The True Spiritual Successor To Black - Enemy Front - Xbox 360 -
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Enemy Front

The True Spiritual Successor To Black

Enemy Front opens like many World War II first-person shooters. You are running through a dilapidated city fighting enemies with swastikas emblazoned on their shoulders. It’s familiar territory, but there are enough differences to make Enemy Front worth taking a look at.

Enemy Front comes from the mind of Stuart Black, the namesake and co-creator of 2006’s Black on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The two games may not share the same setting or timeframe, but their mechanics have a lot in common. Much like Black, the main focus of the game is shooting things. Stuart Black feels that there are only five or six really good shooters out there, and the rest compensate for their mediocre quality with forgettable gimmicks. Black’s goal for Enemy Front is to make shooting, something you’ll be doing a lot, the main focus.

We were shown snippets from two different levels. In Call of Duty -- the most successful first-person shooter on the market -- it’s all about momentum. Follow the marker and move towards it at all costs, picking off a seemingly endless stream of enemies who go down after a few shots. In Enemy Front, I found myself getting comfortable behind cover. I was less concerned with my location, and more concerned with firing my weapon and tossing grenades towards my enemies. Plenty of explosive fuel barrels and combustible vehicles litter the battlefield, providing many opportunities to obliterate foes stupid enough to use them as cover.

This really encapsulates what Enemy Front is all about. Who cares that the enemies are dumb enough to hide behind a car, or right next to an explosive barrel? What matters is that blowing them to bits with an impromptu fireworks display is a hell of a lot of fun. It’s in this way the Enemy Front reminded me of Black in the best way. Black was all about orchestrated explosions conducted by you with the help of your powerful weapons. The way the camera jolts and shudders when you fire and the way it all sounds really drives home what firing a gun is all about. The guns in Enemy Front have that same feeling of weight and danger to them, just as they did in Black.

Programming an enemy to use an explosive barrel as cover for your enjoyment, however, isn’t the same as dumb AI. Enemy Front is being built with the Crytek engine, the same engine that behind Crysis 2. Even though the games feature different play styles, they share an AI engine, and Black and his team at City Interactive are spending a lot of time making sure the AI is interesting and varied. There are going to be 10 different enemy class types, with jobs spanning from typical armed opposition and medics running around the battlefield healing enemies you merely maimed, to enemies whose job it is to run off and call for back-up by blowing whistles or shooting off flares.

Another way Enemy Front focuses on gunplay is by offering three unique play styles that correspond to different types of shooters. You choose your style at the beginning of your game. Hope mode offers rechargeable health. Honor mode takes away rechargeable health but lets the player pick up and use health packs. Players also scavenge for health packs in Glory mode, which offers the purest cinematic experience by taking away your crosshairs and HUD. By letting gamers play the game the way they want, all you have to worry about is shooting the enemy.

Stuart Black considers himself a selfish gamer, so he’s making Enemy Front into the game he wants to play. He is also striving to make the AI as unpredictable as possible, so that he won’t get bored with playing the game over and over. Black also hates that most single-player campaign first-person shooters only last about five hours, so he’s shooting to extend that to 11 hours.

The recently released Bodycount -- a game Stuart Black was involved with early on but left partway through development -- was touted as the spiritual successor to Black when it was first being marketed. What resulted was a disappointing shooter that was clearly missing Black’s touch by the time it released. With Stuart Black on board as the creative director for Enemy Front, we may finally have a worthy follow-up to one of last generation’s most interesting first-person shooters.

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  • Sure looks awesome can't wait to hear more.
  • Oh hey, I remember some screenshots of this being shown a while ago. Good to see some more news on it again, and it looks good. But when does Cryengine not look good?

    Anyways, hopefully the development team will figure out how to make shooting things interesting enough to warrant an entire playthrough without getting too terribly "bored".

  • Loved Black, was one of my favorite FPS games in its day. Looking forward to this as well!
  • I love old shooters, so I'm glad to see this game is looking amazing. A nice change of pace from all the modern shooters coming out.

  • sweeet. cant wait for the next installment of "Shooty McShootalot and his billion's of bullet buddies".
  • I remember Black as being nothing but OK; it looked pretty and had cool gun and explosion effects but it had little replay value, was short and not worth the money. This is sounding like Black 2.0, something I wouldn't look forward to.

  • sounds interesting, definitely intrigued, but I got a lot of other games that I want/need to play, so I think I'll wait.

  • This is the first I'm hearing of it, but judging by the screenshots the game seems to be almost finished. Looking forward to seeing a demo during e3.

  • Many fond memories of Black. Even when I play it now it still stands out as an original shooter. I heard it's one of the few shooters ever to consist of all real gunshot sound effects. I'm just not too happy about the WWII approach. I wish they would have kept the more modern style.

  • Black is one of my favorite Xbox games. It's super short, but MAN is it fun. And the guns sound like cannons. I suppose that's what happens when your game is developed by people in a country with strict gun laws

  • internet: remind me, didn't black suck?
  • ww2??? come on, too much of it. not fun fighting with old planes, old guns, bad armour etc..that war sucked
  • That's a lot of talk, we'll see how that holds up.

  • with ww2 fps's in short supply again. it's the perfect time to release one.
  • Dang Kyle you know how to sell me on a game I never heard about before.

  • Well Bodycount sure as hell wasn't a successor to Black. Hope this game fares better.

  • yeah sure. they said the same thing about Bodycount
  • isn't world war 2 a little over done by now? what about a nice ww1 shooter? you can still be the victorious, german-killing, brit/american *** you've always wanted to be, use old fashioned guns and equipment, and explore the bland western european countryside. dog-fighting takes on its own unique challenges as you manually throw bombs over the side of your biplane and shoot germans with your pistol like that one guy did in flyboys
  • wow gr8 news...:)

  • I love the engine .. truly the best.. black on ps2 was just terrific at the time .. so glad it's bringing back the memories ..

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