Quake 4


posted 11/30/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: PC
The gameplay is on the cliché side, but the audio presentation is a surprising change of pace. Quake 1 and 2 featured heavy rock and roll, guitar riffs and driving beats. Quake 4 takes a more traditional approach, with a partially symphonic soundtrack. The orchestral pieces lend an epic characteristic that mixes well with the massive environments and overall war/conflict theme. Each piece is significant of the whole, and sets the right mood for each individual level. You have hectic, oppressive music for the trenches, creepy tracks during the stealthy exploration segments, and forceful, percussive arrangements to accompany the barreling vehicles.

The sound effects are noteworthy for their originality. Weapons sound heavier and more powerful than Doom 3’s arsenal, which came off as tinny and underpowered. Enemies make a good variety of screams and grunts, but nothing unique or exceptional. The effects are actually part of what makes Quake 4 so dissimilar from Quake 2; it sounds as different as it looks.

After a thorough play of Quake 4, it’s clear that the attention to the solo campaign was slightly stronger than that paid to the multiplayer. Id and Raven hoped Quake 4 would bring the Quaking community back together, and it has, but for how long is anybody’s guess. The unwelcome tinkering the guns received didn’t work well in the single player, but it definitely makes the multiplayer more enjoyable than Doom 3’s. No longer do matches dissolve into “the guy who gets the rocket launcher first wins.” You can theoretically become proficient with any of the guns, so the berserkers will develop skill with the automatics and the snipers will flock to the railgun.

That said, the magic of Quake multiplayer doesn’t feel as strong this time around. Arenas are well made for lots of players, some of the new weapons are novel to fight with, but there is a lack of variety. Character customization is disappointingly sparse, and you can’t use the vehicles from the solo game.

I really wanted to love Quake 4. There was so much potential, and a good bit of it has been realized. This game simply oozes production value, from the haunting environments to the majestic score to the tightly polished gameplay. This dog just isn’t doing any new tricks. The end result is a sequel that only mentions its predecessor in passing; on a whole, Quake 4 feels like Doom 3 in Quake’s clothing. Yes, it shares the same engine, but the presentation and gameplay have seen so little updating, we’re ultimately left with old school shooting at its best. This will appeal to the hardcore, but long time Quake fans looking for a revolution of their favorite franchise will be let down. Quake 4 does its job very well, and nothing more.

Quake 4 is probably the best example of an old-school shooter. It does all of the old tricks just right and adds a bit of spice for good measure, but gamers looking for a fresh experience will be left a little cold. Some of the gore is excessive and the multiplayer is lacking in a few minor areas, but on the whole Quake 4 is memorable.

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