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Quake 4 Review
developer: Raven Software
PIV-2000, 512MB RAM, 2.8GB HDD, 64MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 18, 05 (released)
|» All About Quake 4 on ActionTrip|
What is your definition of irony? I think right now, my definition would be having a bunch of hot new games I am desperate to play online but thanks to Comcast treating my internet connection like a hot potato, my broadband connection does not stay up long enough for me to open a web page let alone get logged onto any online game. Thankfully, I have Quake 4 from id, Raven Software and Acitivison, with its emphasis on single player mayhem to keep my mind off that blinking "DISCONNECTED" light on my cable modem.
Pointlessly aiming my gun...
Making use if id software's Doom 3 engine, Quake 4 starts (or continues if you like) the story right from the instant Quake II ends. You play the role of Mathew Kane, newly assigned to Rhino Squad and one of thousands of Marines assaulting the Strogg home world immediately following the fall of the Strogg leader. As you and your squad head to the planet's surface, your drop ship is brought down by a missile and you soon awake to find yourself lying in the twisted shuttle wreckage as the battle rages on around you. From the outset, the Doom 3 engine is taken out of the dark, cramped, indoor confines of the Mars base station and allows players to see what power and beauty was hidden during the majority of Doom 3. Quake 4 starts you under a strange alien sky, fighting in trenches but you will find yourself moving inside for an equal amount of time, as objectives dictate. It's a far cry from the last time we went toe to toe with the Strogg and they are more gruesome than ever. More on that later.
Your goal in game is simple enough: You are marine who is part of an invasion into enemy territory who gets separated from the rest of your squad. As you try to get back to your unit, you will encounter other solders who will task you with objectives that must be accomplished along your way. I sometimes felt like the guy in the red shirt on an episode of Star Trek as I was constantly being ordered to scout ahead, take point or find a way to unlock a door. All of my assignments, of course, led me into harm's way and on several occasions I would be shaking my virtual head to the commanding officer as he was telling me to just ignore the hail of gunfire coming from the hallway in front of me and just get in that room and throw that switch! It's not always a bad thing being made the bait for a Strogg mouse trap as many times I found the group I had just left behind screaming for help over the radio as they were the ones who were ambushed. Oh well. Let that be a lesson to them.
You start out with your trusty blaster that never runs out of ammo but you soon pick up a machine gun that allows you to zoom in with the alt fire for precision aiming. Before too long you'll add to your arsenal a shotgun, grenade launcher, nail gun, rocket launcher, rail gun and the final BFG type weapon that allows you to tear a virtual new poop shoot on any Strogg that looks at you cross eyed. Health packs and armor picks are also scattered round about which is typical for any shooter these days but your squad mates can also heal your health and armor when you need help as you encounter medics and engineers. Speaking of squad mates, you'll spend a fair amount of time fighting shoulder to shoulder with other marines you encounter.
The game AI does a passable job with teammates attacking enemies and offering help in a fire fight, but don't expect them to be too smart. In the heat of combat on several occasions I found myself trying to get out of the way of incoming fire only to collide with a team mate that was standing behind me and refused to move. I learned to pay better attention to where these marines had planted themselves so that when we came under fire, I use them as meat shields rather than running into them. Enemy AI has improved since I played the preview as enemies will dodge, take cover and will even jump roll towards you all the while firing away. That being said, do not expect to see Half Life or FEAR style squad tactics as the Strogg rely more on sheer numbers and their ability to soak up damage like a pain sponge. (So, essentially, they rely on outdated AI? - Ed) Still, no one ever said they were known for their brains.
As you progress through each level you will find yourself advancing deeper into the Strogg military complex engaging in fire fights, taking out key pieces of equipment and on some levels, piloting hover tanks, mechs or manning a turret gun on a hover truck as it moves as part of a convoy. The only downside here is the way these levels are implemented feels more like they were tacked on solely to break up the 'monotony' of all the constant run and gun levels. While they are not un-enjoyable, they do seem too easy. Vehicles have shields that recharge when not being hit by enemy fire (like the shield system in Halo) and have unlimited ammo. As soon as I realized this, a lot of the tension of combat was lost as vehicle combat was reduced to more of a shooting gallery type feel. It would be nice to see if the mod community can do more with the vehicle modes as it was a lot of fun to run down Strogg in the Hover tank.
8.1 Very Good
Great graphics, great voice overs, fun single player content;
High system requirements, vehicle levels feel like an afterthought, some lock ups with X-Fi enabled, dated AI.