Quake 4 - 360 - Preview 2
“All right, you maggots – haul ass or die!”
That sentence, uttered at the start of the game, more or less sums up the tone of Quake 4. You had better be prepared to move, constantly, or you will die.
Quake 4 was the star attraction at a recent Activision event in San Francisco and the game was demonstrated (several levels worth) on both the Xbox 360 and the PC. While the 360 version still had some issues that needed to be resolved, such as controller sensitivity, the high-def version of this game sparkled. This is the same game as the PC version, and those who have one likely won’t want the other because you are talking about the same pop-out mobs, the same story and the same settings.
Quake 4 is from id Software, developed by Raven Software and published by Activision. The game is slated to release on the Microsoft 360 platforms in November.
The story is a continuation of the Quake 2 arc. A lone Marine busted through Strogg defenses and took out their planetary defense system, allowing a massive invasion of Marines to the planet surface, something the Stroggs are not taking lightly. Players take on the role of Matthew Caine, a member of the Rhino company. The landing is interrupted by missiles and Caine is mistaken for dead. When he finally comes to, he is separated from his company and must rejoin them. That begins the adventure.
Rhino company’s motto is “Armed and Angry,” and that is a pervasive attitude for Caine. But if you think he was angry to start, wait – it gets much better. Pre-E3, a trailer showed Caine being captured by the Stroggs and modified to be one of their bionic weapons. He was rescued just short of a brain wipe, but comes out with enhanced abilities and knowing the Strogg language. The scenarios shown in San Francisco were all pre-Stroggification, and basically had Caine marching through levels, complete with auto-save points. Of course, the Strogg come at you in a variety of ways – there is the Doom 3, pop-out of the darkness in tight corridors way, aerial attacks that drop roving metallic balls that fire and take out shielding in a hurry, and other aerial assault mobs, and Strogg that will find elevated platforms from which to shoot at you. Maintaining a constant scan of the area for targets is essential, and this is a fire fight that rages fast and furious. Each level has a plethora of targets and much depends on which of the four difficulty settings selected (the dev team even had fun with that – for example, corporal is the second easiest level and the description states that at this level you can hit a moving target … usually).
The game features rag-doll physics, which results in some satisfying animation when you blow a Strogg off a wall, or run over them in a tank. But graphically this game is superb. For the event, Activision ran the game on a big wall-mounted plasma screen, and it was bright and the textures were rendered in glorious (and sometimes gory) detail.
While the controller sensitivity was not set, the game still handled well on the 360 controller. Cycling weapons was handled through the shoulder triggers, and movement and targeting were standard to the Xbox style – meaning you controlled them with the left and right thumbsticks.
The PC and 360 versions are the same game, same levels, same mobs and same attack sequences. This is a game that will definitely keep players on their toes, but the mere fact that it continues the story arc from Quake 2 brings this title full circle and moves it forward at the same time. The mobs are nasty and mean, and you will have to think on your feet, or treads, or whatever the walker and tank use to navigate. The walker was a joyride and the tank was a blast (both literally and figuratively) to control – even in tight corridors where Strogg foot soldiers became speed bumps.
If you are looking for two words to describe this game, try “fast” and “furious.” That is the action in the game. Chaos is reflected in the sound and constant battle that players will find themselves engaged in, and that bodes well for fans of the first-person shooter genre.
Simply put, if you are a fan of Quake, this is a title that should not disappoint in the slightest.