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Videogames-To-Flix #28

01.03.2007

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!

QUAKE 4

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Developer: Raven Software / id Software
Publisher: Activision
Systems: XBOX 360, PC, Mac

INTRODUCTION:

Last year QUAKE 4 was a launch title for the XBOX 360 (in addition to a release on PCs and Macs). It was often overlooked and sometimes even forgotten because it was eclipsed by CALL OF DUTY 2 and PERFECT DARK ZERO (the two most hyped FPS titles available at launch). Nevertheless, now that the used price of this game makes it a budget title, gamers looking for a new shooter to conquer should read on.

QUAKE 4's story takes place after the events of QUAKE 2 (also included with the XBOX 360 and PC Special Edition), featuring protagonist Matthew Kane as a Space Marine attempting to infiltrate a menace known as the Strogg. Players battle through multiple levels of sci-fi action alone or with the the help of their fellow marines (not co-op), hoping to end the menace of a Borg-like enemy. In addition to a full-blown single player game, QUAKE 4 also includes a never-ending allowance of multiplayer gaming. While online traffic for this game (on XBOX 360) has slowed to an almost complete stop, that shouldn't stop you from setting up your own online battles with friends.

GAMEPLAY:

From developer id software, QUAKE 4 shares a lot of similarities to another of their titles, DOOM 3. Both games share the same engine and control scheme. Fans of DOOM 3 and PREY (also using the DOOM engine) will feel right at home when playing QUAKE 4 and exploring another chapter of this sci-fi shooter.

QUAKE 4 includes a wide variety of weaponry to take down the Strogg. Like most first-person shooters, you will find some of the weapons are reliable for all assaults, while other are best used strategically. The weapons don't inject anything revolutionary to the genre. Some are effective long range, while others are explosive or rapid fire. The lack of hand grenades is noticeable and unfortunate. Fortunately, the rocket launcher is exactly how I like my projectile weapons: fast, accurate, and explosive.

While the non-vehicular combat is well-designed, vehicular levels leave plenty to be desired. The vehicles don't add much fun to gameplay, particularly levels designed "on-the-rails". QUAKE 4's vehicles severely lack the fun-factor associated with games like BATTLEFIELD 2: MODERN COMBAT or HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED.

Gameplay is quite traditional in QUAKE 4 and that is a welcome design decision (unlike the cover system in PERFECT DARK ZERO). Gamers can pick up the controller and jump right in, like putting on winter gloves. The inclusion of squad support adds to overall above average implementation of gameplay.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

GRAPHICS:

One of the biggest challenges with launch titles is living up to the visual expectations for next-gen. QUAKE 4 doesn't look next-gen. However, its graphics are far superior to anything on original XBOX and are far and above ports designed for multiple systems. QUAKE 4 lags behind graphical delights CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS, PERFECT DARK ZERO, PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 3, and CALL OF DUTY 2. Its quite obvious that the graphics were designed first for high-end PC gamers and then modified for the XBOX 360.

While QUAKE 4 doesn't live up the highest of next-gen standards, fans of FPSs should be satisfied with the first next-gen application of the DOOM 3 engine. Upcoming titles like the sequel to RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN and PREY should look gloriously next-gen whenever they hit. And despite QUAKE's inability to rise to the top of XBOX 360's launch titles, it is still ahead of the pack. Titles like AMPED 3, KAMEO, RIDGE RACER 6, and GUN all pale in front of the graphics in QUAKE 4.

Overall, QUAKE 4 walks the fine line that separates great graphics from bad graphics. While no one will be floored by the visuals, no one should be bothered either. QUAKE 4 looks like a modern game and its graphics will not take away from the experience in any way.

Graphics: 8.5/10

AUDIO:

Easily the most surprising aspect of QUAKE 4 is the voice acting. Veteran character actor Peter Stormare supplies the voice of a character that is normally expendable. Stormare kept me sucked into story from the first scene he appeared in, up until his last consonant. Instead of just wasting his talent on stilted dialogue, Stormare adds life to each and every line he spoke.

The music and sound effects are both well designed, but never extend beyond background support. They fit in with the average level graphical content and never take away from the cast's voice work. I always prefer a great interactive score to accompany my shooters, something PREY hit right on the head. QUAKE 4 invests more time into the script of the story rather than the score and effects. I can respect that and understand the decision.

Audio: 8.6/10

FINAL VERDICT:

QUAKE 4 is one of those forgotten releases that was looked over because it came out in the midst of the holiday onslaught. Its not perfect and not the best of games available for the XBOX 360. It is a worthwhile experience and will enjoy better placement in my library above over-hyped games like PERFECT DARK ZERO. If you enjoyed DOOM 3 or PREY, you'll dig QUAKE 4.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

STATUS OF THE MOVIE:

Todd Hollenshead, the CEO of id Software, supposedly said QUAKE 4 was the company's next game-to-movie adaptation after DOOM. This comment came from a now lost interview with SCI FI Wire that appeared before DOOM bombed. Throughout the years there have been many rumors about a RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN or QUAKE movie. They definitely are strong a-list properties that could breakout, but DOOM's failure is not a great indicator.

MY XBOX GAMERTAG:

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