Review by antHraxz

Reviewed: 08/17/06

Is That a Dark Matter Gun In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Quake 4 is a game that has been eagerly awaited by fans of the series for a long time. Since Quake III was a multiplayer focused affair, fans dying to know what happens next with the rag-tag group of marines had to wait almost a decade for a new Quake to pick up with Quake II left off. It's finally here, so lets go frag us some Strogg.

Quake 4 starts you off as, Matthew Kane, a soldier in the elite Rhino Squad. You start off the game via your squad's ship crashing on the Strogg home planet of... *pause for anticipation* Stroggos. Basically, humanity is taking the fight directly to the weird cyborg-human-alien things this time. Your goal throughout the game is pretty much the same - kill as many Strogg as you can, and make it as bloody as possible. Alright, now it's time for my favorite part of reviews, the nitty gritty details.

First let's start with how the game looks. Of course, since this game was a launch title for the Xbox 360, most people expected it to look amazing. In truth, it looks decent as a next gen game, but the graphics don't really blow you away unless your computer is really, really old and you haven't purchased a console since the Dreamcast. With that being said, the game still looks great. The environments, guns, your fellow marines and Strogg enemies all look crisp and sharp. Texture work is a little lacking when you get up close and personal with walls and control panels, but what can you expect from a launch game? Right? Things kind of turn sour when you get into really hectic gun fights (or later on those dreaded tram rides), however. This is the time where the frame rate decides to go last, last, last gen and drop to single digits where it becomes a $60 Powerpoint presentation (especially during the aforementioned tram rides later in the game). While these frame rate drops don't happen constantly, they occur enough where some might just forget about this version and give the PC version a go instead.

Next up is the sound department. I think this is where the game shines. You won't hear much music (that would just make it less nerve racking), but what little music is there seemed to be orchestrated pretty well. Speech and sound effects are, overall, really good. Human marines talk to you when they want you to accomplish a task. A minor problem here is the speech seems really quiet. Every time a marines talked to me I found myself turning up the volume to hear what he was saying. Then, of course, I forget to turn it down, and when I encounter an enemy I get blasted by the volume and wet my pants. The sound effects are also pretty good for the most part, but some of the guns sound like toys rather than futuristic bringers of death. For instance, the machine gun sounds like fire crackers popping off whenever it's fired.

Gameplay wise, the game plays pretty much like it's predecessors and also like Doom 3. You get an arsenal of 10 or so guns to help you blast your way through the Strogg compound. Controls are standard FPS fare so don't expect a FPS gaming revolution. Also, the controls are all responsive and quick so if you die, you can't blame it on the controls (unless you are in a lag filled part). Quake 4 is a dark game (what iD made game isn't?) so a flashlight is key to survival in some spots. Instead of the stupid system in Doom 3 where they couldn't just duct tape the flashlight onto the gun, these marines are smarter and went to battle with guns with flashlights already attached to them. Not a big innovation, but it just makes more sense to me. Quake 4 has single player and multiplayer modes. Stupid thing is, they chose not to include multiplayer on the same console so they only option you have is either to system link or play on Xbox Live. The single player is pretty lengthy for FPS standards. It's even longer if you're a wuss and inch your way through the levels.

Overall, Quake 4 is a competent shooter for 360 owners. Of course, if your PC can run it, I'd go with that version over this one any day. If it can't, and you're looking for your Quake fix and don't mind some lag here and there, then look no further. What you'll get is a pretty good port of a game that's dark and tense, but fun enough to keep you sucked in until the end.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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