Set during the turbulent times of World War II, Enemy Front is the latest in a long line of first-person shooters to depict the horrors of one of history’s most fierce conflicts. Depicting the tale of a journalist named Robert Hawkins, you’ll team up with the American resistance as part of an effort to put an end to the Nazis once and for all.
The title’s single player campaign takes place in several different nations, spanning Germany, Poland, France, and Norway. It’s told through a series of flashbacks, which follow the protagonist from small time scribe to successful freedom fighter. Many of the missions are based upon accurate historical events such as the Warsaw Uprising, which helps to ground the proceedings.
The main attraction here compared to blockbuster brands such as Battlefield and Call of Duty is the freedom of choice that you’ll experience from level to level. Each mission tasks you with reaching designated locations, but it’s up to you to decide how you get there – be it with heavy artillery, stealth, or by employing alternate routes through sewers or buildings. At times, you can also opt whether you want to be a sniper supporting the rest of the resistance or on the front line of attack.
Much like the Sniper Elite series, the former is surprisingly enjoyable, as the game often pans out in order to track your bullet in slow motion all the way into your target. You can also use your binoculars in order to spot enemies and place markers both in the game world and on your map – not exactly historically accurate, but a useful tool all the same.
Due to the game’s inclusion of stealth, you can opt to toss stones in order to distract enemy troops. A quick tap of the d-pad will lob a handy pebble, which will allow you to slip by your nonplussed adversaries with ease. Should you get spotted, you can also slide across the floor in order to reach cover while avoiding enemy fire.
While there are some appealing ideas on display here, however, the title is sadly very flawed. For starters, the missions become extremely repetitive as the objectives lack variety; in almost all cases you’ll be tasked to reach a specific location or kill all of the enemies stationed in the area. To make matters worse, the artificial intelligence isn’t anywhere near challenging enough, making it possible to run past your clumsy foes even on the hardest difficulty tier.
There’s not even any diversity in the types of troops that you’ll take on, as you’ll be battling the exact same Nazis from start to finish. Sure, there are also a few enemy tanks to shake things up, but with very little mobility or strength, they won’t pose much of a threat to your writer turned one-man army avatar.
Most frustrating of all, though, is the game’s overall lack of polish. The title’s framerate drops dramatically far too frequently, causing unnecessary deaths as you soldier through the core campaign. Moreover, we encountered myriad occasions where allies got caught in the title’s geometry, prompting us to reboot the game in order to proceed.
It at least looks decent from a distance, but closer inspection will reveal that this falls significantly short of more modern PlayStation 3 titles. The visuals are pixelated and grainy, which will cause quite a shock if you’re coming from sharper next-gen shooters. The music is largely uninspired, too, with very little variety in the orchestral arrangement. These presentational shortcomings mean that the title fails to capture the atmosphere of the war that it’s trying to replicate.
If you tire of the campaign, a basic multiplayer suite for up to eight players is included featuring three different modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Radio Transmission. These are all fairly self explanatory, with the latter option seeing you working in groups of four in order to take command of several signals around the map. In truth, while basic, the online component is a fun addition – but it’s hindered by the dearth of players currently participating on its servers.
Enemy Front is a valiant effort with a few original twists on the familiar military format, but its solid multiplayer component and sizeable solo locales can’t make up for a distinct lack of polish. Indeed, the horrendous framerate issues, game breaking glitches, and poor presentation make this a cause that’s not really worth fighting for – even if you won’t want to turn your back on it straight away.