Quake 4 - The First 15
Quake 4 – First 15
The Quake series has to be one of the top three FPS franchises of all time, alongside Doom and Half Life. The original defined all that an FPS should be, spawning a slew of shooters that defined one of the most popular genres ever to hit the PC. So with a pedigree such as the Quake games have, Quake 4 is one of the most eagerly anticipated shooters this year. Here’s our first impressions…
Quake 4 picks up where Quake 2 left off with the Marines continuing their attack on the Strogg home planet. In fact, early on in the game one of the AI characters tell you all about the lone marine who managed to destroy the ‘Big Gun’ and allow the invasion to continue, which is the role you played in Quake 2.
The first thing that you’ll notice as soon as you get into the meat of Quake 4 is just how similar it looks to Doom 3. On the graphics front the original Quake was very brown, Quake 2 was brown and grey and now Quake 4 may well end up being known as Doom 3 under a new name. In fact, purely as a first impression, I couldn’t help but think that Quake 4 is the game Doom 3 should have been!
Sticking with the graphics for a little longer, it has to be said that the game world is far more detailed and realistic than any previous Quake games, but id have managed to get across that ‘Quake feeling’ very well indeed. Of the previous efforts, I’d argue that Quake 2 had the most atmosphere and feeling of a war going on around you and Quake 4 nicely builds on that. In the first few minutes of play you’ll spend time just having a mooch around and appreciating the scenery and the outside sections, though not large, do convey a sense of being in the middle of a battle.
New to the Quake series with Quake 4 is the frequent squad based gameplay that sees you teaming up with various characters to achieve objectives set for you as you play through the game. There’s little interaction with these guys though, you can’t command them or tell them where to go, they just trail along behind you but the extra firepower comes in very handy when you meet the Strogg in force. This is a welcome relief after Doom 3’s teasing of joining up with your squad for the first half of the game but still leaving you as a single player.
Another big plus over Doom 3 is that mounting a flashlight on your weapon is a technology that hasn’t been lost in the future, though only the machine gun can carry a torch in the early stages (I say this because I’ve only played for a little while so far, so there might be other weapons that have torches as well later on). Quake 4 uses Doom 3’s tricks of killing the lighting as you enter an area, but it’s done with more finesse than Doom 3 and I’ve yet to encounter any Strogg bursting out from behind wall panels and the like, which is a bonus as that idea is tired, old and well past its sell by date.
First impressions are that Quake 4 doesn’t actually bring anything new to the genre at all, other than making better use of the Doom 3 engine than Doom 3 itself. Controls are you basic FPS standard with no ‘use’ function, you just get a cursor appear when you’re near a button you can press. Gameplay itself feels very similar to Doom 3 and the original Quake games, but with far less emphasis on gathering items to slot into various bits of machinery to let you progress. Doom 3 over-played this, making you feel like a repair man rather than a kick-ass Marine. Happily Quake 4 avoids this… or so far it has avoided it. Playing Quake 4 is almost a nostalgic experience and for those that played the first two games, especially Quake 2, you’ll be constantly reminded of them.
So first impressions? There’s nothing new to the genre from Quake 4, but it’s an enjoyable blast nonetheless. I suppose it’s a bit like Slade bringing out ‘Merry Christmas’ every December, it’s nothing new, but enjoyable enough for what it is.
Big ass screenies and more in just a wee while...