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SummaryA fun, violent yet dated FPS.
The GoodQuake 4 is a great game. Id has collaborated with Raven Software to produce a very engaging FPS. While the story isn't the primary focus of the game some FPS titles have forsaken the story in order to further the shooting ("Black") and it's nice to see one here. Players take on the role of Matthew Kane, who is the supposed mythical Marine who took down the Strogg Commander; The Macron. Kane is now assisting in the invasion of the Strogg homeworld; Stroggos. You'll be delighted at how visceral the shooting is. The Machine Gun in this game is probably the most enjoyable gun I've ever used in a game. It's not the damage it does or the way it looks it is the meaty cracks it emits when you fire it and the way Kane seems to be struggling to hold it still while he is firing. Other weapons in the game are interesting like the Nail Gun which fires projectile nails that burst on impact and the Dark Matter gun which fires little black holes. Enemy AI is passable but it is the enemy design which is the star of the show and the level of detail Id has put into making the Strogg seem like a ruthless, desperate force is fantastic. The Strogg shout orders in their own language or mutter disturbing tidbits of Stroggian dialect. They move like Cyborgs, ducking and rolling in a totally inhuman fashion. Light and Shadow are employed very well in Quake 4 and the soundtrack is top notch mixing over the top, heroic military like tracks with deeply atmospheric tunes that would sound at home in Doom 3. Unlike Doom 3 you have a small squad assisting you most of the time. You have access to medics and tech support who heal you and repair your armor. You want to keep these guys alive. In addition to squads you can also drive tanks and use turrets mounted on the back of trucks. I'm not really a fan of throwing these vehicular combat sections in for the sole purpose of shaking things up but at least they break up the shooting.
The BadThe first time I was playing Quake 4 a friend of mine came up to me and said "Hey, is this Doom 4?." Because Quake 4 uses Id Tech 4 and Id was obviously happy with the engine as it was you'll find Quake 4 and Doom 3 look almost identical at times. While the way light and shadow works has been refined the games look a little too identical. While the squad based system is a welcome addition it is too simple. You have no control over your squad and if they die they are dead, thats it. Other times Quake 4 places too much significance on your squad. At some points if they die whether by friendly or enemy fire you fail the mission. Overall Quake 4 feels too simplistic. Doom 3 was great as a graphical showcase for a revolutionary engine developed by Id. With other Xbox 360 games like Advanced Warfighter eclipsing Quake 4's atmosphere and graphical prowess you realize that Id Tech 4 was great in Doom 3 but becomes less exemplary as time marches on.