Review by magusx666
"Quake 4 can be perfectly defined in four words: "The Paradigm of Fun.""
Uh-oh. A big name title that has little hype and has been feared for months by Quakers (fans of the Quake series) as being the game that will disappoint them and fail miserably. Crud. Or...is it?
When I heard about Quake 4, it was just a little caption saying that it was going to pick up after Quake 2, having you take on the Strogg again and there was a little picture of a Strogg. This excited me to no end. However, once I heard that official reviews were giving the game mediocre ratings, there was much talk of the game being awful, repetitive, boring, and other vicious rumors and fears. Up until the release day, I felt worried about what the game had to offer. Nevertheless, I went and picked up the game on its release date (the DVD special super duper edition), and popped it in. As the game started, the first thing I would notice was the game's phenomenal...
As of this moment, no released full version retail game that I have seen has graphics like these. The graphics in Quake 4 are fantastic, even on a slowly dwindling GeForce 5900 FX such as mine. Even if you set everything to LOW settings (aside from bump-mapping; bump-mapping is THE most important option as the character's faces go from looking blocky and wedge-like to looking fan-freaking-tastic) the game will look wonderful. While the world is not a beautiful Far Cry world, the world is still appealing, as the friendly and enemy structures, characters, weapons, etc. all look pleasing to the eye and fit in perfectly with the carried over and enhanced world of Quake II. But, while graphics are certainly note-worthy, they alone don't make a game. After all, good graphics would be offset if a game had poor...
The sound in this game is wonderful. The voice acting of the typical NPC is above average (not ridiculous like women who sound like men and male characters in their twenties sounding like they're in their sixties), featuring voice actors who sound convincing with voices that match their character (from what I could tell). Not only that, but the Rhino Squad (the squad you're in) has members that you will frequently speak to, and their voices are superb. The weapon sounds and other battle noises were well-chosen and fit perfectly in the world of its predecessor, Quake II. Audibly, one would think that Quake 4 was perfect, but that would be until hearing (if you can remember it) its...
As with many games, this is one of those that the music just didn't even once get stuck in my head. I truly cannot remember one song from this game. However, I never noticed a lack of music or anything that bugged me. Some games like Chrono Trigger have music that you will want to listen to often and will fill you with a nostalgic feeling of when you played the game. This isn't one of those games. Having good music is definitely one factor that makes a good game. It can really set the mood, and I can't help but feel that if new movies, games, and tv shows can do it, why can't a company like Id and Raven? Without at least one or two really memorable songs that I liked, then the music is quite flawed. However, the fact that I never asked "Hey! Where's the music?!" even once while playing and never said "Gah! This music is irritating!" meant that the game didn't have BAD music, but the game did manage to shy me away from noticing the unnoticable music with its...
This is the meat of the game...this is THE biggest thing in a game for me. Everything else affects a game's quality, but of all of them, this is the deciding factor. This is essentially how the game "feels" when you play it, what you do in the game, how FUN a game is (Fun is what games are all about. If you don't enjoy them, they're hardly games at all.)
That said, Quake 4 has the best gameplay of any game I've played in quite some time. Everything is divided up into little missions (just like Quake II!) that you can check without having to pause the game (just press and hold a key for a moment to read as you run about). The objectives are fairly clear and not too confusing. It is rare to get lost while looking for an objective. There were two instances during the entire game that I had to look around for a moment, and it took a maximum of five minutes to locate the way to my goal. In the spirit of the "old-school" Doom and Quake games, and most other older FPS games, Quake 4 continues the old tradition of letting you carry about five times your weight in weaponry, meaning you don't have to worry about not having the right weapon on hand to deal with your enemies (unless you go through ammo faster than toilet paper). What's also great is that unlike Doom 3, Id learned their lesson (at least I hope they did, for good) and didn't try to make the game something "new" by changing an old game's style of play. Quake 4 has a couple of new features, but at its core, it is a true sequel to Quake II. At times, it really felt like I was playing a shinier, better-looking, enhanced Quake II, and since I thought Quake II to be perfect, that was a very, very good thing. Also, the style of play is "run-and-gun," like in the "olden-times" as well. One last fun little tid-bit on my mind that's a bonus for Quake II fans is that most of the enemies from the original have been "evolved" into a more next-gen form of their former self that really works well.
As far as the new touches, there is the
*SPOILER (if you haven't seen the official Quake 4 trailer or read the box)*
Stroggification, which was actually spoiled in the game's advertising, unfortunately.
Sadly, if they had not mentioned that, I would have been shocked, amazed, flabbergasted, and every possible excited word you could think of. You'd think that would belong in the Story section, but since it affects your character gameplay-wise, I decided it fit better here. However, I do understand that they revealed something like that to make some sales and add in a "gimmick."
Another new "gimmicky" feature that a few FPS titles are gaining is the use of vehicles. While you don't use them for long, you are able to use two ground-based (mostly) vehicles in the game for unique, fun outdoor segments which are a nice break from the rest typical running around and shooting at things (which I think is fun, but taking an "in-game break" of sorts was refreshing) and makes you feel like you're covering a lot of area on the planet throughout the game.
The last attractive new feature has been done in a couple of other games, but really shines this time around: squad combat. About 55-60% of the game puts you with members of marine squads. This is just plain enjoyable because not only are they actually GOOD in fights and don't hinder you, but they often talk to you and you get to know them. When they leave you or die (depending on the story or whether you can keep them alive or not), you miss them but don't feel horribly alone because up until just before the end, you will have people join and leave you frequently, keeping the action and dialogue (though not a LOT of it) fun. Truly, Quake 4 was the most enjoyable (partially) squad-based single player campaign I've have the pleasure of playing. While the gameplay is to me, the most important, there are still other things that make up the game, one large part being the game's...
I was originally not going to rate this so high, as the plot isn't original in a sense that the world of Quake 4 was already created back in Quake II, but the way they presented your character, your missions, expanded the world of Stroggos, and your squad members really made a positive lasting impression on me. This time around, instead of the typical unnamed, unheard of marine, you get to be a marine with a name and a reputation. You're still a marine...but with depth! =p The missions serve as an enjoyable story-telling device that gives you a feeling of importance and progressing through the game's plot that man other games lack. Stroggos, the Strogg planet you're on during the course of the game, while not new, now has a little "language" that you can read if you decipher it (it looks kinda like English but freaky), and features many new types of Strogg structures, giving Quake II enthusiasts a bit more Strogg information to salivate over. Lastly in the story department, the squad members, which I have mentioned before, (for the most part) all have their own personalities and different attitudes toward the player. Since this game chooses to go down a fresh road and NOT automatically kill off every member of your squad within the first hour or two of the game, you are able to watch these characters' attitudes develop some and interact more with them. The squad was one of the best things about this game, plot, sound, and gameplay-wise. Only one more subject is left to discuss, and that is Quake 4's...
This was an area of Quake 4 that was actually a bit hyped and didn't seem to really deliver. Claims were that this would be just like Quake III, but better, in terms of multiplayer. While the graphics are better and a few new fun weapons and some old favorites all come together for an interesting and enjoyable mixture, it really doesn't feel as fun to me as Quake III. I always enjoyed doing "tricks" like having rocket jump contests, making human towers, getting into "secret" or hard to reach places on maps, etc., and I have yet to see anyone doing these things. I've tried rocket jumping, and while the damage you take seems far less than in Quake III (which is awesome for rocket jumping), the areas don't seem as rocket-jumper friendly. One thing that really upset me was a lack of player models/skins. It was great to be able to pick what you would look like out of a fairly large number of models. Quake 4 simply takes a few models from the game's cast and the developers believe that we don't care what our player model looks like. Unfortunately, fun little tricks, screwing around, and having various models are what made Quake III different from the average deathmatch game, and although technologically superior to Quake III, I personally feel that Quake 4 did not deliver in this department. So, now for my brief...
While the game's multiplayer (to me) is lacking and disappointing when compared to what everyone had been led to believe, and the music is hardly memorable, there are no other reasons NOT to get Quake 4. Unless you absolutely need multiplayer and that's your sole purpose in gaming, then you will likely enjoy Quake 4's surprisingly above average story (for a shooter), great sound (voice acting especially), over-the-top gameplay with the single-player campaign (particularly the squad interaction), and eye-pleasing state-of-the-art graphics. This game is a must have for fans of Quake II's single-player campaign. It feels just as fun and replayable as the games we knew and loved before the genre began getting bogged down with games that insist on trying new things, focusing only on the flash and shine of the hyped idea instead of making the game fun. This is just plain fun. =)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/04/05
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