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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Raven

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2005

 

 

- Excellent visuals

- Great action

- Focus on Single Player

 

 

- Feels like playing Doom 3 again

- Weapon variety not helpful

 

 

Review: Doom 3 (PC)

Review: Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (PC)

Review: No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in HARM's Way (PC)

 

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Quake 4

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

I remember when Quake 3 arena and Unreal Tournament both came out at the same time and there were heated debates about which game was better. In the end, it seems that Unreal, as a series, has continued to put out great multiplayer games, while, oddly enough, the Quake series which in large part started the online multiplayer action popularity, has been silent. Granted iD software, had been working on other projects, but now, with Quake's return, Quake 4 is decidedly focused on the single player aspect of things just as Doom 3 was. With Raven developing the game using the Doom 3 engine, the results are excellent. Raven has a history of producing what I feel are some of the best First Person Shooters. Quake 4 continues their tradition of excellence and with the technology of the Doom 3 engine at their disposal, the game looks as good as it plays.

 

quake 4          quake 4

 

The storyline picks up where Quake 2 left off. You play as a marine, Matthew Kane, in a space war against the Strogg. There really isn't too much of an in depth storyline, but the game does give you the feeling that you are involved in this massive interstellar conflict as one small, albeit important part. Much like Doom 3 there are other marines scattered throughout the levels. Their chatter about the war as well as the in-engine cut scene briefings with your superior officers serve to remind you of the scale of the war, but also gives enough life and background to the story so that the gaming experience doesn't feel disconnected. The voiceover is also good and is within expectation for a game of this caliber.

 

The feel of the game is given away by its engine. The Doom 3 engine provides a smooth user focused gaming experience with excellent visuals and physics that make you feel comfortable moving around. The graphics take advantage of the excellent lighting effects afforded by its engine, as do the model skins. While the corridors and indoor environments are reminiscent of Doom 3, the textures are least different enough so that it looks like you are playing different game. While playing through Quake 4, I upgraded my video card about half way through. Although there was a noticeable improvement in visuals and performance after my upgrade, I did find that the game was very good at scaling its performance to whatever card you used.

 

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The game is laid out almost identically to Doom 3, so much so, that at times it felt like I was a Mod for Doom3, which I suppose is essentially what Quake 4 is in the end; a Mod made by a professional developer. While this isn't inherently a bad thing, with so many games competing for my attention these days, playing through Quake 4 left me with a distinct feeling of deja vu. The gameplay "feel" is the same to Doom 3 as are the ways the levels are 

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laid out and designed. There are a couple of things that do set the game apart though. There are some vehicle sequences which are quite fun. You will also have squad mates that follow you around at times. While you can't issue orders to them, their AI is quite good and they will prove to be more help, than a hindrance. Lastly, while the indoor level design is reminiscent of the endless corridors in Doom 3, there are some outdoor sequences which I did enjoy a lot. With so much focus on cramped indoor rooms and corridors, I liked having some larger outdoor arena type areas where there were lots of enemies and opportunities for run and gun style gameplay.

 

The weapon choices are varied and change slightly with weapon modifications as you progress through the game. As you play through the game, you will encounter technicians that will upgrade one of the weapons in your inventory. You can't choose what upgrade or when it's performed, but as a scripted event, it allows the game to scale its difficulty as you progress through the game along with your weapons. This is so that you don't have to play through the first third of the game with only the shotgun, and have to wait until the later levels to get the nail gun. Of course the game still paces the weapon selection somewhat, but I found the weapon upgrades kept the weapon selections fresh and useful. However, once the last few levels were reached, the weapon selection in my opinion did feel somewhat lacking. Perhaps it was because I didn't find anything that I felt suited my gaming style, however, in some battles it did feel that I was missing one weapon which would have made some of the more challenging firefights, more enjoyable.

 

quake 4          quake 4

 

The storyline is played out mostly within the actual levels, meaning that as you reach a given point in the level, you will be provided with further instruction on what to do next. It is very linear, but with the focus on action, you don't really feel the need to have to do something differently. Also at certain points in the game, you will encounter other marine squads and they will tag along with you. Within these squads there will often be a technician and a medic. The technician will repair your armor to full capacity, while the medic will fully restore your health. Although the AI for the marines that tag along with you is fairly good, it is also in your best interest to try and keep your squad mates alive when they do come along as they will make the level easier. What I did like though, is that in most cases, when these units were with you, it was up to you if you wanted to help keep them alive, or just charge ahead and let them take care of themselves.

 

With so much focus on multiplayer gaming these days, it makes me happy to see that the single player experience is not being forgotten. Although there are multiplayer options included, just as with Doom 3, you can tell that the focus was definitely on the single player aspect of the game. While the storyline isn't exactly gripping, the gameplay is. If you haven't yet played Doom 3, then I would recommend against getting both Doom 3 and Quake 4 together depending on how much time you spend playing. Having both of these games on your computer or playing through them back to back may prove to be too much of the same. If you have played Doom 3, Quake 4 will be enjoyable to you as well; however, don't go in to it thinking it will be an entirely fresh experience. There is enough new to set it apart from Doom 3, but there is enough at it's core which is the same such that you can't help but be reminded of Doom 3.

 

- Mark Leung

(December 12, 2005)

 

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