Quake Live Review
Developer: id Software / Publisher: id Software / ESRB: Teen (Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence) / Played on: PC / Price: Free
Dust off your Nailgun and get ready to jump back into the Arena – the wizards from id Software are at it again. Quake III has returned to the multiplayer limelight as QUAKE LIVE, a free-to-play first person shooter that picks up right where Arena left off at the turn of the century. If you’ve never played Quake III Arena (or any Quake for that matter), then you’ve been missing out on some of the most adrenaline-fueled gaming in the last decade. And with a free (free!) browser-based distribution model, you’ve got no excuse to miss out on the action.
You Get What You Pay For (And More)
Simply put, Quake Live is a stripped down version of Quake III Arena. Vets and rookies alike will fall in love with this breakneck tactical FPS. The classic gameplay is amazingly fluid for a browser-based application. All it takes is about five minutes of downloading and a plugin installation, then you’re ready to rock. The whole process is painless and takes less effort than coming up with a cool user name.
As you can imagine, Quake Live sacrifices visual fidelity for glitch-free gaming. The textures and models are undeniably sub-par, even compared to the ten-year-old title that precedes it. (But as they say — if you’re gonna make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs). On the bright side, the streamlining process may have stripped some of the charm, but it hasn’t stripped away the basics. The HUD has been properly simplified, the list of maps and avatars is a best-of-the-franchise-best, and five game types offer all you really need to scratch the Arena itch. It’s just a bummer that it doesn’t look up to snuff with today’s leading shooters. Quake Live is certainly the finest browser-based first person shooter, but is that enough?
If you’re a Quake fan, the answer is definitively yes.
The Next Level
If you’re a FPS aficionado and Quake Live is up your alley, you can go pro with the benefits of an upgraded membership. I’d start with the Premium Membership – for two bucks a month you get access to 20 additional Arena maps, the “where-has-this-been-all-my-life?” Freeze Tag game mode, and the ability to create clans. Plus you get full customer support and you can skip the lousy pre-game ads (eliminating much hassle in the process).
And if you’re really into Quake Live, four bucks a month gets you all the premium features plus the ability to start and customize your own matches — a dividing line for any serious gamer. This Pro Membership also keeps up to one year of your match stat history on file, which elevates Quake Live to the level of competitiveness you’d expect from such a hallowed franchise.
Did I Mention It’s Free?
There’s absolutely no reason to miss out on Quake Live. In addition to time-tested gameplay mechanics, one of the greatest aspects of Quake Live is the robust community interaction and developer support. Quake has taken a bold step in the evolution of social network gaming. Event-style sessions, such as those hosted by “DevPick” servers, dish up a healthy amount of fresh and friendly competition. And even though it’s not the best looking shooter out there, it may very well live up to its claim as “the hottest multiplayer FPS on the web.”