Review by ultimate reaver

"If Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns, Quake 4 is Doom 3 on Stroggos"

I don't have a lot of background to put into this review, as I'm unsure why I bought this game. I absolutely loved everything about the first Quake, and Quake 2 was almost as good. I hated Quake 3, because they completely threw the awesome single player experience in exchange for an Unreal Tournament clone.

Quake 4 is better than Quake 3, but that's just because they have a coherent story once more. But it's nowhere near the simplistic genius of the first 2. The worst part, really, is I can't help but draw comparisons to doom 3.

STORY: 7/10

The story of Quake 4 is quite simple; your typical space marine thriller. You are Matthew Kane, a scout for Rhino Squad. You, along with several other squads, are earth's hand in a war against the evil Strogg, an alien race that grows in number with every dead human. Now that Bitterman, the main character of Quake 2, has killed the Strogg overlord and made it so humans can land in the area, you pick up where he left off.

Beyond a few twists and turns, there isn't a whole lot to say about the story. I liked the personality of the Rhino Squad members, but that was it. Am I the only one that misses the admittedly minimal, yet interesting story of the original Quake's dark castles and evil demons?

GRAPHICS: 6/10

Just like Doom 3's graphics, but touched up a bit, but beyond that, this game looks quite last gen. I never really cared for the graphics in Doom 3 either; everyone looked strange and lumpy, and the environment appeared to be made out of plastic. But that's fine; graphics don't make or break a game. Gameplay does.

What really bugged me is the similarity in some character models to the previous game; the basic strogg soldiers look like imps, the berserkers look like hell knights, etc. Just a little thing, but enough to lower the score for me.

SOUND: 8/10

Nothing really stood out to me, but I never had a problem with the sound. There isn't a lot of music, but when it kicks in it's nice. The guns are more than passable as well, and listening to the enemies speak Strogg is always fun. Voice overs are fine, and with actual variety, unlike Doom 3 where mars seemed to be populated by clones of Steven Blum. Overall, nothing special, but nothing terrible either.

GAMEPLAY: 7/10

Shooting and moving in Quake 4 is not a problem. It's quite a bit slower than in previous installments, but that's to be expected; FPS has evolved beyond everyone moving like they're on PCP... Unfortunately, the guns aren't quite as interesting as they used to be. The usual shooting segments are also mixed with the nowadays-obligatory vehicle level that has you driving a hovertank. These segments are not only fantastically easy, but also fantastically dull.

Most of the old guns from Quake 2 have made a return.. Scratch that, I think all of them have except the super shotgun, which is a pity. But that unfortunately works against the game- it just doesn't mix things up enough beyond the basic rockets and lasers. They did add a small few things, like the Nailgun (which works nothing like the nailgun in Quake), but none interesting enough to warrant notice. There are also gun upgrades in the game, which sound interesting, but unfortunately are found in a linear path rather than having to be hunted.

Most enemies have also made a re-appearance, and those that didn't have gotten replacements. None of them are really hard to bring down, though- you get a huge amount of ammo and armor in this game seemingly at all times. I quickly realized I had to start on Hard difficulty to get anything out of this game. This is balanced by the fact that in good stretches of the game, you have a team of two or three men following you, usually with the abilities to pump your armor and health to full whenever you get scratched. It's nice to have buddies to fight with, but it makes everything a lot easier.

The problem this game really has is lack of variety overall. In Quake 2, you were going all over, from dark watery facilities to lava-filled excavation sites. In Quake 4, you're almost always confined to the strogg facility or the trenches. There aren't any cool secrets to find, because you never need the ammo or armor they yield, and there are no items like quad damages and energy shields to collect at all. There isn't enough in this game to set it apart from it's contemporaries.

REPLAY VALUE: 6/10

I played it once and I was done with it, much like Doom 3- once you've played it once, you'll know where all the enemies spring out of, and the story will become a bit of a nuisance that slows things down. Really, I only found myself coming back to the bonus disc included with this game- which includes a full port of Quake 2 on it. Quite cool, but.. It also means that the best part of buying Quake 4 wasn't Quake 4 itself. Sad, really.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/09

Game Release: Quake 4 (US, 11/18/05)


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