Quake 4 Review
The single-player is great fun, but the uninspired multiplayer leaves a lot to be desired.
- Sharp single-player campaign
- Some of the best graphics around
- Weapon upgrades make you rethink how you use your arsenal along the way.
- Multiplayer sticks too close to Quake III's blueprint
- Kind of a resource hog
- Vehicle sequences are a little too basic.
While Doom was the game that would make id Software a gaming-household name in the early '90s, over the years, the company shifted its focus away from the Doom games. As PC hardware and 3D acceleration became better and better, id became much more focused on engine development. Those engines were the underlying technology that powered the games in the Quake series, which began in 1996. Quake was among the first PC first-person shooters to let you take your multiplayer matches onto the Internet, and over the years, the series has become synonymous with great technology and exciting multiplayer. Now, in 2005, the roles of id's games have reversed a bit. The company's most recent engine is the one built for Doom 3, and Quake 4 runs on this same engine. Furthermore, Quake 4 wasn't even developed by id internally; it instead outsourced game development to the capable minds at Raven Software, who have turned in a fantastic-looking game with a great single-player campaign. The multiplayer, however, is underwhelming.
The three previous Quake games have all had very little to do with one another. The first game's story almost felt more like a retelling of Doom, dealing with inappropriately opened portals that spew out all sorts of horrific demons. Quake II ditched that storyline in favor of an Earth-versus-alien conflict that had you crash-landing on the alien homeworld in search of revenge. Quake III Arena was multiplayer focused, with no true single-player storyline other than that a wide collection of warriors--some taken from the Doom and Quake games--had been pulled out of their own timelines and into this futuristic battle arena. Quake 4 doubles back and picks up where Quake II left off. That nameless space marine from Quake II has apparently killed the Makron, the leader of the Strogg forces, and now it's up to you to get in there and try to finish the job. But, of course, things aren't quite what they seem.
In Quake 4, you play as a space marine named Matthew Kane, who has recently been assigned to Rhino Squad. In keeping with first-person shooter storyline tradition, Kane doesn't speak, but the marines around you will more than make up for the lack of chatter coming out of Kane's lips. You're the new guy, and some of the squad's even betting that you won't even survive for one day. With the Makron assumed dead, your squad is taking part in an operation to take advantage of the disarray and mop up the rest of the enemy forces on the Strogg planet. But your drop ship gets hit and comes down hard, killing a large chunk of your squadmates at the opening of the game. From there, you'll pull yourself up out of the muck and get down to business.
Eventually, your squad will get extracted back to a capital ship for reassignment. Here, you'll get to explore the ship, similar to how you could explore Voyager in Raven's Elite Force games. Then you're back out on a new mission designed to disrupt the Strogg communication network. And the story continues from there. While the story itself isn't particularly gripping, it's designed well enough to keep you interested in what's happening. There's also a potentially interesting plot twist in the game that, unfortunately, was revealed by id Software almost immediately, when the company first started talking about and showing off the game. We won't repeat it here, in case you've managed to stay away, because we have to imagine that the twist would have been a lot more interesting if you didn't see it coming. Just know that a few interesting things happen in the game, but they don't totally change the way the game is played or anything like that.
For the most part, Quake 4 is a standard, straightforward shooter in its single-player mode. While the minute-to-minute objectives might not be the most interesting thing in the world, the game's combat is generally pretty satisfying. It's almost as if Raven set out to prove that the Doom 3 engine could do more than just constantly try to surprise you, one enemy at a time. That's not to say that Quake 4's hallways are littered with angry enemies, but Quake 4 is definitely a much more hectic game than Doom 3 ever was. While you'll still deal with a lot of shadowy areas, this is less about making you jump out of your seat and more about running and gunning. When matched with the game's amazing graphical design, the single-player becomes an exciting thrill ride that, on the default difficulty setting, should take you somewhere around 10 to 15 hours to complete.
In the end, first-person shooters still come down to their armory. In Quake 4, you'll be armed with a fairly standard collection of weapons that may have originated in the Quake II universe--but that doesn't mean they're all identical. You'll start the game with only a blaster, which has infinite ammo and can be charged up for a more powerful shot. But this quickly gives way to the machine gun, which is versatile enough that you'll probably be relying on it throughout the entire game. That's mostly because the machine gun has a flashlight mounted on it. Even though the game isn't trying to spook you by having enemies jump out of the shadows, seeing better is always a good thing. Plus, lighting up some dark corners is a good way to find extra ammo and armor.
- Player Reviews: 603
- Game Universe:
- Quake III Arena (PC, MAC, DC),
- Quake (PC, N64, SAT, MAC, MOBILE, ZB),
- Quake II (PC, N64, PS, MAC, ZB),
- Quake 4 (PC, X360, UNIX, MAC),
- Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (X360, PC, PS3, MAC, UNIX),
- Quake III: Team Arena (PC, MAC),
- Ultimate Quake (PC),
- Quake III Revolution (PS2),
- Quake II Netpack I: Extremities (PC),
- Zaero: Mission Pack for Quake II (PC)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online