped to which. If you need to swap a pistol to the appropriate weapon, there’s a 50/50 chance of pulling out the wrong weapon and wasting time while under fire.
The biggest enigma that has perplexed me is how they could’ve possibly made such a muddy looking game using CryEngine 3! We’re talking about the same engine that brought us Crysis 2 and 3! Enemy Front looks like it was ported from the PlayStation 2/Xbox era and the cherry on top is all of the graphical glitches and frame rate issues that run rampant each step of the way. Entire walls go missing, the game comes to a standstill at times, and a creepy unblinking priest will stare you down as he remains perfectly still.
A game focusing on the Warsaw Uprising hasn’t been done before in other WWII shooters and it’s actually pretty interesting. With CI Games based in Poland I understand why they would like to bring this major WWII operation to light. Unfortunately, the events of the resistance are completely overshadowed by a story about some shmuck that wants nothing more than a story. If the game focused on an actual soldier, real or fictional, and explained the what, where, when, why, and who a bit more thoroughly, I bet players would’ve been much more engaged.
This game was in development for three years and it pains me to tear down a game that people have worked so hard on, but the fact of the matter is that Enemy Front is an unpolished, lazily written, and all around ugly game. If you insist on getting this game, make sure to get it on PC; the improvements in the graphical department is leaps and bounds compared to the console versions. If only the story and gameplay (or lack thereof) could’ve followed suit. Enemy Front is a mess from start to finish; from the lackluster firefights to the horrendous controls, the biggest enemy in this game isn’t the Nazis, but the game itself.
Overall Rating: 2.25/5