a (comprehensive) review by the Crow.
Opening Thoughts/Personal Anecdotes
As I write this, it has been exactly one week since I started playing Quake Champions. This post — by the time you read it — will be a week past even that mark.
I am not someone known for his love of games. That said: I do have quite a substantial collection of games in my various “libraries”. The games which I am most fond of at the moment are Endless Legend (which I’m — admittedly — beginning to grow a little tired of, and Crusader Kings II. That should give you an idea of what I usually like, and what I’m like. However, I do have a history of playing… other sorts of games; games that certain people might sneer upon as “lowbrow”.
FPS games (yes, I come from that era).
Most recently, it was Crysis 2 (I feel ancient), a game in which I regularly ranked in the Top 50 standings in ([BOCA] for the win! I’ll beat that drum to death.), despite it being the first — and only — competetive FPS game I played on multiplayer with a controller.
Before that, it was Unreal Tournament 3, prior to which I’d played Unreal Tournament 2004 (still the best, in my eyes), and the original incarnation of the game.
But long ago, I played the other one — my introduction to FPS; a game I played and replayed for years down the line, one of the greatest computer (and I stress “computer”) games of all time — Quake III: Arena. There was something to the honesty of the game — the minimalism, if you will — that continues to attract me to this day, even after so many years.
Quake III: Arena was — to me — “it”. I was aware of the other Quake games, but I found nothing of much interest in them. They just weren’t as ‘pure’ experiences.
And so I found myself slowly slipping into other franchises. Unreal Tournament: the excellent clone. Crysis 2: a game with a single-player campaign so hilariously terrible that it might as well just have been a multiplayer-only game (why even hire Richard Morgan?).
The time of Quake — as I knew it, and saw it — was over, and I found myself at peace with that fact. The time of games so pure was over and done with. There were new breeds of “shoot-’em up” games on the market; games that dominate the industry so much (and Crysis 2 was one of those) that each of them blend into one product, in my mind. They all seem so similar to me (and paint me a hypocrite for waxing nostalgic about the time of ‘purer’ FPS games, since Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament were largely indistinguishable).
I was only vaguely aware of Quake Champions when it was originally announced a few years ago. And when the initial gameplay videos hit the internet, I thought that maybe — just maybe — I’d aged out of the genre. Maybe it was time to accept the fact that I wouldn’t ever go back to the youngling I was during those long, high-intensity LAN parties. Things moved too fast. Things moved too quick. I wouldn’t enjoy it like I used to.
And then, last week, something happened. It was something personal — a shift in my life that has changed the course of many things. And with a break in my usual routine, I decided to dip my toe in the water and see what was up. But it wasn’t a random decision. There was a spark that led to the fire.
It came a day or so after I idly commented that Chris Smalling’s new haircut (if it could be considered a haircut and not a terribly-built pigeon’s nest) made him look like a rejected skin from Q3A. And all of a sudden, I remembered Quake Champions.
It was “free-to-play”, and so I started to download it on Steam. I had no expectations, really. I had no idea what I was really wading into. I expected to be fragged into oblivion when I did step foot into multiplayer. I came home from a quick shop and fired up the game. And — to my surprise — the interface looked… nigh unusable. It looked like a mobile game, and once I was past that initial surprise, I fired up the tutorial.
Now, here’s a funny story: I don’t have a mouse. And the game doesn’t work with controllers. To top it off, my beast of a laptop’s trackpad is dead (blame cider). So what do I have to work with? A graphic tablet. An old Intous 4 (PTK-640) by Wacom. The 13-inch “small” model.
I have a history of making games incredibly difficult to play — like that one time I powered through the just-released, horribly-broken Arkham Knight, armed with nothing but my keyboard and trackpad, resolved to beat it (I did, and I believe I deserve a medal for that achievement).
The thing about graphic tablets isn’t just that they’re difficult to use when it comes to gaming, but that they come with three distinct problems:
- Every time the pen leaves sensor range and returns, the camera automatically snaps back to where you were (or wherever the machine thinks you were) originally looking, even once you’ve turned. This makes turning anywhere beyond 90 degrees or so in any direction a hassle, and sometimes means you’re barely on the verge of aiming at someone, but unable to hit them before they frag you.
- Aiming is almost impossible unless the opponent is directly ahead of you. This speaks for itself
- And, the big one: I only figured this out after firing up Quake Champions. On a normal mouse, a sensitivity of 0.5 is murderously slow. For a graphic tablet, it’s a mouse on near-max settings. This makes so many games I thought I’d never play playable once again.
You might be wondering why I don’t just go and buy a mouse. Well, I have one that came with the tablet, and while my set up makes it difficult to have a mouse where one should be, I’ve committed to using the pen until I master it. And to be honest: I’ve been getting quite good at using it.
I’ve elected to use the “free-to-play” path and earn my way into the game (but more on that later. I don’t intend to leave the team dry.). Of course, this means that I’ll have to set aside time for the game, but I’m more than happy to log in every day, grab my daily reward, and play whenever time presents itself.
With all that said, what do I think of the game itself? Well, let me tell you:
Quake Champions: Plot, Characters, Game-Modes, and Loot
WARNING: This section contains NO spoilers. Because there is nothing to spoil.
Plot and Characters: This is Quake. In Arena-mode. Do you really expect there to be a plot? Well, strangely enough, there is a little inkling of a plot I can see forming.
Obviously, plot is not a priority, but there are little hints as to what is going on. A creative individual can piece together the narrative from little clues that appear throughout the game — most notably right from the beginning. One of Ranger‘s — the character everyone starts out with, and the one I’ve committed to for the moment — spawning lines is:
“Where have the portals taken me this time…?”
And another — for good measure — is:
“I need to find a slipgate out of this place…”
Corvid-eyed readers might notice that these are callbacks to the original Quake, in which Ranger was ‘slipped’ into a one-man war against Codename: Quake — the Lovecraftian entity known as Shub-Niggurath. And one of Ranger’s ‘finishing moves’ is indeed commended as “Shub-Slayer” by the omnipresent narrator of the action.
Along with Ranger, come familiar faces in the Doom Slayer and B.J. Blazkowicz — the protagonists of Doom and Wolfenstein; fan favourites Visor, Anarki, and Slash also return, as do Keel and Sorlag (characters I loved playing as in Q3A). New characters Scalebearer, Death Knight, Clutch, Nyx, and Galena make up the rest of the roster along with a Strogg and his Peeker from Quake 4, and new addition Athena. From playing matches, scrolls can be unlocked that expand on their character bios.
These scrolls are the most concrete narrative we are given. And based on them, we can make an educated guess that the Vadrigar (or someone very much like them) are up to their old pastimes again. Only this time, they’re not just bringing in the fiercest warriors of all time from their own reality, but different fictional universes that share an underlying code with their own.
But as I said: plot is not a priority, here.
The Champions themselves show glimpses of personality: all individually voice-acted and given animations that set them apart; but at the end of the day, they are weapons for the player to exploit. The little bits of uniqueness their “characters” have is non-point when compared to their abilities.
Each Champion has an “Active Ability” and up to two features which count as their “Passive Ability” (the second of these Passive Abilities is both rare, and usually something irrelevant, such as the Doom Slayer’s “Strong, but Silent” feature).
For Ranger, it lies in the “Dire Orb” that he picked out from the Corpse of Shub-Niggurath herself: a teleportation mechanism with… explosive effects. Scalebearer comes with a “Bull Rush” — a devastating forward charge that is nigh-impossible to stop. And so on and so forth.
The passive abilities are varied as well, with some amounting to cooldown effects for the Champion’s “Active Ability”, and some granting immunity to specific kinds of damage. For the most part, they’re features best left to the back of the new player’s mind, since it takes a while to get used to switching between the Champions — especially during an ongoing match.
The tools are varied, and the ways in which they can be used — while apparently straightforward — allows for a variety of play-styles and strategies in the hands of the player.
Runes: Another aspect that expands a (tiny) little bit on the Champions themselves is the “Rune” system. Each character comes with a book of runes, in which there are collections of ten runes dedicated to each of four “Elder Gods”: Volkerth, Ithanal, Orgoroth/Goroth (something got lost in translation, here), and Cthala.
The runes are simply “challenges” that exist to encourage the player to use each hero in a specific style of play. They are in no way necessary to the game at its core, since a competent enough player can just choose a Champion and start fragging, but the rewards each rune provides can be quite the incentive to explore new play-styles. I could go as far as to credit the runes with why I have warmed to Galena, lately.
The “final” rewards for completing every rune under an Elder God’s dial, and for completing every rune for a Champion (achieving “Mastery” over all Elder Gods challenges) overall amount to specially-animated skins, all of which are frankly quite silly-looking — in my opinion. They provide a ridiculously worthless “reward” and do not affect the game in any way that’s positive.
Most of the rewards amount to decent amounts of favour or collections of Loot Boxes (addressed later when I get to the Loot Boxes and in-game Currencies). It’s a system that does have its merits, but they seem a little… mild in comparison to the tasks set out for the player.
But the journey is the important thing as far as the runes are concerned. I do think that completing all the runes is quite a heavy task, and that players chasing said Mastery will have to spend many an hour in-game to complete all the tasks, especially considering how uncommon it is to come across runes in the first place. They are items which drop only from the “Backpack” loot boxes, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
First, allow me a flight of fancy with some Champions I would like to see included further down the line.
Flights of Fancy: As someone who once had quite a fondness for the colourful cast of characters presented in Quake III: Arena, there are a few “Champions” I would like to see return down the line.
My nominations are:
- Orbb: Easily the most visually distinct character from Q3A. Visor may have his “Piercing Sight”, but Orbb could easily have another sight-based Active Ability.
- Tank Jr (or maybe — now — Sr): Yet another visually distinct character who could compete with the likes of Scalebearer, Sorlag, and Clutch in terms of sheer size. His(?) possible Active Ability? Perhaps turret emplacement, maybe a “hull down” mode, or just a defensive carapace.
- Crash: Honestly, it’d just be fun to see her again after she was treated as the whipping-girl of Q3A. Her Active Ability? Well… how about the ability to use a “Personal Teleporter” such as in Q3A and respawn in a different part of the map without a mark against her name. Make her weak and slow, and you have a challenge for the player right there.
- Uriel: Once again: visually distinct. Potential Active Ability? Simple: mist — the ability to cloud an area in a thick mist that allows her some — and I stress some — degree of invisibility. Or is that too much?
- Xaero: There should be no escaping the former Master of the Arena Eternal. Possible Active Abilities could include a mark-enemy-and-deal-railgun-damage system which would require the player to “paint” targets in quick succession.
- Honorable mentions: Cadaver and Lucy.
Of course, these are just ideas I’m throwing out there with no foundation whatsoever, but it would be nice to see some familiar faces make a comeback.
Game-Modes: Far as the Game-Modes are concerned, the basics are present under “Quick Play” in the form of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch (my personal favourite mode), as well as the current Slipgate mode (running October 11 — 31). However, if one wants to play a “Ranked” 1v1 or 2v2 Duel, one has to give up on the DM/TDM queue. The same applies to the “Arcade” tab pictured above (featuring a Team Instagib mode, as well as a rotating variety of game modes that come by every other week).
Under the Quick Play section, there is also a TDM vs Bots mode which no one ever plays (with good reason, but we’ll get to that later). This, too, has to be queued for separately.
In all honesty, this is quite annoying.
Why can’t one just queue for a variety of Game Modes and join whichever comes first? Some of these modes are extremely under-played and it would be nice to chance upon a game without having to waste time Alt+Tabbing away from the game (to look at something more interesting than whichever Champion is cycling through their animations on the screen at the moment). As far as I understand it, early in the game’s Beta-phase, this was a viable option. It’d be nice to see this feature re-introduced into the game.
Team Deathmatch continues to be the most rewarding of experiences, and Deathmatch isn’t far behind. As far as I’m concerned, these two modes are all it takes to make me a happy crow. A permanent Capture the Flag mode would be a nice addition, since it was one of my favourite modes from Q3A, but I expect to see it pop up in the Arcade mode’s rotation at some point.
Some of the Arcade modes are sorely underplayed, and I personally find the Slipgate mode a little poor in its execution. I can see what the team has attempted to do, but with the current player-base, I expect the empty lobbies to be an issue for some time to come.
And to add to that point, I have yet to find someone to play 2v2 duels with before I take the plunge into the 1v1 game. No one ever seems to show up. And that makes me a sad crow.
The Store and Loot Boxes: The store is the usual fare we see in so many mobile-styled games, these days. There are the usual offers and bundles. Most of the items are to do with skins and other accessories that change nothing about the game itself. Sales are rife and there are some interesting-looking things on display, but there are only three tabs which offer anything that offer true advantages to the gameplay.
One is — obviously — the Champions tab, and the others are the Loot Boxes and XP Boosters tabs.
There are three currencies that are used by the game.
- Platinum: purchased with money, or by a meagre weekly reward.
- Shards: given to the player upon the player collecting a piece of equipment or an accessory that they already own, or by selling an item from a Champion’s Customise tab.
- Favour: earned by the player through completing matches, mastering runes, and completing daily challenges (which are quite easy to complete, and total 6,000 per day).
Shards are exclusively used to purchase “Chests” from the Loot Box store, whereas favour and platinum can be used for a variety of purposes. I have myself not purhased an XP boost so far, but joining a party usually confers XP and favour boosts anyway (much less than an actual booster, I surmise).
Thanks to a recent change to the store, new champions no longer come with a flat rate and can be bought in (favour) increments of 50k, 125k, 250k, and so on and so forth. Platinum is the only currency that seems stable at the moment, and with good reason; it’s the only real ‘take’ that the team behind Quake Champions can claim, what with the game sticking to its “Free-to-Play” ethos.
Far as the Loot Boxes go, they are fundamentally broken. Chests (purchased with Shards) are earned upon completing a skill level, and offer nothing but skins and accessories, it seems. Reliquaries (purchased with Platinum), which promise only the best of drops do much the same, only with a useless item or two announced as epic. I did — I believe — earn Galena through one around the time I started playing, but nothing of the sort has happened again. At this stage, the only reason I look forward to Backpacks (which confer the lowest rewards; earned with Favour) is to find new runes, which seem exclusive to this type of loot box.
There really is little to be earned from these items, if you aren’t one exactly thrilled by the “shiny-shiny” of new coats of paint, and it’s a shame that there aren’t other kinds of incentives to encourage players to take these drops seriously. Apart from the occassional backpack, I’m personally happy to wait for backpacks and chests to drop from playing the game, completing runes, and levelling up. Each week, a Reliquary is offered through the daily log-in rewards, so it’s not as if active players will miss out on much, either.
And it’s here where I feel I should make something clear.
Although I have elected to use the Free-to-Play approach to the game, I also understand that the development team isn’t exactly making a lot of money based on my in-game experiences (I’ll touch on this in the gameplay section). I do intend to support the game, and will be purchasing an appropriate amount of platinum now that I have completed two weeks in the game. And I would encourage any fans of the series — who can afford it as spare change — to do the same. I’m a hoarder of in-game wealth, so I doubt I’ll go on a champion-buying spree, but I think it’s only fair to pay for the price of a full Triple-A title if one has spent two weeks playing what is essentially a demo that offers the full game.
Without the support of its player-base, I don’t see a healthy future for Quake Champions.
Quake Champions: Gameplay, Tools, a Few Gripes, and Maps
General: The gameplay of Quake Champions is fast-paced, unrelenting, and favours opportunists to a great degree when one starts out. The only way to improve at the game is to go through the baptism-by-fire that is presented to you. The tutorials are barebones at best and doesn’t prepare one for what’s to come by any means. Stepping into a game with any player who’s been ‘blooded’ through mutliplayer, or carries over experience from Q3A (like myself) is not going to end well for the new face on the block. However, the skills required can be quickly be picked up through practice, practice, and more practice.
The game moves at near-breakneck speed and getting used to the various “Champions” can take a little while. I’ve had a hell of a time getting used to Galena (the “Unholy Paladin”), and have called her “utter rubbish” whilst in-game. Skip to two days into chasing a rune in her name (I forget which one), and I’m getting “Blessed” medals in every game on one night.
Ranger is by far the easiest to start out with, but a little tricky to master. The “Deadly Slipgates” medal is admirable, but it’s when “Shub Slayer” announcements become a regular feature in your gameplay that you know you’ve understood how to play the character. (As a side-note: some people seem quite displeased with the “tele-fragging” aspect. I myself find great joy in shutting down sudden bull-rushes with the ability, as well as faking out “ring out” deaths only to return for another go.)
Is there an issue with balance far as the Champions are concerned? I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t played all the characters so far. But I don’t mind a little disbalance in a game such as Quake Champions. It shouldn’t be the weapon you’re using. It’s how you use it. (I have my eye on Visor at the moment, since I’m looking forward to seeing how my pen fares with such a game-style.)
Quake Champions is an unapologetic, harsh, and lightning fast game tailored to purists of PC shooter games. To appreciate it, one has to go through the gauntlet — so to speak — and learn the unspoken tricks of the game by observation and imitation.
Toys and Tools: The game does away with the fancier power-ups of Q3A and offers only two in their place: Protection, and the infamous Quad-Damage (this time rendered in magenta) — a choice which I feel is a step in the right direction. Sure, powerups such as Haste, Flight, and the like were fun to play around with, but they were a little gimmick-y and I’m personally pleased to see them leave.
The weapon loadouts are a little different as well. A brand-new weapon — the Nailgun — replaces Q3A‘s legendary Plasma Gun, and the very-underused Grenade Launcher is replaced by an interesting cousin in the ‘Tribolt‘. The Tribolt, I’m not yet sold on, but the Nailgun is a fun new weapon to play around with (my own bad aim aside). The rest of the options are largely the same things we’ve seen before. There are Machine Guns, Shotguns, Rocket Launchers, Lightning Guns, and Railguns; and of course, the bladed humiliation-machine: the Gauntlet.
(Side note: as I was writing the above paragraph out, an advertisement for something showed up on my YouTube page. Can you guess what it was for?)
A nice addition to the game is the ability to choose a “starting weapon” just before each spawn. The options are between ‘lighter’ versions of Weapons number two, three, and four: the Machine Gun, the Shotgun, and the Nailgun. And along with this choice, the player is also offered the chance to change their selected Champion in case their initial choice is no longer working out for them.
Health and armour pickups are still here, but the weapons do far more damage than in previous iterations of the game. The “Mega Health” and “Heavy Armour” do very little to protect one in the middle of an intense firefight. And just to point this out: I think having the timers both re-set at thirty seconds each is a little disappointing. Altering the cooldown of either one by as little as five to ten seconds would add a lot more depth to the arena-control aspect of the game.
Jump-pads, portals, and acceleration-ramps are also present, but the last of the three features in almost a cameo role in the game so far (I’ll address this point in more detail below).
And now, time for a few gripes: There are some issues with being dropped into hot zones when just connecting to a match. Whenever the game tells you a match has been found, skips map election, and starts loading up a random map — expect to be dropped straight into a firefight with nothing but whatever your starting weapon is. But it’s something I’ve learnt to excuse, since the game simply doesn’t have a player-base large enough to keep matches and lobbies occupied at all times. And in any case, it’s not like one can go un-fragged for long, anyway.
Another issue that’s recently been cropping up over the past few days — and is quickly becoming quite aggravating — is the presence of crippling lag issues in the game. Whether this is due to the fact that the developers are simply not making enough money to keep up work on the game’s back-end, or whether it’s just bad server-management, I have no clue. However, it’s becoming a real problem considering how fast-paced the game is by nature.
Another slight gripe I have is the bots. I’ll name them right now, and I hope you don’t have the misfortune of having more than one of these useless piles of code on your side. They are (by order of the Champion they are each assigned to; read up-down; left-right):
They are each and every one of them utterly useless. If they’re not busy killing themselves in a creative variety of ways, they are either performing cannon-fodder duties or running after stacked-up players with gauntlets. If anything should be counted as a “Humiliation”, it should be the very idea of being fragged by one of these idiots (I’ve been there. Trust me: I know the feeling). I’m still not sure who the bots behind Clutch or Athena are, yet (if Athena even has a bot; which, let’s face it: she probably does), but whoever they are, I assure you they’re just as worthless as the rest of their ilk.
If you’re looking for anyone to pick up a few “Impressive”s and/or “Excellent”s from, look out for these bots. They’re easy targets. And Shub-Niggurath save you if they’re on your side. All you can do is hope for a better player to be spawned into the midst of the firefight you’re sure to be engaged in.
One last thing I’d have to mention as a gripe, here, is the long waiting times between the end of a game and being shown the “Total Score” game statistics screen. It’s certainly something that could be improved upon. It’s all fine to be able to have a little chinwag with your fellow players once the game is done and over with while the scoreboard (as of the latest update to the game) is shown, but to go from that to a loading screen, to the final — detailed — match statistics screen is just a bore. Surely, there must be a way to cut down on the waiting times.
Now, to talk about a much more positive aspect of the game, let’s talk about…
The Maps: Oh, how lovely.
Here, we have a mix of old and new. A map I initially hated at first — and the map in which I played my first-ever Team Deathmatch — was Blood Covenant (pictured above). And what did I realise it to be after a few rounds of sparring? That it was only a masterful remake of fan-favourite map The Camping Grounds from Q3A.
The very-popular fan-mod turned Q3A map Blood Run also makes an appearance in a very faithful re-tread of the storied hallways. For some reason, I was quite certain that a verion of Blood Run was part of the Quake III: Arena campaign, but it appears I’m mistaken. The new maps are quite nice, even though I’m not entirely sold on Lockbox.
There is a decent spread of weapons and items around each map, which leads players to find their own routes and runs through each map to suit their preferred play-style. I don’t think there are any issues at all with balance within the maps, themselves (I’ll touch on a very specific map that stands apart later on).
The classic — and famed — Quake mix of science fiction and gothic horror imagery runs strong through each map, with the occassional reminder of the fantasy themes behind the scenes thrown into maps that feature starlit backdrops. Yes, there are the usual blood-and-guts splattered onto the walls at places, but they’re not as in-your-face as in Q3A.
Each map — bar the one I’ll come around to — features every weapon and pick-up in the game, and only one area where the Power-up appears, alternating between Quad-Damage and Protection over time.
Maybe there’s a little disappointment in me at having only twelve maps to choose from, but I have confidence that other maps will slowly be added to the game. I’m not as nostalgic about maps from earlier iterations of the Quake series as I am about the characters and thematic cues, so I’d like to see some new arenas to battle Deathmatches out in.
Each map also suits a different style of play. More spacious maps such as Burial Chamber (okay, I think it’s safe to say it’s the only one that’s so spacious) suit slower, more strategic forms of action, whereas maps such as Blood Run and Ruins of Sarnath demand a more frantic pace of the player.
Of course, not all maps suit every champion to a tee. Maps such as Burial Chamber and Corrupted Keep might be a little difficult for Champions such as Scalebearer, whereas maps such as Blood Run and Church of Azathoth aren’t entirely ideal for Champions such as Keel or Strogg and Peeker, with their narrow corridors and tight spaces. Of course, in the hands of a player who can deal with these issues, these little problems pale to nothing.
For the Slipgate Mode, each map is altered to allow for ‘home-territories’ for the two teams involved. These expanded areas aren’t available in other game modes, but it’s nice to see that the maps can be tweaked to fit new game modes.
I would have also preferred to see some ‘mirrored’ maps for modes such as Team Instagib, but that’s honestly a minor issue. Maybe if Team Instagib catches on, and Capture the Flag becomes a permanent feature, we might see some maps of the sort.
All-in-all: a damn fine job with every map (apart from Lockbox, in my opinion). The aesthetics are nice, and the scores associated with every map are quite appropriate, far as I think.
I would like to take the time to commend Vale of Pnath as well. It’s possibly the best-designed of the new maps, even though it’s so close to Lockbox in appearance and feel. The tightness of Vale of Pnath is what works, unlike Lockbox, which is too… scattered, to my eyes.
I would personally like to see some of the hazardous features from Quake III: Arena to make a return, as well. Perhaps some floating platforms (such as in ‘Tier 6’ of Q3A), or deathtraps such as the instant-kill pendulums from the same game might add to the flavour of the game (the eyeball in the centre of Ruins of Sarnath feels like it could be turned into a hazard). But we can only but hope to see these features included down the line.
With that said, let’s move on to the very-special map I mentioned…
If there was a map I could claim as my own playground, it is The Longest Yard.
The newest addition to the maps in Quake Champions, The Longest Yard suits a very-specific play-style. But before I get to that, let me talk a little about how this map is different from the others on a fundamental level in two specific ways.
The Longest Yard is:
- The only map in the game which does not feature all the weapons in the game. The Super Nailgun and the Lightning Gun are missing from this map. (Correction: as pointed out by /u/jaypiq on Reddit, Corrupted Keep features no Railgun.)
- The only map in the game which features acceleration pads.
I’m surprised to see how many players ignore the Railgun platform, these days. Back during the Q3A days, it was a vertiable hot-zone: salted and peppered with rockets and Machine Gun fire (and the occasional counter-snipe). These days, when playing as Ranger or a similar evasive Champions, it becomes a haven for players skilled with the Railgun.
I’m myself not the best with the Railgun (factor in my enforced bad aim), and I try my best to adhere to the old “Move or Die, Camper!” rule, but this is an example of how a game I was dropped into about a quarter of the way in just tonight ended, even with a huge target on my head (and yes, I almost exclusively used the Railgun during this game in an attempt to improve my skills with the weapon):
I’m sure players skilled with the Railgun become absolute nightmares on this map, but I have yet to see it as much as I expected. The map encourages a lot of play in the air, and is tailored to suit all weapons but the Tribolt (the Super Nailgun would have worked far better in this map for purposes of balance).
Fret not, though. There are so many ways of dealing with the issue of snipers — especially those who hull down and camp from the platform — that the map balances itself out almost to perfection (the only missing element is the Super Nailgun). The Super Machine Gun is the perfect answer, and the Rocket Launcher is not far behind. The key to surviving and thriving, on either side of shots from Railguns — as with all things in Quake — is to “Move or Die”.
It’s the perfect map to hone one’s skills in movement and practicing long-distance kills. And if you’re in it for the chaos, you’re more than welcome to start hopping around on the jump-pads and engaging in Super Shotgun/Rocket Launcher duels.
A beautiful map that more than deserved to be included in Quake Champions.
So there we have it: a love-letter to purists of PC-based First Person Shooter gaming. This is a game tailored to the nostalgia and fond memories of PC gamers from the turn-of-the-millenium, with only one twist borrowed from contemporary shooter games.
The moment that I discovered that Quake Champions does not feature support for controllers was a moment that put a smile on my face. This is a game that drives home the ‘purity’ of its legacy, and does not care twice for those who have since moved on.
Quake Champions is unapologetic about embracing its heritage and showing it off in all its frantic glory. A better successor to Quake III: Arena, and a competitor to the likes of the last instalment in the Unreal Tournament series (and possibly Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, which I actually know very little of), fans could not have asked for.
It’s a shame that the player-base is not what it should be, and that apparent server issues are plaguing the game. I once again would highly encourage players who can afford it to support the game so that we can engage in many more months — if not years — of fragging one another and revelling in the break-neck chaos that only games like Quake can inspire.
Quake Champions is a perfect product for a specific breed of gamer. It’s a love-letter to us, and a decleration that our time isn’t over yet. Maybe this is a precedent for a return to the purity of Keyboard-and-Mouse shooters, and it very well might not be; but to us who long for those older days, it is everything we wanted to see delivered to us in one sharp, loud message.
— Crow out.
THE CROW: 9/10
THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: NA/10
Here are a few posters for the game: