Review by Bowser05
"Not Given Enough Credit"
Quake, id Software's first entrance into the world of 3-D FPS. Ever since then Quake has done a pretty good job of adding something new to the FPS world. We have some of the best deathmatch coming from Quake, an actually decent (not the best but at least it is there) story coming from Quake II, and Quake III Arena going back to its multiplayer roots and multiplying that over 10 fold. True, the Quake series by many may not be considered the best in FPS, but it can't be denied that it holds its place in the charts nonetheless. Quake IV takes everything to a whole new level. I think it is unfair to be comparing Quake IV to Doom 3 merely because they use they same engine, they are not of the same series. It is like comparing Hexen II to Quake II merely because they used the same engine, although they are completely different games. Enough ranting though, time to get to the review.
Doom 3 Engine. Shouldn't that say enough? Considering the Doom 3 Engine worked wonders for small internal places. I wondered how Quake IV would be able to make any good use of this (since Quake tends to have larger areas) without destroying our PCs. It worked though. The game looks absolutely beautiful, and it improves on Doom 3 graphics by a bit. One notable mention is that the models for the enemies are done with a lot better artistic work than Doom 3 was (don't get me wrong they were darn good too!). It is still a little dark in places but the lighting is pretty darn good. It isn't dark outside which is good and it is dark where it logically should be dark for a alien installation like that. All-in-all this is a very beautiful looking game, unfortunately you need a killer computer to fully enjoy this aspect.
Voice acting is great in this, although often there is comm link and soldier talking at the same time so you don't understand. For the most part though the sound is great and gets you in the mood. Monster sounds are almost real sounding sometimes, guns sound like guns, ambient sounds are great as well. There are two things that hinder this score. The first is that footsteps are barely noticable which doesn't make any sense. Second is that the music, while I do admit it is good, isn't used enough. Quake II had a magnificent soundtrack to go with the game I think, but this only had event music. For an action FPS like this that is a drawback. They could have at least had a bit more music.
Basic FPS control nothing out of the ordinary here. Why does it get a 10 then? Because since it requires little use of other buttons besides the basic move and shoot, it isn't really complicated enough to get any real criticism.
FPS games have too much expected out of them nowadays, and the best part of the game is often overlooked now. Is it fun? Yes, this is very fun. No real puzzles so it isn't mind boggling or challenging, but the action never calms down enough to bore you. It just gets better and better as you go on. Actually has really good boss battles too, haven't seen that in recent FPS games either. Why a 9 and not a 10 then? There are three parts in the game introduced (one especially) that are underplayed. You get to use a tank once in the game, yes only once. You get to use a mech in the game, only once yet again. Vehicles are very fun in a game but this felt like a tease almost, although the sequences were fairly decent length they should have made better use of them. Third? I would say this is a spoiler but it was revealed in the trailer so forgive me. When you get turned into a Strogg, you don't really get any special powers or anything. Whereas I know at least Area 51 does give you extra powers (there was another game don't remember). They tried to make it such a big twist but it just didn't really add to the gameplay, it is just there to move story along. That was disappointing. It is a fun game though so don't let that discourage you.
It is a pretty straightforward story. Alien wants to destroy humans, humans want to destroy them first. As far as how it progresses in the game it progresses greatly. I am not giving this a high score because the story is cinematic and pulls you in right away, it doesn't pull you in because it is so interesting, it pulls you in because it is so simple it is easy to accept and not question. High score the progression of the story runs beatifully, for what part of the story there is, and I feel that is very important. Even if the best story in the universe is in a game, if it progresses in a strange fashion (i.e. with dull moments) than it isn't as good anymore. Just don't expect a Final Fantasy VII out of this. Expect something mildly better than Doom 3 with better progression.
Multiplayer(7/10 Doesn't Factor Into Total Score):
Why I don't factor this? Because the Multiplayer feels like a totally different game almost, only with the same weapons. The multiplayer is indeed very fun like Singleplayer, but for different reasons. Think Quake III Arena, except with Quake IV guns and (I think) a little more fast paced. This game borrows from other Quake games for maps and has a few original. Considering Quake has always had good maps and good multiplayer, this is sort of limiting, especially since the amount of original maps aren't enough. It is good though, especially if you liked Quake III Arena but liked Quake/II's guns better. Modes are the same as always CTF, DM, TDM, Tourney, and ACTF (CTF with power-ups). The multiplayer tones down graphics a little so it doesn't eat system to make it impossible to play with 12 people online. I liked that because I can't really play Doom 3 Expansion online even with my high-end comp and cable connection. So it is good fast-paced multiplayer, but it doesn't add much new that is the problem.
So now for the final verdict: (9.1/10)
This overall is a great game and isn't given enough credit for the type of game it is (straightforward action FPS). Don't forget that id Software has a record for getting killer player made mods for its games, so on top of how good it is now, it can be even better later.
This game is worth buying off the shelf if you are into action-FPS, but if you are looking for story oriented game play, dload a demo or play at a friends house first (if the demo is out?).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/04/05
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