I've been playing Quake for 15 years, and yet I still consider myself a novice among the likes of most players, Fatal1ty, Rapha, Lat, and Wompa164 just to name a few. My ability to critique the game, however, is nothing less than masterful.
After playing Quake Champions beta for a while, below are my thoughts on the game.
I'm happy to report that Quake Champions is definitely a Quake title, rather than being an imposter. I'm impressed by the fact that, despite the game introducing many modern conveniences, it manages to retain the soul of the original shooter without compromise.
Quake Champions is best explained as an upgraded replica of Quake 3 in terms of movement and weapons, and that's a great thing. Quake 3's movement and weapons were so good that they have been emulated countless times over the decades, taken into consideration during the development of titles such as Ricochet, Warsow, and Painkiller. Though, there will only ever be one originator, and Quake Champions is the child of that precious product.
Put simply, it feels great to play. It has that natural twitchy feeling that is so uncommon among modern FPS games, to a point where it can be picked up and played faster than just about any game out there. Its pure gameplay mechanics are also something that the competitive side of the FPS genre has been missing for a while. In fact, it's so competitive that it very well might curb the potential of its player base; there are sure to be many players who try the game for a few moments before learning how high the skill cap really is and turning away.
While the Bethesda forums may be currently riddled with complaints of performance issues, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone complaining about gameplay, which is quite the triumph. Are wait times a bit long? Yes. Did I have to roll back my nVidia drivers, perform a system restore, and eventually format my computer after reinstalling the Beta 5x? Yes. Will I ever stop doing what I need to play Quake Champions? No way José.
The Quake community, like most gaming communities, is very scrutinous, unforgiving, and elitist, so any critiques you may see on the forums must be taken with a grain of salt. This is a community that demands nothing but perfection and then some. For id Software that's a bit of a development nightmare, but the good thing is that many of the complaints are outer layers of the title, rather than being complications with its foundation that will forever leave it crippled.
I'm sure at this point I seem a bit biased in favor of Quake, but let me assure you, I'm full of complaints. The first of these is the game's virtual currency. Used to unlock the different skins and classes (Champions), it's a rather large element of the game's structure. You read that correctly: virtual currency has infiltrated the Quake franchise—armageddon has arrived.
I can see it now: "Hey, team, we need a heavy class for our upcoming match, does anybody have a spare dollar?". Or, "I want to make my armor less visible by changing the default color to dark green. Does anybody have five bucks?" Welcome to next-gen gaming.
Of course, if you play enough, then you can rack up enough in-game currency to "borrow" classes for 24 hour periods at a time—as of June 8th, so apparently we're making progress—, but consider having to "save up" for tournaments. It's mind boggling, but I believe by the time the game releases these concerns will be largely solved.
Another common complaint is the future asymmetry of 1 v 1 battles. With the class system introduced, additional variables push the game into being reliant on team orientation for balance, rather than the symmetrical simplicity of previous releases. This is a fundamental change of the franchise that could be deal-breaker for some veterans, but does provide opportunity for the franchise to grow into new territory.
Lastly, I should mention that I've been playing the game on low settings due to my hardware being outdated. Due to this, my visual experience has suffered tragically; the textures around me look like they were made in MS Paint. Though, I've watched footage of the game being played on max settings and it definitely looks the part of a proper 2017 Quake game. Now, if only I can get a PC upgrade at a fair price.
These are just some quick thoughts regarding Quake Champions. Ultimately, I'm happy with the direction of the game. It's a next-generation Quake game, and that's all I was hoping for.
Quake Champions will release later this year exclusively for PC.
Trent Kahn is the Social Media Manager for GameRevolution. His favorite games include Quake 3, Riven, and Team Fortress Classic.