An In-Depth Look at City Interactive's Enemy Front @ E3 2012

An In-Depth Look at City Interactive's Enemy Front @ E3 2012

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 19th Jun 2012

Enemy Front

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As a result of this there is an exaggerated, over-the-top series of weapon effects present that creates an immersive, very visceral and emotive shooter experience, but at the same time the player will not see the sort of imbalanced come-to-jesus shooting style frequently encountered in the FPS genre, and in particular there is an absence of the "bullet magnet effect" that is often part of FPS war games in which all of the enemies on the field are hyper-aware of the location of the player and send their ammunition his way!

While a certain level of seriousness and reality is present, players should bear in mind that the point to the game is not to recreate the typical experience of an OSS operative behind enemy lines -- if it were, considering that the average lifespan of such an agent was usually measured in days, with most being caught and shot within three days of landing -- that it would be a rather boring and repetitious play experience... When we consider that many of the "boss" mobs in the game consist of enemy officers and characters mounted in vehicles, well, that should nicely illustration for you the line at which realism and fantasy meet.

Weapons Variety and Implementation

As mentioned above the E3 demo offered players an armory that consists of over 25 distinct weapons, with the host suggesting that by the time that the game makes that all-important transformation from Alpha title to Beta and then finished candidate that armory should be improved, with a reasonable selection of weapon types, caliber, and source.

In the demo the protagonist arrives with a set of weapons that make sense, being from his side of the conflict, but as the player progresses through the level there is ample opportunity to acquire weapons from the enemy -- though that is actually a choice that most seasoned operators would avoid in reality because each "found" weapon represents an unknown quantity with respect to accuracy, reliability, and effectiveness. But remember, this is a game, and how else will the player have the opportunity to pick up and utilize iconic weapons like the MP40?

It is interesting to note that one of the common starting weapons for the player is the Sten Gun -- which is part of a family of British-designed and manufactured 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II -- a weapon that is notable for having a very simple design and very low production cost, and being able to use captured enemy ammunition.

In fact that was part of the basic logic in its design, making it particularly valuable as an insurgency weapon for resistance forces. The fact that it was not very accurate notwithstanding, the Sten Gun was still a very effective weapon and its presence as a base weapon for an OSS operative makes sense.

Among the other weapons observed and used in the demo was the Maschinenpistole 3008 (MP 3008) that was used by the protagonist after being picked up off of the ground -- its rear cross-section is similar enough to the Sten that when it was quickly used it took a moment for us to realize that it was not the Sten at all. The 3008 used the 9×19mm Parabellum round, what would eventually become the most popular type of ammunition in the war, and its design very closely related to that of the Sten, in effect being a copy of the weapon that was manufactured by the Germans as an emergency measure towards the end of the war as -- desperately short of raw materials -- they sought to produce a much cheaper alternative to their standard SMG, the MP 40.

In addition to the German copy of the Sten above, there were plenty of Maschinenpistole 40's floating around the battlefield, also chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum round -- which makes sense as it was the most common type of SMG in use in France at the time. The lineage of the MP 40 is itself an example of the constant need to find cheaper and more expedient manufacturing techniques, having descended from its predecessor, the more expensive and higher quality MP 38, which was in turn based upon an older and even more complex design, the MP 36.

In addition to the above German weapons we saw some obviously captured British weapons -- probably obtained following the retreat at Dunkirk when a vast number of British weapons, field pieces, and vehicles as well as general military stores were abandoned in place all over the area as the British "Tommy's" were evacuated from the beaches in every manner of vessel from proper navy ships to freighters and even pleasure craft (power boats and sail boats) that were pressed into service as civilians volunteered to sail across to Dunkirk and help rescue the troops who had been isolated in that French port city and were about to be overrun.

Among the British weapons observed was a Bren LMG, a very popular and versatile squad-served weapon that chambered the then-standard .303 British round (7.7×56mm). By the time we got to the period in which the game takes place though you have to wonder how much access the Germans had to the .303 round, suggesting that they probably had refitted the weapon to chamber the more common and easier to obtain 7.92×57mm Mauser round that China would later champion as its LMG round of choice.

While we cannot swear to it 100% at one point in the demo it looked like the protagonist had run past a De Lisle carbine leaning against a crate -- the De Lisle was a British carbine used during World War II whose primary feature was its very effective sound suppressor that it was literally engineered around -- the suppressor component combined with its use of subsonic bullets (.45 Caliber ACP round) made it extremely quiet in action, and quite possibly one of the quietest firearms ever made, which may be why being caught in possession of one of these today automatically adds the "Special Circumstances" element to criminal possession of a firearm charges in both the UK and America.

Among the other German weapons spotted in the demo were the Astra Model 900, Maschinengewehr 42, Sturmgewehr 44, Karabiner 98k and Gewehr 41, about what you would expect to see in that region and at that time in World War II, with a nice variety that makes the game interesting mostly because of the attention to accuracy -- or the lack thereof.

The game settings are largely key to weapon accuracy it seems, as the aim is profoundly effected by the settings mostly with respect to how rapidly the sights tighten in -- but even so it is nice to see the lack of accuracy in SMG's that use standard pistol rounds, and the need to expend a large number of rounds because, even under the best of circumstances an SMG is not a sniper rifle.

Getting to Know Your Weapons

Our Enemy Front Conclusions

As we gently ease our way into this story we find its protagonist taking his first steps as the British and allied forces gather together at Dunkirk, having been pursued there by the Germans and arriving in a crowded and almost hopeless environment where they hope to be pulled off of the beach and returned to England by anything that will float, and thus begins what promises to be a rich story arc that will play out in a historically faithful manner but that tells the story of one man who, while mostly invisible, manages to make his own special contribution to events that are a recognized part of history.

The primary goal at this stage in the opening moments of the game for the majority is being to run away in order to fight again another day, but for our hero his goal is to find someplace to dig in and, when he is able to do so, make his way first to Poland and eventually beyond, because unlike the soldiers who just want to get off of the beach and go home, he is a member of an elite intelligence gathering organization called The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a nascent US intelligence agency that was formed during World War II specifically to do what our hero is doing now, infiltrate, investigate, and raise hell behind enemy lines.

The predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it was largely the activities of the lone agents of the OSS that was responsible for organizing and funding the espionage activities that took place behind enemy lines on the European continent, its leader and strongest advocate was General William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan, and with its partner in crime and British counterpart, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), who directed operations and perfected the system of training and support that lead to one of the greatest successes that the new spy agency enjoyed: penetration of Nazi Germany by OSS operatives.

Based upon what we have seen so far at E3 and via the trailers, demo videos, and live demo, Enemy Front has tremendous potential and may very well turn out to be one of the biggest surprises from this year's E3! We will be keeping an eye on this title and partaking of any further demo and briefing opportunities to be offered by City Interactive, as well as reviewing the full game once its code is available to us, but for now we can safely mark this one up as one of the happier surprises of E3 2012!