As the name suggests, Quake Champions is a new type of Quake game: one designed to feel contemporary in 2017, modern even. That might sound dim, but when you consider that the most recently released in the series, Quake Live, is simply an online version of 1999’s Quake 3, you realize how much stock developer id Software has put in heritage above all else.
Quake has been a force on the PC landscape since it first hit the scene in 1996. It brought fast, brutal first-person shooting to a multiplayer setting, and it did it well. Few games could touch its speed, kinetic energy or brilliantly simple design elements. Despite its iconic place in gaming history, the franchise had been dormant since the release of Quake Live back in 2010, and in reality, that was more of a new way to play Quake III.
it is immediately evident that this is a Quake game. The mix of fantasy, science fiction, and crude cybernetics are all present, and from first glance, the game is stunning capturing the feel of Quake while updating it to modern standards. The real test on how it would all work would be the gameplay, but it manages to present a great first impression.
This is a Quake game
The map has the scale to give players enough room to explore, stock up, and plan an attack, without losing the sense of constant danger. The action is always frantic. The map with its mix of tech and gothic touches is a clear callback to maps seen in Quake III, and it all works to set the mood of “Quake” well.
With the mix of vertical drops and tight corridors, there is a need for a diverse play style and arsenal to match. Players will have to be constantly aware and pay attention to all aspects of the level, ensuring that classic feeling of tension that Quake is built on is always present. Utilizing the best gun for each segment meant one never relies on one weapon more than others.
It still manages to work surprisingly well, making you feel powerful, even years after it was first introduced in Quake III. It is this mix of new and old, with a dash of strategy and chaos that make for an anxious multiplayer experience.
Modernizing a classic
It is a welcome surprise to see how much of that classic Quake feel carried over into Quake Champions. It is evident the team working on Quake Champions care about the feel of the game. The number keys on the keyboard allow quick access to your weapons, with the mouse wheel giving quick access to scroll through all the available powers we all know and love.
The identifiable quake symbol power up sat near the center of the map, making for a constant battleground whenever it was about to appear. While not a game changer, it is a sure-fire way to rack up some quick kills, especially near the end of a match.
It is always a challenge modernizing a classic, especially one on the level of Quake, yet the teams at id Software have managed it. While it will be difficult to compete with the slew of multiplayer shooters currently on the market, at least Quake is back and as good as ever
Champions do strike the appropriate balance you’d hope to find a game that’s seeking to integrate new elements into a classic formula. With a closed beta on the way soon and a proclaimed willingness to change based on feedback, Champions looks like it could turn out to be the game Quake fans want–even if that doesn’t appear to be the case at first blush.