The initial few hours of Quake: Champions are undeniably nostalgia inducing for anyone familiar with Id Software’s classic shooter, and with only some minor tweaks to the design, fans will feel at home with this latest outing. FPS’s were the pinnacle of the games industry a decade ago and are arguably the reason why the industry is so successful today. The genre has evolved over the years however, and Quake’s returning classic has some cause for concern.
There are currently three maps on offer for the beta and they are relatively small and enclosed, yet memorable. The close and personal approach is what Quake excelled in and the key to success from learning the different power up and weapon locations remain. There is one notable change to the franchise and a series first, however. Each Champion has a unique ability, such as the capability to render themselves invisible or spit acid for the reptilian-like Champion. These abilities are definitely useful, but won’t necessarily change the tide of battle and are used more for self-purposes unlike Overwatch’s team based abilities. Changes like these are welcome ones, as any genre that doesn’t evolve with the times run this risk of becoming incredible stale. One of Id’s recent outings, DOOM, was brilliant, but the issue was its old-fashioned structure, creating a repetitive and dull experience by the games end.The concern, then, is the free to play structure that’s implemented into this new iteration of Quake. One Champion is available from the offset, and is objectively the blandest character on offer. The plain chisel jawed marine has average statistics, excelling in neither and an ability that’s much to be desired. More Champions can be bought in exchange for Platinum – currency bought by real money. The other option is to ‘rent’ out a character for twenty-four hours using favour, which is a currency not unlike experience points. Favour is earned by simply competing in matches with higher amounts earned for skilled play. In the few matches experienced in the beta, the amount of favour earned was relatively low, meaning there will be a lot of play time with the generic marine unless you folk out the money to own your preferred Champions.
Quake is exceptionally fast. Zipping through the game’s claustrophobic and intense maps at break-neck speeds whilst trying to obtain objectives is enjoyable, and the pace explains why there’s no controller support for this game. The repetitive nature however leaves scepticism for Quake’s longevity. Admittedly, this view is purely based on its beta state, so a lot of changes can be made between now and the game’s official release. Let’s just hope that the free to play approach doesn’t materialise into another pay to win situation.