April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

QuakeQuake. The name alone brings up a countless number of fond memories for gamers worldwide. It is one of the most popular and best selling game franchises of all time. So popular it is, in fact, that there is an entire gaming convention named after it. The effect the Quake series had on gaming, particularly multiplayer gaming, is innumerous. A groundbreaking shooter, Quake created entirely new bounds and expectations in the genre.

Despite all of its accomplishments, the history and tradition of a franchise of games means nothing when looking at the quality of the newest installment. What the predecessors has accomplished doesn’t make a game any better. Having said that, Quake 4 has officially hit shelves and attempts to bring gaming history to the present with a new graphics engine, a new story, and the same old Quake lovin’.

However, gamers probably shouldn’t be quite so quick to celebrate the arrival of Quake 4. It isn’t the messiah of video games. It isn’t a savior by any means. Hell, it sadly doesn’t
even break any new boundaries like its predecessors did. Instead of providing countless hours of constant enjoyment, Quake 4 actually provides strong feelings of nostalgia. It
just feels like the same old thing. Been there, done that, played it before kind of feeling. Although die hard fans of the series no doubt exalt the arrival of Quake 4, the game is not
likely to win over many new followers.

The Xbox 360 version of Quake 4, in particular, holds true to the Quake name in terms of console installments of the series. Despite being similar in terms of content to its PC
counterpart, Quake for the Xbox 360 has been scaled down a lot, too much in fact, and doesn’t offer that great of an experience at all. Plainly put, the game is actually quite
clunky and unrefined.

While Quake 4 still boasts pretty good graphics, on the Xbox 360 they really aren’t overly impressive. They tend to be sparkly and shiny, sure, but they don’t tote the power
of the system itself. The graphics really don’t even appear to be next-gen at all. The textures can be jaggedy and refined at times, the character animations can be clunky and funny looking, and the whole game has a slight fuzzy feel to it. Even with all of this scaling down to fit the Xbox 360, the game still experiences slow downs and tends to run pretty poorly at times. The frame rate slows down to very low levels in any kind of tense firefight, really dragging any sort of enjoyment away from the experience.

The story in the game really isn’t much and doesn’t deserve much mentioning, but needless to say, gamers will find themselves in plenty of large firefights with some pretty
crazy looking enemies. The game is fast paced, action packed, and quite gory (in a beautiful way, however).

First person shooters rely on great weapons. Sadly, Quake 4 doesn’t pack any weapons really worth remembering. Granted, there are a lot of fun weapons to use, too many of
them feel recycled from previous Quake games and bear too much resemblance to weapons from other games. Even with bearing resemblance, in most cases they aren’t as
good as the weapons that they are similar to. On the whole, the arsenal is pretty bland and unoriginal, just basic in their design. Nothing to be awed over.

In fact, each weapon just feels clunky and each has its own problems. None feels truly devastating in either their design, the way they fire, the damage they do, or even the special effects from the resulting shots. Quake is known for devastating, well designed weapons, and Quake 4 simply doesn’t contain those weapons.

The multiplayer modes are basically carbon copies of the multiplayer modes to be found in previous Quake titles, particularly Quake 3. If you don’t feel nostalgia at this point, it can be deduced that you have never played a Quake game before. Don’t get me wrong, the multiplayer, particularly that through online (such as through Xbox Live for the Xbox
360), is quite fun, but it feels too similar and doesn’t offer anything particularly new or refreshing.

In the end, Quake 4 turns out to be a game that really doesn’t do anything new or innovative. It just appears to much to be like previous games in the series and does
nothing to set itself apart. For Quake fans, the game is an easy buy simply due to its name. But for others, a rental should suffice.


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