Quake II (PC) Review

By Athanasios 23.06.2016

Review for Quake II on PC

It's hard to judge an item of geeky affection objectively, because, although years have passed, this will be embedded into the DNA of the one who loved it in the form of some pretty thick nostalgia goggles - twice as hard with Quake II, which was part of a series of likeminded videogames that pretty much forged an industry. People were eagerly waiting for id Software's new creation; they were hyped, they were hungry, and thus, loved it when it came out. The author of this article was one of these happy little nerds, and, as expected, has spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours playing this FPS. Was it worth it? Sure was… but read on to find out why it has lost its charm throughout the years.

Doom is all about shotguns and demons, Quake all about shotguns and inter-dimensional monsters, and this time it's all about shotguns and alien invaders. Why try harder when the only thing that matters is the action? Especially when the philosophy of id Software's lead programmer when it comes to plot in videogames was, "It's like in porn movies. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important."

The weird thing is that, although a sequel, Quake II follows a different story altogether, which has the whole of humanity fighting off the Strogg; the cybernetic alien race who wants to take over the universe, one corpse at a time. While in terms of gameplay this doesn't really alters things, in terms of audio-visuals it does. Doom was sci-fi-meets-thrash-metal, Quake was sci-fi-meets-H.P.Lovecraft, and Quake II is all sci-fi. Dark dungeons and hellish landscapes no more, this is all about metal… heavy metal, that is!

Screenshot for Quake II on PC

This leads to the only thing that remains awesome about this title even to this day, which is no other than the fantastic music provided by Sonic Mayhem; music that might annoy those who prefer ambient tunes, but, at the same time, is impossible not to get pumped to - too bad the sound effects don't manage to do the same, though, since most weapons sound as if they have lost their "punch."

Unfortunately, the then fantastic visuals have lost their sparkle. Everything looks great, sure, but the dark brown/grey/green rooms and similarly looking cyborg monstrosities look a little too generic compared to the far more striking visuals of old-school "corridor shooters," or the dark and ominous ones of the first game.

Screenshot for Quake II on PC

Enough of this, however, since the series has always been about the action. Does it hold up? It does… but it's actually not as great as people used to think it was. For starters, this kind of feels like it takes a step towards the much slower shooters of today, by having a noticeably slower pace.

Furthermore, enemies come in tiny groups (again, when compared to the past), and their "revolutionary" AI is nowhere to be seen. In fact, enemy behaviour was unimpressive even for the time this got released. They would do some additional moves, sure, but no amount of - slow - ducking or death-reflex shooting can make up for a lack of excitement.

A result of these slow speeds and not-that-agile enemies also resulted in a very low challenge, with Quake II possibly being the easiest in the history of id Software; so easy that the new addition of items that can be collected and used when necessary almost become useless. In fact, even the hardest, hidden difficulty setting, won't be enough to satisfy those who want something to test their skills.

Screenshot for Quake II on PC

The final aspect that, once more, isn't broken, but is just a bit unimpressive, is the level design. Again, compared to Call of Duty: Modern Black Ops IX - Augmented Zombies Edition and so on, it's far better, since it's not that linear or uninspiring, but it is linear, and it is uninspiring, even though each stage has a couple of - not that hard to find - secrets scattered around.

Now, multiplayer, the second half of almost every FPS ever, doesn't have any problems per se, but it's also another example of how something becomes obsolete when it gets left behind. Quake II has Deathmatch, it has Capture the Flag, it has weapons and power-ups, and it is fun… but it died the year Quake III Arena came to life, and few have looked back ever since.

Let it be said once more, though: As a whole, this isn't really that bad. It's actually a - somewhat - enjoyable experience that fans of the genre should get a bite of at least once. Just remember that this is not as tasty as it used to be, or as us fans made it look like.

Screenshot for Quake II on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Despite its age, Doom is a legendary classic that stands the test of time, and Quake, while inferior, actually blows many modern shooters out of the water. Quake II, however, is a great example of how some gems lose their sparkle after a while. The single-player mode it offers has seen better days, the multiplayer portion has lost the evolutionary race, and the audio-visuals (fantastic OST excluded) can't even hold a candle to the ones offered in the past, despite their technical superiority.




id Software


First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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