Developer: Raven Software
Release Date: 11/18/2005
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This marks the fourth installment in Johnny Boy’s Quake brainchild. Running all the way back to 1994 Quake was kind of a “palette swap of Doom” and its strong point being multiplayer. Quake 4 changes that with an excellent single-player experience. Unlike Doom 3 Quake 4 is more of an “on-rails shooter” where it guides you through a lot of scary and tense scripted events. These work for the game and separate it from its brethren. You play Kane who is a soldier that has to help stop the Strogg invasion by destroying them at their core; the Nexus. As you make your way to the Nexus you can pick up a ton of cool weapons, and upgrades, and even turn into a Strogg yourself. The weapons range from your piddly blaster to a dark matter gun. You have your railgun, a nailgun, shotgun, lightning gun, etc.
Throughout the campaign, you can unlock upgrades for these weapons like clip extenders, scopes, and extra damage. This lets you easily change your strategy around what gun works in what situation. The game has some pretty neat enemies types ranging from Grunts that rush you with their bulky bodies or Berserker who are all about melee. You have floating enemies that shoot rockets at you, you have giant spider robots, and you even have massive Strogg with shields and railguns. These are all gruesome-looking enemies that are both terrifying to look at and really fun to fight. The game sports great AI with enemies dodging your shots and ducking behind cover. Each enemy has to be taken care of differently, so you have had five weaker enemies and two guys with railguns. You take the five weaker ones out with a grenade or a rocket then deal with the railgun guys with your dark matter gun, or you can shoot rockets at their feet. This allows you to create a strategy that works best for you. I just really love the atmosphere Quake 4 delivers. You’ll walk through rooms and lights will dim and enemies will run across corridors, your teammates will get dragged off and tortured, and there are also some really cool vehicle sections. You either mount a machine gun, drive a tank, or a mech. All handle really well and these sections are both fun and challenging. This is a nice change to Quake which has always been on foot.
Now when it comes to multiplayer the game is fun, but nothing really special. What doesn’t help is no one is playing online (which really sucks) and the one map I did play was really boring. The game does have a lot of downfalls though. The game does have major frame rate issues but isn’t as bad as what people say. It only bothered me a few times in the game. The graphics are really good yet the Doom 3 engine is really dated and can’t be pushed any further. While the game does have weapons upgrades and vehicle sections the game still feels redundant and has the dumbest ending ever. So, if you want a good single-player experience it’s worth a rental or purchase (it’s less than $10 everywhere) then play Quake 4.