Quake Champions (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 26.03.2018

Review for Quake Champions on PC

Here's the deal: this humble reviewer loved id Software's first foray in the world of arena shooters (or is it pioneering?). However, yours truly is also a strict perfectionist, something also known as an annoying nitpicker. The result? An "objective" review of Quake III that he has already regretted. Why? Well, because it was a fantastic game, that's why! There was a pretty valid argument in there, though: its arcade simplicity was its biggest strength, but it was also its greatest problem, as the genre inevitably evolved, like in Blizzard's highly popular Overwatch, which added the notion of classes into the mix, and, as expected, gave rise to imitation - which leads to present day with Quake Champions, and the most important question about it: is it a "pure" Quake experience, or has it strayed too far from the "path?"

Like Doom before it, Quake Champions offers some great, old-school FPS fun, but isn't afraid to add some new ingredients into the mix, the most important of which being the addition of different skills and stats for each of the twelve available characters. Right from the moment the Closed Beta version came out, many purists have started flaming it for trying to be an Overwatch rip-off, yet this couldn't be further from the truth, as this is actually impressively… Quake!

It's not just because the action is super-fast and the controls as perfect as they used to; it's not because most of the weaponry, items, and general level structure have been carried over from Quake III; it's not because of the Lovecraftian/Satanic art style and fantastic visual quality. This simply is… Quake! Yes, the cast is now diverse both in terms of abilities, as well as looks, but, thankfully for those who loved the original, this doesn't make it an Overwatch wannabe.

Screenshot for Quake Champions on PC

As an example, there is a character who can heal, and one who is quite durable, but don't expect to play as a healer or a tank. The champions in here aren't classes, so once entering the arena, you will have to do what everyone else does, which is to run around and shoot stuff before the stuff shoots at you. This remains a fast-paced arena shooter, where all that matters is how good you are with aiming, moving around, and being mindful of your surroundings - it's just that it adds an extra layer of fun on top of the core mechanics.

Note, however, that it's important to carefully manage your resources, maybe even more than in Quake III. Those who rely on good twitch skills alone won't go far with this, as collecting armour is not just important, but imperative. Furthermore, the addition of skills requires the player to always be on the lookout for those hourglass items, which decrease the cooldown of your active abilities. In conclusion, learning the level is a must.

Screenshot for Quake Champions on PC

Wrapping up: this is some great fragging fun. Is it perfect? Far from it. The franchise is still afraid to be a little more progressive than the rest of the competition. As such, the weaponry remains almost unchanged, and, for the time being, feels inferior to the ones of the past, first, due to the disappearance of some classic boomsticks, like the awesome grenade launcher, and, secondly, because the ones available lack the balance of their predecessors, as well as their... "oomph."

…but this still is vastly entertaining, making it easy to forgive flaws like unbalanced characters, weaponry, level design, and so on - issues that are to be expected from an incomplete product. There are, however, a couple of things that need to change, and very soon for this to succeed, as the heavy name it carries won't be able to do the deed alone, especially if it strives to, once again, be a big player in the world of eSports.

Screenshot for Quake Champions on PC

As of now, there is a wait of more than two minutes before finding a match to play, more so if lobbying a custom game. Furthermore, expect some relatively high pings, and a little bit of lagging here and there. Sadly, at least for many fans of the original, there's no server browser, although this would really benefit from a system that enables changing the rules, and not having to wait in line for the matchmaking - oh, and bot battles. Please id Software, bring back the bot battles.

It's highly unlikely that this will fail, though, mostly because the developer seems to be approaching this with love and respect, evident by a model that lets you try things out for free, rent characters with in-game currency, or simply buy the whole package if you like what you see. As for the decorative-only unlockables, it's easy to gather almost everything just by playing. Finally, and while this has nothing to do with the game itself… it frankly feels good to be back! From the fantastic design of the champions themselves, to the dark and "heavy metal" aesthetic, this is truly a Quake title.

Screenshot for Quake Champions on PC

Final Thoughts

Don't be afraid that Quake Champions is just a more violent version of Overwatch. The addition of a somewhat more diverse cast of trigger-happy characters has been handled in such way that the "soul" of the franchise has been left intact. A couple of flaws must be ironed out before the final release, but this fast and raw bundle of fun already is one of the strongest contenders for the best arena FPS of 2018 - and beyond.

Developer

id Software

Publisher

id Software

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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