Way back in 1999, Quake 3 Arena was released to high praise. The game featured outstanding visuals for it’s time and many gameplay innovations that blew people away. This was before the days of online multiplayer on console games; if you wanted to play online you had to do so on a computer. At the time the Dreamcast was the only home console to even feature online play, and would remain that way until the Xbox in 2002. Fast forward to 2010 and I find myself playing an 11 year old PC game on my Xbox 360. In the days of regenerating health and living, breathing worlds, does this ancient piece of software even have a chance?
I have to be honest up front; this is a very tricky review. Quake Arena Arcade is little more than a straight port changing none of the core gameplay or mechanics, so your experience with the game is going to be largely dependent on your thoughts of the original, or similar styled “Arena” FPS games. The graphics have received an update so they look nicer on our fancy new HD sets and while it certainly is an improvement over the original, it’s not a very large one.
One of the first updates the game mentions is a new single player campaign. However this is nothing more than a series of deathmatch games against bots that increase in difficulty each level. Some will feature more opponents, but it’s usually a one-on-one match. Not a bad experience, but overall forgettable and honestly not what anybody will be looking at this game for. If you’re looking at Quake Arena Arcade for a single player experience, look elsewhere.
Multiplayer is the heart of this title, and where it truly shines. The weapons are varied and balanced with health and armor pickups scattered evenly across the map. When you get into a match it’s fast-paced fun from beginning to end; assuming you’re able to get into one. It would appear that this title was overlooked by a great many people, as every time I searched for a match it could take awhile to find one that was populated with more than a handful of players.
In all the games I played I did experience some noticeable lag from time to time. This was actually not much more than I see in other online games, but even a minimal amount in a game as fast paced as this can result in death. The switch to a controller was not kind to this game, and it will require all of your attention to side-step every ledge or incoming rocket.
The level of customization available is quite simply outstanding. While there are dozens of models for you to choose from for your character, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It starts of small by changing the color and shape of your crosshair; a feature actually used as a selling point in Call of Duty Black Ops. From there it spreads to the incredible, including an option for your enemies to all use the brighter version of their model, or even selecting a specific model for all of your enemies to use. The game tops it off with an option that is absolutely incredible, and honestly it’s criminal that this is something to be excited about rather than a standard feature. That is, 100% customizable controls. It truly is a shame that this feature has fallen to the side rather than being just another boring bullet-point not even mentioned.
Quake Arena Arcade feels very dated in it’s graphics and gameplay, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It provides a very solid multiplayer experience, and if you’re looking for a change of pace from Call of Duty or Bad Company 2 you should really take a good look at this one before passing it up. If you’re a fan of the original it’s almost a no-brainer. Similarly if you hated the original, nothing here is going to change your mind. Just try to get your friends to pick it up as well, or spread the word so you’ll have more people to play with.
- Title: Quake Arena Arcade
- Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
- Developer: iD Software
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: December 15th, 2010
- MSRP: $15 (1200 Microsoft Points)
- Review Copy Info: A copy of the title was was provided to DualShockers Inc, by the publisher for purposes of this review.