Quake 4 is the newest installment of Id’s classic first-person shooter series. You play a lone space marine (sound familiar?) named Matthew Kane. He’s your regular battle-hardened warrior; to him, killing is second nature.
Offering one of the most realistic video-game experiences to date, Quake 4 takes players to the centre of the battle and like all of Id’s FPS’s, it has beautiful graphics and game-play to match. But what sets it apart from the myriad of other quality FPS’s on 360?
Quake 4s graphics are almost flawless. They are incredibly smooth and the lighting effects are frighteningly realistic. The visuals are just as good as the PC version, however, there are some blatant framerate issues that cause the game to skip and slow down.
The lighting effects in Quake 4 have to be seen to be believed, describing them does no justice to how realistic they really are. When you fire your weapon, the surrounding area lights up as it would in real life and the shadows of your opponents are realistically depicted behind them. The amount of detail portrayed in Quake 4 is of such a high standard that some of the areas look like real photos, especially when the lights are flickering. Some areas are so realistic that you’ll be in shock and disbelief at the tremendous detail of this game.
The character models are very well done. The detail in the textures is outstanding; walking up to a team-mate and zooming right in is clearly proof of this. Detail was obviously one of the developers top priorities. Also, the implementation of the motion capture, as well as the beautiful textures, makes you truly feel as though you are playing within a live battlefield.
The frame rate in Quake 4 is solid for the most part. However, when navigating through complex environments with a high number of opponents the frame rate really starts to degrade. It’s at its worst during boss battles. The slowdown usually isn’t a problem at all, but can really affect you during the more hectic gunfights. Frame rates aside, the graphics appear seamless and certainly up to scratch with those expected for next-generation gaming.
Just like Id’s previous title Doom 3, Quake 4 has outstandingly realistic sound effects. You can feel the huge amount of effort that’s been put into the acoustics for this game. Every gunshot, every footstep, every time a Strogg laughs in your face; it sends a shiver up your spine.
There is no in-game music what so ever. You can only hear the sounds of the environment around you. This can be good and bad. Good because it doesn’t ruin a scary mood like some other games, and bad because… well, it just doesn’t feel right being completely silent. However, the Xbox 360s custom soundtracks are pretty handy if you want some in game tunes.
The voice acting and lip syncing is also very impressive; you can tell the actors Id hired were very experienced and serious about their roles. However, for some unknown reason you only hear the main character’s voice in the trailer for the game. It would have been cool to hear some ‘Serious Sam-esque’ one liners.
Quake 4’s gameplay is by no means perfect or original. To be honest it’s a lot like Doom 3 and really brings nothing new to the genre. However, there are some very nice vehicle sequences that require you to navigate through massive outdoor environments, which is a very nice addition to the Id FPS collection.
The physics engine is one of the most realistic yet. Just like Half-Life 2; it allows you to move and play around with any object that’s not nailed down, although you can’t pick everything up. When you fire the dark-matter gun, which you’ll find later on in the game, you see almost every object in the room being sucked in the direction of the mini black hole. This is just amazing to watch and it was surely hell for the developers to program.
The AI is very impressive. The enemies know exactly where to hide and when to shoot, which adds a whole new layer of difficulty. The marines that fight alongside you are also very intelligent. They’ll kill just as many enemies as you do and will heal you when you get hurt. But as clever as they are; they’ll still rely on you to keep them alive. So don’t think you can just hide behind them and get an easy ride.
The weapons haven’t changed much throughout the Quake series. This is definitely not a bad thing as the weapons are perfectly varied and all have appropriate levels of damage. As you play through the missions your weapons are upgraded; for example, you could get a larger clip size or higher firing rate. This is a welcome change to your bog-standard FPS.
A few missions in to the game you get Stroggified! Yes, you become one of the enemy. This gives you increased armour and health, allows you to jump higher and run faster and also gives you access to some really handy health stations.
Multiplayer Xbox Live: 9/10
Multiplayer is very addictive. It’s a lot like Quake 3: Arena; a no bull, adrenaline-fuelled gunfest! Kill or be killed! Although there’s only a few maps; there’s more than enough content to keep even the advanced gamer happy and with more maps to soon be available on Live; the potential is practically unlimited!
The gametypes are pretty standard though; basically just deathmatch and capture the flag. From such a high standard game, you’d have expected something new and exciting. But it’s not bad at all. You can tell that they’ve really spent a lot of time tweaking and perfecting it.
Quake 4 has four difficulty settings. The easiest difficulty (Private), was a breeze; suitable for maybe casual or younger gamers. The next difficulty (Corporal) is certainly tougher but still doesn’t offer much in the way of challenges. Next is Lieutenant, it’s a massive leap from the last; you get less health and more baddies! This level is suitable for the serious gamers. The hardest difficulty level (General) can easily be categorised as suicide! You’d play at this difficulty only if you’ve played the game through once or twice before and really know what you’re doing.
Quake 4 should definitely keep you interested for a long time. The achievements and multiplayer options are more than enough to satisfy any gamer for quite a while after they’ve completed the singleplayer missions. Quake 4 also includes a bonus disc which includes developer interviews, trailers and a full version of Quake 2 that comes at no extra charge. Yes, a full version of Quake 2 that’s playable on your 360! You should be able to get just as many hours out of Quake 2 as you can out of Quake 4. This is a great bonus and definitely should be considered if you’re looking to buy a game for your shiny new Xbox.
Quake 4 combines the best of both worlds. Phenomenal graphics and killer gameplay is just the beginning of what this game has to offer. Despite some frame rate issues and that feeling of déjà vu during the singleplayer campaign; this game is well worth your hard earned cash and has more than enough bonus content to keep you coming back for more. If you’re still not convinced; just download the demo off Xbox live and see for yourself.