Classic games have always been a great thing to go back to time and time again. Whether it be for the nostalgia or the gameplay, you could always go back to some games and still enjoy it as much as you used to. One game the PC community adored for an entire decade was id Softwares' Quake 3: Arena, with super fast paced, brutal and in your face deathmatches that is still argued to be one of the most perfected forms of FPS, ever. Sure, it wasn't realistic, but it was incredibly fun and addictive, and had an enormous following both in the competitive and modding scene.
Now a decade later, with the echoes of the Arena now beginning to wane, id Software decided to unleash Quake Live to the masses. Quake Live is essentially Quake 3: Arena, only more refined, expanded upon and best of all, free.
That's right, Quake Live is entirely free to play, and oddly enough, played through a web browser. So with this, PALGN decided to take a plunge into the Arena once again, and see if the bloodsport from so long ago has retained its intensity.
Thankfully, it did. From what we've played of Quake Live so far, the feeling of super fast paced deathmatch pulsing through us again still feels just as awesome as it did 10 years ago, only now with a slew of improvements that will keep players coming back.
Much like Q3:A, Quake Live boasts the usual array of game modes, ranging from Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Instagib (Deathmatch with one-shot kill Rail guns only) and Capture the Flag. QLive adds in two extra game modes however, those being Duel and Clan Arena.
Duel is essentially deathmatch, only built for two players specifically. Servers usually hold up to 6 players at once, and after each duel the loser gets put into queue and the next player goes in to fight the winner. It's standard competitive dueling that's made easy for people to access.
Clan Arena on the other hand is a redesigned version of the popular Q3:A modification, Rocket Arena 3. The mode is team based and works in rounds, where each round the objective is to annihilate the opposing team. The twist however is that everyone begins with full armour, health and ammo, and you take no self damage (though you do damage your own armour, so caution is advised), so you can do some insane rocket jump tricks. This mode we've found to be the most fun so far, as there's nothing more exhilirating than being able to propel yourself off walls and hit ridiculously high speeds, and the chaos of each match is a sight to behold. The matches can draw themselves out quite a bit too, with each team requiring 10 round wins to win overall, so there's a huge amount of enjoyment to be had there.
Weapons such as the much loved Rocket Launcher and Rail Gun are still there, retaining the same feel and heft of the Q3:A counterparts, only prettied up a little more and balanced out in terms of damage. Some extra additions made it into some of the CTF maps too, such as the gattling gun and some special armour types, which come from the lesser known Quake 3: Team Arena. There's a ton of other things to play and do in Quake Live, and the fact that it's free only makes the deal ever more sweeter. That and over 25 maps to play on. How's that for awesome value?
Visually, you can't expect much, with the game running on ID Tech 3, the same engine that ran Q3:A. It has received a few small upgrades, with some better texturing in a few areas, a much smoother feel and better support for widescreen monitors. Otherwise don't expect to be amazed at the game's visuals. On the positive side of this though, any computer from the past 5 years will easily run this game well, and considering its small download size (about 400 mb overall), we can't really complain about visuals. Half the time you probably won't even notice them anyway, due to moving so fast through the game. The same can also be said for the audio. There's nothing incredible, it's all been seen before albeit now slightly upgraded, and has been made easier to use for tracking opponents in game.
While technically speaking it's nothing special, we do have to give credit to the netcode and browser integration of the game. We haven't had a single problem since starting our Quake fest, and games have been incredibly smooth to say the least. Hit registration is almost flawless and the game flows beautifully through our browsers. Phenomenal job, id.
Quake Live deserves to be played at least once. Whether you're a veteran or a newcomer, this game definitely needs to be played and experienced. The flow of the game still holds up amazingly well to this day, and it doesn't need to rely on RPG systems, weapon upgrades or any of those features to keep you hooked. Sure, modern FPS games have progressed greatly since the days of Quake 3: Arena, but we'll be the first to admit, most of them have never been as fun. Quake Live brings the Arena back into our homes and at no cost either. To experience one of the most fast paced and pure FPS experiences ever created, sign up to Quake Live, and enjoy the ride. See you in the arena.