Quake Live Preview: Guaranteed Hit

By Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), Onrpg writer
Ah, Quake … is there no better First Person Shooter?  There probably is, but finding one would be a very hard chore.  In essence Quake Live is basically Quake III Arena (Q3) inside your web browser.  Sound good?  Well it should do considering Q3 is a classic which was generally well received by reviewers and gamers alike.  This game is renowned for its brilliant multiplayer component and mod community.  So does this title hold up ten years down the line? 
The first thing you’ll notice about this game is the utterly breathtaking graphics.  On the highest settings this title truly does shine.  Never before have I seen such great graphics from a browser based game, the fact that they managed to squeeze all of that graphical power into a browser is simply astonishing.  Sure it may not look like Killzone 2, but Quake Live certainly packs a powerful punch.    
When you log in initially you’ll be joined by Crash who will introduce you to the game and get you started.  This will all happen whilst the rest of the game is downloading, cool eh?  Also I know what you’re thinking, “Hey!  Wait a minute, whatcha mean by download?  You told me this was a browser based game 0_0!”  In answer to that question, you’re not downloading a full game or client per say, but rather a small plugin.  After you’ve been taught the basics you’ll enter a game with Crash, where your results from the round will be analysed and smartly used to determine your skill level which is used for match making.  The system works well, however you don’t have to use the matchmaking if you don’t want to as you can search for matches with players of any skill.
Once in a match you’ll find all the staples of the original Quake 3.  If you’re new to the series then you should be prepared for a fairly steep learning curve as becoming one of the best can be a hard achievement.  The controls work well with a keyboard and mouse and the unique feel of the various guns will certainly be enough to engross some players into the action for long periods of time.  Despite this the game also suits appropriate casual short bursts of gameplay as getting into a match is simple and exiting one is even easier. 
There is a huge variety of game modes and maps so you’ll never really get bored.  The amount of maximum players on a map fits the size of the levels which means that there’ll never be too much or too little action, making it easy to get into the game and enjoy yourself without getting killed every second.  The only game mode where this doesn’t really apply is “Free For All” (FFA) which can have up to eighteen players on a map and is the sheer definition of hectic.  This isn’t really a problem unless you’re a newbie as you’ll get killed almost every 1-30 seconds which can completely destroy your confidence.  FFA can be incredibly fun though, especially if you’re winning.  You’ll soon find yourself blasting through rows of human players as you not only watch your back but make sure no one in front of you is going to snipe you with a railgun, which is exceedingly exciting.
I know I shouldn’t really come to any conclusions (as this is just a preview) however it must be said that the level design in Quake Live is simply fantastic.  Everything is carefully laid out, from weapons to jumps.  The flawlessness of the arenas stands out as you rush through them following your enemy to his/her death.  When compared to the bland design of other free online FPSs it’s easy to declare the developers at Id Software as pure geniuses.  Which, to be honest they are.  The weapons are, more or less, perfectly balanced and you’ll no doubt find a gun to suit your style of gameplay. 
Quake Live is shaping up to be a very special game, with updates being added and some awesome features incoming (such as the ability to own private servers).  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this title turns out.  Unless QL drastically changes before its launch, I can completely guarantee you that it will be a hit and certainly one of the best free online games of this year.

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