XBOX 360 REVIEW: QUAKE 4
Quake 4
Includes the classic Quake II
Hot visuals minus the $$$ PC
Fast action
Only 8 players online
Some loss of textures
Frame rate sputters

Come online and let me quake your booty. by Colin Thames

November 18, 2005 - Quake 4 returns the series to a continuation of the story started in Quake II which is still well-respected among FPS fans and thankfully it's been included as bonus in this Xbox 360 release.

It's easy to get Quake and Doom mixed up for those unfamiliar with the differences as most will see them as mindless shooting games. Both are sci-fi shooters with a sprinkling of survival horror elements, but we can sit here and pigeonhole and stereotype until the cows come home. Most importantly both series are considered classics. This is probably why developers id Software didn't take any chances with the series. Don't fix what ain't broke.

Quake 4 is still a great shooter but this is more of an enhancement of the series than anything else. The story is basically the same, the enemy is still the Strogg and there's a whole lot of shooting going on. Hey, I know better than to complain but I have to tell you that this game doesn't have anything over the PC version, with the exception of some cleaner graphics especially if you've played Quake 4 on anything but a monster PC. Not all of the graphics are better however. There are jaggies that outline some of the characters (actually the HDTV enhances some of the grit, while players on regular TV's may not notice as much) and virtually all of the backgrounds are static or composed of recycled textures. There are some breathtaking moments to be sure.

While not renowned for its stories, Quake 4 digs a little deeper to offer us some dramatic depth. I've seen movies made on lesser premises; most of them starring Chuck Norris.

After the last ass-whopping that the Strogg received, they may be down but they're not out. Once word reaches Earth that the Strogg are in the beginning stages of resurrection a squad of highly-trained space marines are sent to the planet to take care of the situation before it worsens. Matt Kane is the principal character but he's not the squad boss. There are no commands to issue or co-op play in this single-player story mode. As part of a squad the developers want to bring you closer to the other non-playable characters in your squad. These guys have individual names and distinct personalities. There's a reason for this that I'll explain later.

"Quake 4 is still a great shooter but this is more of an enhancement of the series than anything else."

Matt and his squad have a large arsenal of weaponry, armor and vehicles on hand to battle the Strogg. New weapons, gadgets, upgrades and other goodies can be found by looking in dark corners and other secret areas located throughout the planet of the Strogg. Even though there are all kinds of futuristic weapons such as the railgun, minigun, rocket launcher and hyperblaster you will still have to give the lowly flashlight its due when encountering darkened rooms and corridors. The flashlight attaches to your gun and displays realistic illumination. Not all of the graphics show off the 360's potential but you can see that these subtle lighting effects even surpass those on top shelf PC games. Fortunately not all of the levels take place indoors.

Some new weapons are awarded after completing various missions but for the most part you will be able to upgrade your main weapons such as the ability to control a missile in flight after you've launched it. The further you get into the realm of the Strogg the more powerful and flexible weapons systems you will need. The Strogg are a race of bio-mechanical aliens and you will get to know them a lot better in the second half of the game.

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System: X360
Dev: Ravensoft
Pub: Activision
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Review By Colin