Review by JW ACE

Reviewed: 02/27/06

Who knew Quake could have a good single player?

Quake 4 is the latest installment of the popular, and in some cases revolutionary, Quake series. This game is actually a direct sequel to Quake 2, at least in the single player. This is because Quake 3 had no single player, only a “bot” replication of its multi-player. Unlike both Quake 2 and 3, in number 4 it’s actually the single player that saves the game.

This game uses the Doom3 engine. This has its ups and downs. I must admit, I personally did not think the “outdoor” levels would look all that great. However, Raven made it work, the levels look nice. Not to mention, it shines with the “indoor” levels, which was what the Doom3 engine was made for. The character models look a little better than in Doom3, but they are still not all that great. The enemies look really cool though, it would appear this engine is more suited for creating aliens and demons, than humans. On the down side, you will need a better pc than the one used for Doom3, because Raven did beef up the engine in some spots, making it require more power.

Just like in Doom3, the sound is great. The 5.1 surround sound isn’t taken advantage of, as it was in Doom, but all the battle sounds and explosions are top notch.

There is nothing special about the controls. Your basic First Person Shooter setup is used, very simple.

Game play
There are many ups and downs about the game play in this game. First, the action is very fast paced. You feel like you are in a war against these aliens called the Strogg. You have teammates with you during some levels; you group up with convoy’s to protect them, and so on. There is a good balance between how much you play with teammates and what you play alone. In a nutshell, the environment is much different than in Doom 3, which is to be expected. You will get the feeling of being at war. Plus, there are some levels where you are able to just walk around and explore. Raven is slowly becoming famous for those levels, which add to the atmosphere of their games, including this one.

Of course, the coolest part is when you get “Stroggified”. You get captured about halfway through the game and are turned into a Strogg, but are rescued before the “finishing touches” are put into place. Unfortunately, the only cool thing about this is watching the sequence in which you get “Stroggified”. You get more armor, and can use Strogg health stations, but that is about it. The only significance in the story is that you are able to bypass Strogg security.

Another downside to this game is the boss battles. With exception to the very final boss, none of the bosses require too much creative strategy. Just take out your biggest gun and shoot. The final boss is actually quite well done. There is also a point in the game where you have to kill some huge creature to move on, but it’s stationary, so I would not call it a boss. I must admit, however, that the build-up to each boss is down very well. One of them keeps chasing you around from time to time until a final showdown. As stated before, it’s a shame it only ends up being a clicking battle to kill him.

For multi-player, it’s a very mixed bag. About 90% of the multi-player is beefed-up Quake 3. This is both good and bad. Personally, I did not like any part of Quake 3. So the multi-player of this game did not have any lasting effect. However, many people did like Quake 3, and will most likely enjoy the fast action on some of the redesigned levels. It seems that the real multi-player is going to be Quake Wars, which is currently being developed by Splash Damage, the makers of Enemy Territory.

Overall, the main problem is that both the single and multi-player games lack any real creativity. The single player is fun, but any experienced FPS player should breeze through the game. The multi-player isn’t anything to get excited about, but fans of the previous game should enjoy it. What saves this game, believe it or not, is the story. Combine that with solid, but not great, single player game play, and this ends up being an ok game. There are also some sections of the game that were fun to play, even if they were few and far between.

If you want some fast paced action in a sci-fi environment, and some old school boss battles, this game is for you. However, don’t get this game expecting great multi-player though, because it does not really have it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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