Loving first-person shooters and neglecting to play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is a sin. Non-believers, hear me now! There's two things W:ET has going for it: First, it's based on the Tech 3 engine, and second, it's free. Anyone who hasn't played it should, and it's easily found in nearly any corner of the 'net. So if you haven't given it a spin, go ahead. Learn how to play it well, and you'll be one step ahead of the know-nothing competition when October 2nd rolls around.
For those still unaware, let it be said that W:ET is the spiritual ancestor of the upcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Its marketing implies epic, human-versus-Strogg battles that take place before the flesh-scavengers' first successful Earth invasion. Chronologically, that means its storyline is a Quake II prequel – the original Quake isn't considered canon. Recently made available in two public betas – featuring first the "Sewer" map, and "Valley" later on – players have already had chances to throw themselves onto the front lines, and see if it's worthy of its hype.
Strictly looking at it through standard shooter glasses, ET:QW isn't doing anything new. You're the typical FPS jock who oddly holds their guns right in front of their chest, jumps higher than anyone carrying heavy weaponry feasibly could, and manages to be completely disposable. That would make the whole experience a standard outing if its features list ended there, but thankfully, it doesn't.
The task-based (also known as objective-based) gameplay of W:ET makes a return in its modern-day descendant, and will provide a refreshing change of pace for anyone who experiences it anew. Armed with their trusty, do-it-all pliers, human Engineers can build bridges, machine gun nests, and more. The locations are pre-determined, but the real freedom comes in where that class (and its Strogg Constructor counterpart) can plop down their deployables and mines. Need to protect something? Dropping an automatic anti-personnel turret from the skies ought to perforate many of your pesky, invasion-happy enemies.
To win, you'll have to strategically decide where and when your many gadgets should be used. Because you may need to protect a spawn point that's halfway across the map, it's a good thing your toys aren't restricted to things like mines, turrets, and deployables. Transport vehicles are available too, and they can rapidly take you where you want to go by land, air, and sometimes sea, but mostly land and air. (Here's to hoping that the mod community will make a mostly water-based map after the full game hits retail shelves, since "Sewer" and "Valley" won't please the sea dog in any of us.)
Visually, it isn't outshining Crysis or Gears of War, but its maps are more vast than the latter's. You won't have to upgrade your computer if you bought a top-of-the-line rig three years ago, either. This means that a lot of people who aren't about to plunk down three bills (or more) on a brand-spankin' new graphics card might spend their cash on ET:QW instead. No matter the kind of PC you've got, you might want to keep a lookout on this one if you like what it's offering.