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  • What I played: Quake 4 and F.E.A.R.

    Posted on October 24th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I was sick all weekend, but did pick up F.E.A.R. and Quake 4. Finished them both while I ate soup and consumed massive quantities of orange juice.

    The graphics in both were excellent. Quake 4 looks and feels like Doom 3, only with a lot more enemies on the screen at a time, and also, the levels are more opened up than they were in Doom 3. I would equate the levels in Quake 4 to Quake 2.

    The A.I. in Quake 4 is horrible. I guess Raven’s idea of A.I. was, “If I am getting shot at. Choose a random direction and jump in that direction.” So, firefights ended up being about how much ordinance you could throw in their general direction. The tactics of Quake 4 consisted of knowing where the enemies were going to spawn from, and then launching grenades/rockets/dark matter in that direction, and then run through and pick up the dropped ammo. I will say that the shotgun in Quake 4 is always fun. Not sure why, but the shotgun is always a FPS fave of mine.

    If you were thinking that Quake 4 multiplayer would somehow be new and improved, guess again. It is literally Quake 3 with a few different weapons. And most of the weapons are EXACTLY the same as Quake 3. I played through Quake 4 and rather enjoyed the railgun’s new clip-based paradigm. I also liked that the rocket launcher could fire homing missiles which would travel slower until you released the “homing” button and let them fly free. So, when I switched to multiplayer, none of these cool new weapon enhancements were even in multiplayer. That’s just crap. As far as I’m concerned, the Quake 4 multiplayer should’ve been released as a free weapons mod for Quake 3. At least then there would be bots… because Quake 4 HAS NO BOTS! Pah-the-tic.

    Quake 4’s story… sheesh. Basically, it borrowed from every other popular FPS of the past year. It stole Half-Life 2’s vehicle sequences and “train ride”, and it stole Halo 2’s “play as the enemy” gag. And the plot was less than original. Quake 4 is essentially a sequel to Quake 2. Annoyingly, though, they decided to resurrect the end boss from Quake 2. “ZOMG! HE’S NOT DEAD! OH NOES!!!!” Then, they have you spend a good chunk of the story trying to maneuver an EMP to take out the Strogg’s communications net. Well, after that endeavour fails miserably, it is then revealed that it wouldn’t have worked anyway, even if they had a dozen EMP’s. There is a lot of collect this and then return here, but at least the levels were pretty enough that I didn’t mind the back and forth so much.

    So, I chalk Quake 4 as another ho-hum FPS that everyone will be playing online a whole bunch, so go buy it anyway because all your friends will be.

    On the other hand, compared to Quake 4, The firefights in F.E.A.R. are absolutely dreamy. Otherwise, not much else of value.

    Much like Quake 4, I found the story in F.E.A.R. to be… lacking. There were many plot points that either didn’t make sense or were significant, and then non-chalantly waved aside for no apparent reason, other than writer’s fiat. There was a notable creep-out factor in F.E.A.R. but nothing compared to System Shock 2, or Half-Life 2’s Ravenholm.

    So, F.E.A.R.’s story did not deliver, but the firefights made up for it in spades. The A.I. wasn’t top-notch, but it was light-years better than Quake 4. If the A.I. in F.E.A.R. was predictable, at least they still moved like real soldiers. Firing from cover, throwing grenades to flush you out, laying down suppressive fire while other soldiers moved in, are all examples of what half-decent A.I. is capable of. And the level design was usually set up in a such a way that the enemy could easily flank you if you weren’t watching your back VERY carefully. F.E.A.R. would be absolutely perfect as a co-op experience. Here’s to hoping someone creates a co-op mod for this game.

    Alas, I have not had any oppurtunity whatsoever to try out the multiplayer in F.E.A.R., but looking through the maps and options, I saw nothing that stood out as bringing anything new to the bloated FPS multiplayer landscape.

    Quake 4: Middle of Average
    F.E.A.R.: Bottom of Cool

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