Enemy Territories:

Quake Wars

(Xbox 360, Playstation 3)

Id Software/Nerve/Splash Damage, Activision


It's a tough road to Strogg in this game that is being released a couple of weeks after the behemoth series Grand Theft Auto, but these first-person shooters are as constant as the very air we breath. Fans of Id's Quake series should inhale - deeply. It's not as though you haven't waited long enough.

If you are familiar with the game on PC, there is little here that differs from its brethren released last fall. The game pits the alien life form, the Strogg, against the Global Defense Force (those pesky humans) in a fight for earth. Continuing in the trend of most shooters these days, this is a team-based game in which both sides will have goals (mostly attacking and defending an object) in the game and players, up to eight on a side, must work together to be effective in reaching those goals. Each side has a number of different classes such as an engineer, coverts ops, or heavy-weapons specialist, and you will need all of them.

The "Territories" part of the title is a key part of the game's progression, as success in one objective opens up the next objective. There are usually about three or four objectives in each map.

Vehicles, standard and a couple of bizarre weapons, and some pretty smart bots round out a solid, if slightly overpriced title.

Mass Effect


Bioware, Electronic Arts


Now, we have a game that had a release schedule quite opposite from the one above. Bioware's spacefaring role-playing game was a hit on the Xbox 360 last fall and has now moved onto a system that can probably exploit the game's features a bit better.

The plot is the same, as Commander Shephard travels the known (and unknown) universe to ultimately save us all. There are still a myriad of planets and side missions to further enhance the game's story, to just explore, or to gain some loot or rare items.

As mentioned a bit earlier, the PC can simply do things a console struggles to accomplish. More buttons enable a much easier time during combat. No more pausing the game to figure out which weapon, party member, or wizardlike ability is best, just map whatever you want to hot-key and be done with it.

A much-needed tactical map can get your party in and out of sticky situations and let the group travel together much more efficiently as well.

One of the biggest pros about PC gaming is storage and scalable graphics. Though things are beginning to change, nothing beats pretty much unlimited space for game saves, and if one has spent a small fortune on a graphics card, Mass Effect will have a massive effect on your eyeballs.

Since the price is reduced, I might suggest that Xbox 360 fans of the game take a gander at this title, too. This is really the way the game was meant to be played - the interface is better, the game runs a bit smoother, and it is another reason why some genres are still best on a PC you use for e-mail and spreadsheets.