Quake Live Overview
Quake Live is the free-to-play version of the popular classic Quake 3. Re-released as a browser based FPS with slight graphic and gameplay updates (and now available as a stand alone client), Quake Live is sure to interest any fan of old school FPS mayhem. Most free shooters these days tend to be tactical shooters where players are equipped like modern day SWAT squads or soldiers. The weapons are almost always M16s and AK47s. In Quake Live, things are very different. You’ll be running around futuristic maps, constantly hopping to avoid rockets. There are teleporters and jump pads scattered across the over forty arenas (maps) and twelve different weapons available though not all weapons can be found in all arenas. Quake is a traditional FPS, so there are no ranks or levels. Players do not gain experience points, but their stats such as kills/deaths, wins/losses, and accuracy are recorded and made available online. Players can change their avatars at any time since it has no effect beyond cosmetics.
There are over 140 game arenas and 12 game types, however, many are limited to subscribers only.
Quake Live Screenshots
Quake Live Featured Video
Quake Live Review
By Erhan Altay
Quake Live has been in development for quite some time and has had several closed beta test periods, but it wasn’t until late February of 2009 that the game finally entered open beta. Odds are anyone reading this has at least heard of Quake before – it was one of the first FPS games ever to be released for personal computers. Originally released back in 1996, Quake was followed by a series of sequels, but the most important game in the series for this review is Quake 3, released in 1999. Quake Live is basically Quake 3 repackaged, slightly upgraded, and refitted to launch and play from your web browser.
While Quake Live does play from your browser, a small web plugin download (4mb) is required. Currently, the only two browsers supported are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. After the plugin is installed, players are prompted to create their character while the rest of the game downloads in the background. Character creation is very basic and only involves selecting one of several dozen avatars. There are some amusing choices such as a giant eyeball with hands, a skeleton, a fat clown with ill fitting cloths, and many others. Your avatar choice has no effect on gameplay and can be switched at any time, so don’t worry too much about it. Players can also customize their controls and graphic settings while waiting for the download to finish, but the default settings should suffice.
It didn’t take long for me to finish downloading the necessary files, but depending on your internet connection it make take a few minutes. Luckily, you don’t have to download the whole package before you start playing. The game downloads a short ten minute single-player training mission and lets you play through it while the rest of the game continues to download. This training stage pits players against an AI bot named Crash who introduces players to the game’s basics. After she’s done blabbering, you’ll have to face her in a 20 frag limit match. Your performance against her is used to determine your skill level so that the game can later pit you against opponents who’ll be around your skill range.
Not Just Another Counter Strike Clone
The free-to-play shooter genre has been littered with tactical FPS games all trying to mimic the success of Counter-Strike. Everything from Nexon’s Combat Arms to ijji’s Soldier Front follows this mold. I’m a great fan of variety and it’s good to see a game that’s chaotic and fast-paced rather than tactical and realistic. The basic controls are the same as any other shooter: W,A,S,D to move, the mouse to aim and fire, ctrl to crouch, and space to jump. In most shooters jumping and even moving have an adverse effect on your aim but this is not the case with Quake. Constant moving and jumping are actually encouraged, not only since it doesn’t affect your aim but also because you move faster with consecutive jumps than you do running. For those who haven’t played a game like this before, it may sound like Quake doesn’t require any ‘skill’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Weapon and Armor Placement
Being a good Quake player isn’t just about mastering the controls and the ‘feel’ of the twelve different weapons, but also involves learning the gun, armor, and health spawns scattered across each of the maps. Upon spawning, all players start with a machine gun and a melee gauntlet. Both these weapons are nearly useless and can only hope to kill an opponent who’s health is low. The first course of action after spawning is to find a new gun, and while there are ten other guns in the game, most of them are quite underpowered. All the guns from Quake 3 make an appearance in Quake Live, but so do two guns from past games in the series; the chain gun and the proxy mine launcher. Out of all the guns, though, you’re only likely to put a select few to use such as the rocket launcher, lightning gun and the rail gun. The rail gun is the closest thing to a sniper rifle in Quake; it fires slowly but kills in two hits. The rail gun used to be a one shot killer but has been downgraded for Quake Live. Armor, health and other items such as quad damage and haste spawn around the arena as well and it’s important to constantly replenish yourself after a fight since the game records every one of your deaths.
Web Stats and Awards
My favorite addition to Quake Live is the stat tracker and achievement awards. The game tracks every bullet you fire, every frag you make and every time you die. This information is shown under your profile page in the form of accuracy, kill/death, and win/loss ratios. Additionally, there are over 100 achievements that can be earned in the form of badges that are visible on your profile page. Some are easy to acquire, while others take hundreds of hours. Your stats and awards don’t have any effect on gameplay, but seeing how you rank in relation to your friends and all Quake Live players adds a sense of purpose and growth to the game. The game is still in open beta so many features are yet to be added. The dev team has already stated an interest in adding more clan functions. Right now the only real clan feature is the ability to add a tag to the end of your name like [HUT] lordaltay. I remember buying Quake 3 at Circuit City the week it came out way back in 1999, and ever since then it has been a staple at my LAN parties. My long history with the series means Quake Live has a great deal of nostalgic value for me, so I hope it succeeds as a free game. It’s worth mentioning in these final lines that Quake Live is truly a free game, there is no cash shop or premium features that neen to be unlocked. Currently the only revenue model the developers are pursuing is in-game advertisements in the form of large billboards scattered across the arenas.
Final Verdict: Good
Quake 3 may be an old game but now that it can be played for free right on your browser, it’s much more convenient and accessible. Quake Live is a no brainer for old veterans, but FPS players not familiar with the series should also check it out, provided they can look past the aged graphics.
Quake Live Links
Quake Live System Requirements
OS: Windows XP or Vista
CPU: 800 MHz Pentium III or Athlon, or better
HDD: 500 MB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX or ATI Radeon 8500
OS: Windows XP or Vista
CPU: 2 GHz Intel Processor or better
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 1.0 GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7 Series or better