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Evil Avatar
09-16-2005, 12:50 PM
Quake 4 Hands-On Preview

By Everlost_MI (Brian K. Nichols), Editor in Chief

Activision recently held a hands-on preview event for Quake 4 that is in simultaneous development for the PC and Xbox 360. id Software chose Raven Software as the development house to create the latest chapter in the Quake franchise. Quake 4 is built on the Doom 3 engine and is a direct sequel to Quake 2. The storyline follows a few hours after the events in Quake 2 where a lone marine disabled the Strogg homeworld’s defenses and destroyed Makron, the Strogg leader. For those are uninitiated to the Quake universe, Stroggs are cyborgs that are bent on the total annihilation of all other species and civilizations scattered throughout the universe. The basic storyline for Quake 4 involves your character, Matthew Kane an elite solider, being added to the Rhino Squad that are en route to the Strogg home world in an effort to deliver the final blow before they can regroup. The game features vehicle warfare as well as fighting alone and alongside various marines while on foot. However, the crux of the game is being captured and transformed against your will into a Strogg. It’s with this newly acquired curse of being transformed into a Strogg, that you will be able to finish what your marine counterparts started.

The two-hour hands-on preview was showcased on Xbox 360s displaying at 720p and on PCs whose technical specifications consisted of Pentium 4 3.8Ghz processors with two gigs of RAM and NVIDIA 6800 graphic cards. Four identical levels of the single player campaign as well as three identical multiplayer maps were used on the Xbox 360s and PCs during the preview. Graphically the results were nearly equal in the limited environments and levels shown, which also included a fast and smooth frame rate in the midst of large firefights. This is quite impressive and reassuring to those gamers who are leaning towards putting their money into an Xbox 360 instead of updating their PC in an effort to play this game. To compare Quake 4 with Doom 3 in the department of graphics, the textures levels are similar which provide highly detailed environments and player models. However the character motion, physics and lighting appear to be a step beyond what Doom 3 offered. In light of Microsoft generating a lot of hype over the improved graphics and processing power of the Xbox 360, some gamers may be disappointed by the graphics provided in Quake 4. This is not to state that the game is lacking in anyway graphically. As in the upcoming Xbox 360 version of Madden 2006, it is just that the real life results differ from what Microsoft is hyping. With that being said, gamers will appreciate and enjoy the smoothness and quality in Quake 4 that are provided by the Xbox 360 video card and processor. Finally, as of the preview on September 14th, the minimum PC specifications for Quake 4 have yet to be announced.

The gameplay, content and multiplayer maps for Quake 4 are identical on both PC and Xbox 360 platforms. The title doesn’t relent on the action or atmosphere from the initial cinematic introduction to the rough and ready entry into the world of Quake 4. The use of well scripted action scenes, movie quality sound effects in conjunction with an orchestrated soundtrack that is nearly invisible until the appropriate moments create a sense of tension and excitement that is comparable to cinematic experience. The use of the game engine in the cinematics creates a fluid cohesiveness to immersion into the game as well as the proper use of voice talent to breathe life into the characters and creatures. There wasn’t any type of answer provided on the length of the single player game, but it took forty-five minutes on the second highest level of difficulty to complete the four missions that were provided.

As a whole, the controls for the game are the standard fare for first person shooters with a slight tweak here and there. One of the changes to note is the lack of an “Open/Use” button/key for doors and switches; instead the target reticle is used in conjunction with the primary fire button/key to initiate a similar command. When it comes to the controls for the Xbox 360, the responsiveness is quick and tight with the layout being as easy to pick up as Halo 2 or Doom 3 was. The Xbox 360 version of the game contains a small amount of auto-aim to reduce some frustration without taking away the challenge of the game.

The weapons shown in the preview included a pistol, machine gun, nail gun, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, railgun, hyperblaster, lightning gun and shotgun. Each of the weapons differ slightly from their previous Quake incarnations by either the speed or the damage inflicted by each weapon. For example, the nail gun fires at a slower pace that it’s Quake 2 predecessor while the rocket launcher appears to be much faster that it’s counterpart in Quake 3. The alternate fire has been removed from the weapons and replaced with upgrades that are provided by Marines as the game progresses. These upgrades will apply to the Marine and Strogg weapons. An example is the rocket launcher that initially fires one missile, as the game progresses it will be upgraded to fire three missiles and finally a controllable missile, which can be described as a missile on a wire. This isn’t to say there isn’t a key/button mapped to alternate fire but as of the version of Quake 4 that was shown at the preview, it was strictly used for the scope on the machine gun. And Doom 3 fans can rejoice, out of the box a flashlight has been attached to the pistol and machine gun.

For the first time in the Quake franchise, the ability to use vehicles has appeared. The preview featured a hover-tank as well as a mech that both contained machine guns and rockets as weapons. It’s hard to tell in the scope of the game how the use of the vehicles will play out, but in the preview the controls and use of the vehicles were quite fun. No other vehicle information was provided or shown at the preview.

The multiplayer of Quake 4 is as fast, fun and furious as it Quake 3 was. Three multiplayer maps were used in the preview to demonstrate capture the flag (CTF), deathmatch (DM) and team deathmatch. These maps included vertical and horizontal gravity jumps, teleporters and some old favorites such as rocket jumping, armor upgrades, Quad Damage and regeneration power ups. In the preview, it appears the announcer from Quake III has returned with his ominous voice bellowing out the all too familiar phrases of “You have lost the lead” or “Impressive.” The maps provided were small enough to get a quick lay of the land without causing an overabundance of targets to be bottlenecked and prevented camping. As a whole, the amount of pure mayhem and relentless action is abundant which results in an enjoyable frag fest.

In conclusion, if the version of Quake 4 that was shown at the preview were released today the results would be well worth the time and money. The game screams action, atmosphere, suspense and above all fun in both the single and multiplayer aspects. The game plays well on both the PC and Xbox 360 consoles, but keep in mind of the high end PCs that were used in the preview. Unless something drastically changes from the preview, Quake 4 can stand up next to Half-Life and Doom 2 as being one of the better-crafted shooters to date. This game should be part of a FPS fan’s library.

Release Date: 11/15/2005 (PC (http://www.gametab.com/pc/quake.4/4018/), XBOX360 (http://www.gametab.com/xbox360/quake.4/4143/))

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_001_small.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_001.jpg) http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_002_small.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_002.jpg)

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_003_small.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_003.jpg) http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_004_small.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/thumbs/quake4/quake4_004.jpg)

Klade
09-16-2005, 01:00 PM
If I didn't like Doom 3 at all, will enough be different about Quake 4 that I might enjoy it?

fitbabits
09-16-2005, 01:03 PM
And I was doing so well in limiting my initial purchases for Xbox 360! Damn you, Everlost_MI!

This sounds awesome... Great write-up.

Dabombpizza
09-16-2005, 01:34 PM
There are definetly nipples in the bottom left screen shot. Definetly nipples.

fitbabits
09-16-2005, 01:41 PM
There are definetly nipples in the bottom left screen shot. Definetly nipples.

On the middle character? There's now a nice little nose print on my monitor - thanks for that!

A-Team
09-16-2005, 01:49 PM
I do not have time to read the entire write-up right now, but from what I did read (the controls and weapons portions)... I can say that the article is great.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to check out the game for us Everlost.

reimomo
09-16-2005, 02:04 PM
There are definetly nipples in the bottom left screen shot. Definetly nipples.

Dudes aren't allowed to have nipples? More Q2 and less Q3 in Q4 sounds like a good thing.

Zeal
09-16-2005, 02:14 PM
Wow, those graphics are ugly.

Blazyr
09-16-2005, 02:21 PM
Hey Brian, wish I'd known you were there too. Anyone curious for another read can check out the 1UP Hands-on (http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3143786) too. We've got a couple videos as well.

Oh, one thing -- in multiplayer the X360 levels are the same maps, but will have some areas walled off to keep their size more manageable on the console hardware. That, and the player count will be lower. The estimate we got was in the 8 to 10 range but it hasn't be locked down yet.

Raziel
09-16-2005, 02:39 PM
It would be nice if this game is able to hold interest a little better than Doom 3. After the novelty of the graphics wore off, it was just another shooter.

ElectricMonk
09-16-2005, 03:03 PM
it's hard to imagine that quake 1 somehow spawned this series

Draft
09-16-2005, 04:18 PM
Thanks for taking time out of your day to check out the game for us Everlost.Hahahaha. Yeah, I hear Evil's sending him to the Playboy Mansion next week for another hands on. That Everlost, such a hard worker!

T-Dawg
09-16-2005, 06:13 PM
FWIW, there was no nail gun in Quake 2. So saying the one in Quake 4 was slower, makes no sense.

A-Team
09-16-2005, 06:17 PM
Hahahaha. Yeah, I hear Evil's sending him to the Playboy Mansion next week for another hands on. That Everlost, such a hard worker!
:mad:

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markster3000
09-17-2005, 07:59 AM
Hmm... he says that they've removed alternate fire.
How could that be, when Quake games never used alt-fire? (Or did they introduce it in Team Arena?)

The Iron Weasel
09-17-2005, 10:02 AM
Looking pretty cool, I'm hoping Raven comes through again.

Morratut
09-19-2005, 07:34 AM
Good write up Everlost.

This is another which gets my interest.:D

UnderHero5
10-14-2005, 12:09 AM
I can't wait for Quake 4. I preordered it last week.
In preparation I played through Quake 2 and beat it through out the last three days.

Sadly, I have never actually been a huge Quake fan. I've played them all, but never actually completed 1 or 2. And when Quake 3 was out I was more of a UT kinda guy.
So I figured I should at least beat one of the games to get some of the "backstory" I've heard about... which, as I thought, was nearly non-existant.

Does anyone know where I can read up on more of the backstory of Quake? Is there any such place?

Anyway, I can't wait for Quake 4. I've become more of a Quake fan now than I was back when the games came out.

Aries7777
11-12-2005, 05:02 AM
I never played the first one but I was big in on the 3rd. Played the 2nd one briefly but I still don't know the story.

DOOM2099
12-11-2005, 08:40 AM
There is no story. Not really. Spac Marine vs Stroggs. Endless amounts of Strogg.

Q3 even did away with that minute amount of story and went with arena play with bots instead. Great unless you have no hi speed connect.