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Quake 4 Multiplayer Review
Post by trog @ 01:23pm 18/10/05 | Comments
QGL's Bad has whipped up a first-hand look of Quake 4's multiplayer!

QGL's Bad has whipped up a first-hand look of Quake 4's multiplayer!

The battle with the Strogg continues on once again, this time with the highly anticipated Quake 4. Raven Software, working closely with id Software, have recently released Quake 4 which utilises the Doom 3 engine, and this game is sure to pack a punch. With luscious graphics, spectacular lighting and fast-paced action it is sure to get a lot of people's blood racing for hours on end. The game does come with a single player campaign in which you take control of a marine named Matthew Kane, part of an elite military team called Rhino Squad. Set only minutes after the unnamed marine from Quake 2 takes down the Makron leader, you battle through to once again try and destroy the Strogg.

However, putting the new storyline aside, the Quake series became such a huge success because of the incredible multiplayer action that it creates - and this is what will either make or break Quake 4 in the online gaming scene. Packed in with the game comes many different game types of which no doubt many of you would have heard before, yet with 1 or 2 minor changes - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Arena Capture the Flag and Tournament.

Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch have not changed, with Team DM consisting of players either joining a Marine side or a Strogg side and then battling it out, whereas Deathmatch is simply an all-out war to see who frags the most. Capture the Flag is once again divided into two teams, Marines (green team) and Strogg (orange team) and you must battle to steal the other teams flag and bring it back to your base and touch it over your own flag to score a point.

The new addition called Arena Capture the Flag adds in the old runes/techs from previous games and is probably the most interesting feature of this new CTF. These power-ups consist of:

  • Scout which allows faster movement and weapon fire
  • Guard which regenerates health and instantly gives you 200 armour when picked up
  • Doubler which doubles your weapon damage, and
  • Ammo-Regen which slowly regenerates all your ammo on all weapons you are holding.

An interesting point to note is that each team has their own power-ups which the other team cannot pick up and use, and also that the power-ups cannot be dropped which means they stay with you until death.

Lastly, the game type which will be probably used the most by the hardcore is the new Tournament mode. What they have done here is add a brackets ladder into this mode which, as people play and win or lose, they move from the Preliminary Round up to the Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals and then lastly the Finals. This could become a very handy feature for LANs around the place to easily run their Quake 4 tournaments should it be used and implemented properly. It is obvious that as they were developing the game they were trying to also cater for the hardcore gamers and tournament organizers to make the game as easy as possible to setup and run. To assist with this the game ships with a dedicated server as to make it a breeze for anyone who has had any experience in setting up a previous Quake engine server.

Now, onto the details that people are most likely interested in. The weapons that are available under multiplayer are varied from in close to long range weapons. In multiplayer mode you get a Gauntlet instead of the Blaster which acts very much the same as Quake 3’s but feels a lot more solid. The Machine Gun is a lot more powerful than the Quake 3 gun with a higher rate of fire, and as an added bonus it comes with a zoom feature. When you are zooming in, however, you cannot burst fire, you must fire single shots. Next up comes the Shotgun which is simply brilliant up close. If you unleash a full round into someone it will surely hurt them a lot. The Grenade Launcher does not have a very long range at all; however a direct hit from a grenade will be sure to hurt. Bringing back the Hyperblaster from Quake 2, this gun should probably just be thought of as the Plasmagun from Quake 3 as it is very much like that.

Next up from the original Quake, we have the Nailgun which has a delayed firing rate as the barrel must spin up. It has a slower rate of fire, but the nails do hurt if you can get a direct shot off. Rockets from the Rocket Launcher certainly move a lot slower than the rockets from Quake 3, but they do have quite a large splash damage radius. This is definitely not a long range weapon but should be more useful in medium range fights.

Coming up next is the Lightning gun which feels a lot like a truelighting Quake 3 weapon, but with a shorter range. The Railgun returns with an instant 100 damage shot of pain to anyone who is on the receiving end of the blast. Its reload time is longer than the other weapons. Last but not least is the Dark Matter Gun which is kind of like the BFG10K but with a funky new effect that reminds me of a black hole being created then disappearing into nothing. Visually it is quite impressive and you do not want to be on the receiving end of that big black ball of death!

In the map map design department, Quake 4 features some old favourites from Quake 2 and 3, as well as a few new additions. The maps are a lot smaller and not as open as previous games but should be very interesting for in close combat. It will be very interesting to see what future map makers have in stall for us as this engine will allow for some amazingly detailed and fantastic maps for all game-types. There is definitely room for improvement with the maps – the ones that have shipped with the games are fun to play with but do not seem like they were designed with proper Tournaments or Capture the Flag wars in mind.

Another interesting thing to note is that the ever-present Quake console isn't actually present by default - you need to add com_allowconsole "1" to your configuration files in order to enable this functionality.

Quake 4 will definitely try to muscle its way into the online and offline gaming communities with strong support for 1-on-1 and team games. With the huge following the Quake series has gained in recent years it would be great to see it take off and open up a new playing field for everyone to take part in - both competitively and for the sheer enjoyment of the game. Quake 4 has built on and improved by far the successful formula of previous games, and we can only sit back and wait to see what mods come out in the future to make this game even better than it already is.

Gameplay Movies!

- Quake 4 Q2DM1 Movie
- Quake 4 Arena CTF Movie
- Quake 4 CTF Movie
- Quake 4 Single Player Movie


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The Dark Matter blast effect

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CTF Flags and Powerups

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A typical CTF Map

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Lightning gun in action

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A shot of the tournament bracket system