Quake 4 First Impressions

Update: Full review is now posted.
I haven’t bought any games for a long while, and this evening while in my friendly neighbourhood computer game chain of corporate opression (EB), I had a choice between buying FEAR and Quake 4… I chose Quake 4 on the spur of the moment.

I’ve been playing it for about an hour, on the “Corporal” difficulty level (2/4, think it’s default). I’m thinking I probably should have gone Lieutenant, but hey, it’s too late now.

Graphics: I’m using Medium quality at 1024×768, but will be shooting for 1680×1050 when I’m not on borrowed time.

The graphics are as excellent as you’d expect, though quite dark even in the outdoor areas. Hopefully by the time Enemy Territory: Quake Wars rolls around, they’ll be in full daylight. Or at least a little bit brighter. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was fun because you could see, at least in part.

There’s been one vaguely “ooh” moment, which was the lift ride through the hangar… though it would have been more “ooh” if the view distance had been further.

It is heavily reminiscent of Doom 3, in a good way. If you crossed Doom 3 with Quake 2, this is exactly the game you’d get. Unfortunately, for all the hype, I didn’t really find Quake 2 was that compelling. The story felt tired then, and it feels a bit tired now. Do I really care while I’m blasting away? Not so much.

Sound: Predictably good.

AI: It’s a toss-up. The Strogg so far are your typical id Dumb Monster: they try to approach you until you’re in attack range, then open up, and do some token dancing from side to side in some cases. But: lots of monsters and humans at once this time – none of the Doom 3 two-on-one experiences.

Gameplay: Hmm. Working with a squad is new for Quake. I haven’t yet developed any rapport with any of the other characters, and none of them are particularly believable or well-realized. Plus, they seem to be holding me up more than helping.

The basic gameplay is the same as any other First Person Shooter: find your way around a map, kill stuff, find a switch to do something special, complete level. Gradually acquire new and interesting weapons, and destroy things with them.

Actually playing it is a lot more fun than the trailers led me to believe, but at the moment it’s not really challenging enough; I’m just sailing through the levels. Might have to go back and do it on the next difficulty level up, which is going to suck – I don’t think there’s much single-player replay value to be had.

Um, if I had to give it a number right now, it’d be 7/10. Not (yet) as much fun as the excellent Resurrection of Evil.

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