Let me just put my cards on the table, upfront, here. Enemy Front is a pretty unpolished affair. The visuals on the Xbox 360 are a bit lacking in places- ranging from good to grotty. The movement controls take some getting used to- with a floaty skating on ice feel to them. The game’s frame-rate also likes to stutter every now and again.
It’s weird really, as the game uses the acclaimed CryEngine 3- a point that City Interactive has deemed important enough to highlight on the cover- via one of those little afterthought stickers.
They also wanted to take this last-minute opportunity to tell us that the game features “advanced sniping technology”. A little “pick me!” in light of the recent release of Sniper Elite 3, no doubt, and to promote the fact that Enemy Front is from the same folks that gave us the rather excellent Sniper: Ghost Warrior games.
Unfortunately, Enemy Front isn’t up to the standard of Sniper: Ghost Warrior or its sequel. But it’s not rubbish either.
In the single-player campaign you take the role of Robert Hawkins, an American WWII combat reporter. Thankfully Hawkins is just as handy with a gun as he is with a pen. The plot is told through flashback sequences that take the player deep behind enemy lines in the European theatre of war. The game stays away from revisiting familiar campaigns that we’ve played elsewhere and instead has us fighting Nazis in places like Norway and Poland.
Enemy Front gives you the choice of how you want to progress. You can opt to try and sneak past the enemy or take them head on, either up close and person by engaging in firefights or from afar with a sniper rifle.
Enemy Front’s sniping mechanic has been ripped right out of the Sniper: Ghost Warrior games, it even has that very satisfying bullet-cam, and this is great as City Interactive really nailed sniping in those games.
Using your binoculars, you can locate the enemy. As soon as you’ve spotted the bad guys they are marked on the mini-map in the bottom left of the screen. The map also shows the direction the enemy are facing and their alert status. If you enter the enemy’s line of sight a circular red bar increases. If it gets to the top you’ve been seen and the local chapter of the Third Reich will start to bring the hammer down.
The game features some neat destructible scenery. I loved shooting gaps in the church benches so that I could shoot at the enemy whilst still behind cover. I also used a grenade to remodel a building to remove the enemy’s hiding spot, which was fun.
The bad guys in Enemy Front don’t mess about. Unlike their cowering brethren in the Call of Duty games, these Nazis will come after you if they know where you are.
The multiplayer mode is one of those “why did they bother?” affairs that absolutely nobody is playing. I’m sure it would be a lot of fun, but with no one to play it with, I have no way of knowing.
Once I got over the visuals – which do improve a bit as you get into the countryside – and the controls, Enemy Front played like an old-skool game of Call of Duty. And shooting Nazis never gets old.
Are there better games to spend your money on? Well, yes. But despite my initial misgivings, I ended up having a lot of fun with Enemy Front. It does lack a bit of polish, but at its heart it is still a pretty good WWII shooter.
Enemy Front is out now on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.