Quake 3: Team Arena Review
developer: id Software
PII-300/AMD K6-350, 64MB RAM, 225MB HDD, 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Dec 18, 00
|» All About Quake 3: Team Arena on ActionTrip|
There has been a lot of talk about id's ability to deliver great gameplay and rise above their status of being this highly-focused-on-coding-über-engine company. Games like Half Life, and then mods like Counter-Strike sure didn't help in those regards. According to some, they offered further proof that id should stick to coding great engines, and not bother themselves too much with coming up with actual gameplay. Of course, then there was the great online challenge of UT, and the undeniable fact that EPIC created a more comprehensive online shooter package.
But let's look at this issue from a strictly consumer point of view. Did Quake III engine deliver? Hell yes it delivered! No game design trade-offs on account of technology there. When it comes to producing pure gameplay dynamics and great DM I wouldn't go with anything else but the Quake 3 code. And in that sense did Quake 3 deathmatch deliver? Hell yes it did! I'd crank up a DM game in Quake 3 over UT any day (but I'd still own a copy of UT in case I feel like Assaulting).
Did Elite Force deliver? Hell yes it did! So, what do we have here? id made a great engine, and a lot of developers reaped the benefits by creating some outstanding single player games like Elite Force, Alice, and FAKK2. The most important thing is, consumers got the best of both worlds. They got some kickass DM play in Quake 3 and they were able to buy immersive single player games based on a licensed engine technology. Shelling out $45 or so bucks for Quake 3 was well worth it, 'cause the game offered a whole lot of DM fun, and it granted immediate access to the latest cutting-edge technology. Buying Elite Force and the likes proved just as rewarding, because it gave us the chance to enjoy great gaming concepts on a smooth and advanced 3D technology (a year or so after Quake 3 was released).
So, should id still make games? My answer is yes. And I'm speaking strictly as a consumer who wishes to get the best of what today's gaming market has to offer, UT included.
So, now that we have Quake 3: Team Arena sitting on the shelves, should you part with your dineros for it, too? Again, let's look at this question from a consumer point of view. If you're like me, and you enjoy a great game of CTF than the answer would be - yes, you should buy Team Arena. This is the most important question I have asked myself when thinking about what to write in this review. I have played them all: CS, Quake 1, 2, UT, Tribes... you name it. And yes, after playing Quake 3: Team Arena for a few weeks I can honestly say I would buy this game. Does Team Arena offer anything essentially new? That could be the biggest stumbling block for some of the more skeptical fans, and the answer here would have to be - no! It doesn't offer any radically new concepts, except maybe the Kamikaze power up. I don't know, maybe some mod maker out there already implemented something like Kamikaze, but for me that was the most innovative tactical addition made in regards to other online shooters and mods-turned retail on the market. Quake 3: Team Arena doesn't offer any radically new modes of play or concepts, but it sure as hell takes the CTF gameplay and raises the bar in terms of the GUI, maps, and graphics, and how it all relates to gameplay balancing. Now don't forget; I'm a hardcore-game-consumer and I'm a CTF fan. So, that is why I would buy this add-on. If on the other hand, you don't like CTF, and you have to rationalize with your cash for some reason, I suggest you turn your attentions to the flourishing online mod community, which offers a whole lot of kickass mods for download, free of charge.
I have already explained all of TA's key features and modes of play in my first impressions article (and I have even gone in some detail about each of them), so I'll try not to repeat myself too much. Let me just quickly remind you of the most important features:
Team Arena includes four modes of play: Capture the Flag, One Flag, Harvester, and Overload. There's also a classic Tourney mode, with the countdown and everything. I've counted 16 new maps, although I think I saw somewhere that there are supposed to be like 20 or something... Not that important in my book. The add-on features a buttload of traditional power ups (Lithium for Quake 2 runes?) like the Scout, Doubler, or Guard with one possible exception of the Kamikaze. This little scull power up produces a spectacular effect (similar to a Nuke in Red Alert), which shakes the entire damn map, but its main function is using Kamikaze players (they explode when fragged) to neutralize base defenses. Finally, last but not the least, making their triumphant return are the famous Q1 Nailgun (which now suspiciously reminds me of the Flak Cannon, or does Flak Cannon remind me of the Nailgun?) and (yes, yes, yes) the Chaingun, my favorite Quake 2 weapon (faster rate of fire than in Q2, so it empties faster) and the Prox Launcher, but I have talked a lot about that one in the aforementioned first impressions article.
Best darn CTF game I played in a long while. Best darn texturing I've ever seen. Level design, GUI;
Lack of truly innovative features. Timid AI. Still choppy (FPS drops) on some larger maps.