I literally had no idea that this game was being released this week. I've always wanted to try it out on the PC, but never got around to it. Now I can experience this great PC game on my 360! And unlike Haze, the game actually looks like the screenshots below my review, so that's always a plus! On to the review:
GRAPHICS: Though this game is a port, you'd be hard pressed to see that in the visuals. id Softwares proprietary "Megatexture" technology allows for HUGE draw distances with very little, if any pop up or fog. This also allows the each battlefield certain amounts of depth that comes with the the fogless horizon, that is usually not seen in these types of games. That being said, I have yet to encounter any game crippling lag that some of these games are known for. The character models are excellent and provide lots of detail. The animations are a bit on the stiff side, but you'll hardly notice small things like that in a large firefight. The lighting is another plus and gives the game a nice look and feel. Vehicles have plenty of detail and as with the characters are animated a little too stiff. Yes, the suspension works, but nothing that looks or feels as realistic or at least like the Warthog in the halo series. The levels are also well designed to offer enough "Quake" like moments (corridor fragging), but still give you the openess of the Battlefield games. It's a great mix that almost any Quake fan can feel at home playing. The guns are also modeled very well and can even be iron sighted to give you that COD4 look. Fire and explosions are something that id Software really needs to work on. They look far to flat and give of that "1998 FPS" vibe, but in no way does that detract from the overall polish of the graphics.
SOUND: This area is a sort of a mixed bag. While the guns sound great, they really lack the punch of what they should sound like. Likewise with the explosions. While they do go BOOM really loud, they just seem, I don't know sorta weak. I didn't come across any situations where your allies repeat the same lines over and over and over, similiar to how Haze's annoying characters do. The vehicles sound great.
GAMEPLAY: Just like any great Quake game, you've really got to love fast paced gameplay. The aiming is quite smooth and the auto-aim, while a tad ridiculous in its exactness, does help newbies and gives everyone a chance to get some kills and finish objectives. So it's very accessable to a wide range of players. While not as fast as Quake III, it still seems really quick for a game of this type. Most games like this are plodding, slow to action affairs where you really need to hike to get to the action. In Quake Wars you really do die often, so you'll respawn often as well. It's not really that big of a deal, at least not as bad as some reviews are making it out to be. It's actually better,because if you could respawn and get back to the objective quickly, then you'd have tons of people clogging it up and no one would ever get it. It's making you fight smarter and really think about how to approach or assault any given objective. I think the game is fairly balanced as well. I've yet to encounter a situation where I felt I was out gunned. Usually it's because they had the drop on me or I needed to reload my weapon and didn't. The vehicles also play a key role in getting you and your troops to the frontlines quickly. It is also very important to emphisize teamwork above all. If you're on a team that is mostly comprised of soldiers, it would be a good idea to pick a different supporting class like medic or field ops. Some objectives can only be completed by certain classes, so it's important to deversify your squad. You'll also upgrade your character class skills depending on how well you play any given role. This opens up a lot more possibilities in the gameplay. The only problem is they are not presistant, so you'll lose them every time you play a game online. I didn't really care for how they handled your inventories either. It's a pain to have to cycle through you're weapons to switch to a sidearm or grenade. Also calling on help from allies uses a more awkward system then the weapons. You have to press up on the D-pad, then use the right analog stick to select what you need (i.e., health, ammo, assistance) then let go of the D-pad while still holding in the direction of what you wanted. Very cumbersome in the heat of battle. There are also some really looooooooooooooooooooong load times, but once you're in the game it's very smooth and load free! If MP isn't your bag, then you can always play through the SP campaign, which is quite lengthy for a game of this type. While not 10 hours or anything, it does last for at least 4-6 hours. The bot A.I. is also some of the best I've seen and actually plays like a real person would. It makes the SP portion a lot more bearable compared to other games.
OVERALL: If you haven't played the PC version, then this is a great introduction to the game. It offers most if not all of the content (not user created content of course) of its PC brethren. It's a solid purchase if team/class based FPSs are you're thing and you're willing to use tactics and a mic.
Thanks for reading!