Enemy Front review

Enemy Front review

Enemy Front review

by June 19, 2014

A war-torn Warsaw apartment courtyard is littered with Nazi soldiers on patrol; they’ve gunned me down a half-dozen times. I try picking them off from afar–I’m dead in minutes. I rush them head-on, submachine guns ablaze like 1940s Rambo, but they take me down. Frustrated and baffled, I restart the mission (again) and spot an open window in a building off in the distance. I carefully creep over to it and pull myself in. A couple of minutes and a handful of stealth kills later, I sneak into the armory I have to sabotage and accomplish my mission. I haven’t suffered as much as a flesh wound, and the bulk of the soldiers remain milling around outside oblivious to my actions. You can mow down hundreds of soldiers in Enemy Front, a World War II-era shooter, but you’ll soon come to realize you’ll enjoy it more when you don’t.

Enemy Front puts you in the shoes of an intrepid American reporter covering the war’s more inglorious theaters. Though it’s packaged as a first-person shooter, it feels more like a puzzle game with guns. Case in point: I’m early in the single-player campaign, and I need to blow up a bridge in the French countryside. The main path to my objective is stocked with a half-dozen Nazi strongholds, and when I’m spotted, all the soldiers come pouring out as though they’re controlled by an alien hive mind. After dying over and over again, I accidentally discover an alternate path that lets me flank everyone, sneak my way to the bridge, then watch it come tumbling down without firing a shot. That discovery makes me feel smarter, and it’s far more rewarding than blasting away hordes of enemies.

If you’re saying to yourself “oh man, I hate stealth games”, don’t sweat it; Enemy Front still gives you plenty of opportunities to blow stuff up. There are scads of missions where you rush through bombed-out buildings in close-quarters combat, manning machine guns, sniping from church towers, and destroying tanks with Panzerfausts. These action segments are smart punctuation to the larger missions where stealth is clearly the best path to success.