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Quake 4

1 rating: 2.0
Shooter / FPS video game by Activision for the Xbox 360

QUAKE 4TM is the first game to utilize id Software's revolutionary DOOM 3TM technology. In the game, you are Matthew Kane, an elite member of Rhino Squad and Earth's valiant invasion force. Fight alone, with your squad, and in hover tanks and mechanized … see full wiki

Release Date: November, 2005
1 review about Quake 4

Quake 4 - Deja vu all over again

  • Dec 24, 2005
Rating:
+2
Pros: intense action, fun gameplay, good graphics and sound

Cons: Nothing new, no innovative gameplay or pushing the genre

The Bottom Line: A decent First-person shooter that plays it too safe.

Quake 4 is the next in the line of 1st person shooters from pioneering developer ID software. This version was ported to the Xbox 360 by Raven Software and published by Activision. Unfortunately, the impressive pedigree does nothing but continue the suspicion that ID is a one-trick pony.

•• Story ••
The story is incidental. You are a Marine going to a war-ravaged alien planet to fight the Strogg, the same part human, part machine, part alien enemies that you did in Quake 2. The story takes significant twist midway so that you are not playing a marine the entire game. I won't give it away, but if you've read any previews of the game, you know the secret. If you've played Doom 3, you'll see that these two franchises are becoming rehashes of each other.

•• Gameplay ••
Quake 4 is a first person shooter. For those who don't know, a FPS is puts the player in the eyes of the character. You see the weapon in front of you and you walk through the 3d world shooting things. Where you look, your character looks. Like no other genre of game, you are the character.

As a FPS, the game is not terrible, it's just nothing new. The controls are the same as is the damage/point model. The triggers fire, the thumbsticks control movement. The buttons switch weapons and turn on the flashlight. The layout has not been changed from most other FPS on the console and that's a good thing, There's no reason to reinvent the wheel every time. People familiar with FPS games will be able to pickup and shoot.

This is good since that's all there is to this game. Run and gun is the name of the game and the bad guys come fast and furious. There are a few enemies, but they all tend to look alike. They are all basically alien/machine lifeforms that resemble zombies. They all have roughly the same coloring and are the same size, except for the bosses. This doesn't make for the most interesting gameplay.

The health model is archaic and dates back to the original Doom. You have a health number starting at 100 and as you take damage that number simply goes down. Hit 0 and you die. While there's nothing wrong with this, other games have gone further such as Halo and Perfect Dark Zero. Of course, you can heal with medpacks and any nearby medics. But the model is the same.

The puzzles and objectives in this game are run of the mill as well. Go rescue the medic, escort your team to the dropship, etc etc. Pull a switch here to raise the bridge. This is the kind of stuff that has been done for years in FPS titles.

One interesting point to note is that in the campaign there is no friendly fire. If you aim your reticule over a friendly, you get his name and position. In this state, you can't shoot. So many times, you'll be holding down the trigger and a friendly will come running through your path. There will be a pause in your firing as the friendly goes past. This seems awkward and unrealistic.

Along those lines, I do like the fact that each person in your regiment has a duty. The medic will heal you, the commander will lead, the tech will equip you with shields. Very useful, but it doesn't always work. Apparently, your team has to be in a certain state before the medic can heal you. Several times, my health was really low and I couldn't get the medic to heal me until we hit some sort of checkpoint.

It should be noted that the load times on this game are terrible. God help you if you die and restart from your last checkpoint. I clocked the load time in this case to be nearly 30 seconds. This may not seem like a lot, but it really is, especially as the game gets harder and you die more often.

The built-in feature of Xbox 360, Achievements, once again adds some replay value and depth. Want to play the game with our own style? Great, go for it. Want to get achievements? Then you better read carefully. Some of them require you to use a certain weapon for an entire level, or complete it on a certain difficulty or rank. The achievements really change the way you play and add variety to a game that is sorely lacking in it.

•• Graphics ••
The graphics of Quake 4 are fantastic as expected from a next generation title. The frame rate never dips even during frantic firefights. The models are complex and the textures highly detailed, obviously high-resolution. But they suffer from the same problem as Doom3: They are repetitive and dark. Since most of the action takes place underground, there is a lot of darkness and shadow. This is cool to some extent, but I found myself just running around with my flashlight constantly on. I don't think this is what the designers anticipated because then it ruins their "scares" of some monster jumping out of the shadows.

The environments are either small and claustrophobic, or large outside maps. They are nicely detailed and most objects can be pushed or moved. This doesn't seem to serve much purpose other than eye candy and possibly being able to move things for cover. But that's about it. These objects are extremely detailed and it's obvious that ID has an excellent art team. Aside from the repetitive nature and overall dull color scheme, the art is excellent.

The character models stand out as being quite good. The lip-syncing looks fluid and semi-natural, better than any other in-game models I've seen. There is limited variety to the human characters since they are all marines with buzz cuts. Despite this, they do look good.

•• Sound ••
If there is music in this game, I totally tuned it out because I can't remember a lick of it. Seriously.

The Voice-over work, on the other hand, is pretty good by video game standards. There is quite a bit of marine chatter which always adds a nice touch to the ambiance. The instructions are given in game by characters in front of you and they can often be drowned out by some of the environmental sounds, but they usually aren't saying anything important anyway.

The weapons sound great and are wholly varied. The rattle of the nail gun is brutal and the explosion of the shotgun will rattle your teeth. Along with that, the enemies are creepy sounding and have interesting weapons sounds as well. On the whole, the sound is was a focal part of the game and I'm glad to see, er, hear that.

•• Multiplayer ••
In what can only be described as a throwback to earlier times, the game supports 8 players online in the same types of multiplayer games we've been seeing for years: deathmatch, capture the flag, and tournament. While this is a tried and true formula, it is another way that ID has not advanced the genre with this title. The addition of ranked matches is nice, but doesn't add tremendous depth. For those who like instant, intense action, this is a good choice. For those who are looking for the variety that Halo2 or Perfect Dark Zero have to offer, then this is not the game for you.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and it is well deserved. The opening cinema feature bloodied, dismembered bodies floating through space, some up close, some far away. It is full of gore and bloody action. You even get the opportunity to have a first-person view of your own body getting sliced and dismembered. Turn this one on after the kiddies go to bed.

••Conclusion ••
Quake 4 is not bad a game, it just isn't great. It was obviously developed for the hard-core Quake fans and the people who like to pick up a controller and jump into the action. For those who like that style of gameplay, you can't go wrong here. Those looking for story depth and complex gameplay might be disappointed.



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