One reviewer gives it one star and says it "turned into Quake 3 death match with vehicles", rubbish. Another ex-battlefield player claims it's 'glitchy', as a battlefield veteran myself I can tell you that compared with the battlefield series it's a bug free heaven. He also claims to have played the game twice ...
TBO I played it for an hour and didn't like it. It was only when I read the manual and had another go whilst off work with flu that I realised what I was supposed to be doing and realised what a good game ETQW is. Check out the quake wars forums and you'll see many many threads that start "I played this the first time this morning and it's rubbish" and end a week later with "actually it's great" and here lies the rub.
It's quite complicated for a shooter; it's quite different and it takes some working out, perhaps more than many players are prepared to commit.
Unlike BF2142 (to which it is often wrongly compared, the games are nothing like each other, though there are similarities in the graphics) this is no 'team death match with flags'.
Each game has a time limit, during which one team must complete a series of objectives whilst the other tries to stop them. Objectives are pretty varied and range from hacking and blowing up enemy equipment, to repairing it to escort missions.
Players choose one of 5 classes, each comes with a selection of weapons (e.g. the soldier can be either a heavy machine gun or rocket launcher guy depending on the selection you make before spawning). Classes for each of the game's sides are subtlely different, e.g. GDF medics can revive players instantly with shock paddles whereas the Strogg take several seconds and get to create 'spawn hosts' from the corpses of their fallen enemies, allowing players to respawn mid-battle field.
Similarly, the vehicles used by the two are far from identical e.g. the strogg have the 'icarus' jetpac where GDF have high speed quad bikes.
Players earn experience by completing missions (these can be anything from the game's main mission objectives, such as driving/escorting a mobile command base to it's destination, to repairing vehicles, constructing defensive turrets or blowing up troublesome barriers). Experience is earned in several categories (e.g. vehicles, light weapons) depending on a player's actions. As they earn experience their abilities in each of these fields increase, e.g. weapon magazine size increases or the player can call for vehicle drops in the field. This is all enhanced by 'campaign mode' where groups of three maps are played and each player carries over rewards from one map to another.
Much criticized is the lack of VOIP support but this was added in the latest patch, not that it's widely used, the in came chat is that well implemented.
Anyhoo the two sides spawn repeatedly and charge towards the current crunch point(s), shoot at each other and duke it out until either one of them completes all the required objectives or the timer runs out. Oh, and it's all quite good fun! Hope that helps
Not for everyone perhaps, some people just don't 'get it' and games are long (1/2hr min to 1 and a half for a full campaign). The best advice I can give is to try the demo before you buy. Bizarrely, the excellent tutorial videos that shipped with the alpha of the game were pulled from the final product. They're definitely worth watching, search youtube for 'quake wars tutorial' and you'll find them.
Finally give the game time, work it all out and, like me, you might just get hooked!