Id Software’s Quake has just had its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, they have re-released the game on all modern systems, including versions for the next-gen consoles, which have 60 fps and 4K support. It’s still the same great FPS that it always has been, just with modern optimizations and graphical touches.
That’s probably the first thing that returning players will notice. The improved visuals are subtle but do a lot to improve the aesthetic. It’s just a simple texture touchup with natively supported higher resolutions, but seeing Quake running in upscaled 4K is really something special. Plus the framerate on the Xbox is absolutely silky smooth at 60 fps. And that’s before we get to further next-gen optimizations later down the line for native 4K and 120 fps.
Quake now includes the original campaign and all the expansions, including a brand new one created by some of the original developers. This is a pretty great package as it originally took some doing on modern PCs to get the expansions to work. However they are now in one neat and easy package; all of them working perfectly. I never once had a technical issue in my time with Quake on Xbox, as everything is incredibly well optimised.
Of course, these are all under the hood improvements and probably won’t be noticed by any new players, so the real question sits on whether Quake is still worth playing today. Particularly if you have no experience with this series before.
The answer is a resounding yes. The gameplay has not aged a day and the experience is still incredibly fun. In fact, this is simply one of the best first person shooters ever made and time has not changed that. Playing through the original campaign, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a modern indie shooter, that’s how timeless the level design and gunplay is.
It may be one of the better shooters on the Xbox platform right now, that’s how genuinely great it is. It feels like it fits in perfectly with the resurgence of old school shooting revivals that have been releasing over the last couple of years.
It’s still just insanely fun, particularly on harder difficulties. The weapon selection is varied and feels powerful. The level design is intricate and filled with secret areas and varied routes. Enemy design is unique and arranged together in inventive ways, and further to that, each episode has an excellent difficulty curve and provides some serious challenges.
The expansions are nothing particularly mind blowing but there are some new weapons and enemies. And I would imagine that many fans of the original game may have never played these official expansions before, ensuring it is now the best time to try them. Additionally the brand new expansion is fantastic and maintains the same level of quality as the rest of the content. It’s arguably maybe the best campaign out of all them; there’s some really great stuff.
The inclusion of achievements is another plus, an awesome excuse to continuing replaying the game on harder difficulties. As someone who has run through Quake many times over the years, this has been one of the most exciting features with the arrival on the modern Xbox systems.
But it’s not perfect and one downside I can level at this re-release is that it’s really tough to play through with a controller, especially as the difficulty ramps up and the game gets harder. I managed to make my way through much of the original campaign on the hardest difficulty with an Xbox controller in tow, but it’s not an experience that I would recommend. There is a slight push of auto targeting throughout, but that didn’t stop me from missing constantly, feeling like I was just spraying bullets all over the screen. It’s certainly something you can get used to but a mouse and keyboard is clearly still the way to go if you can.
Quake is a certifiable classic that hasn’t aged a day and this remastering of all its original content is masterfully done. The console may not be the preferred place to play it, but it’s well done nonetheless and is still an incredibly worthwhile experience. Whether you’ve played through it a hundred times or it’s your first time, this is probably the definitive way to play Quake, with very little downsides to this re-release. At the price point, this is an incredible deal.
Pick up Quake from the Xbox Store right now