Quake has been around for 20+ years and has been a staple in the online multiplayer shooter genre for the majority of its tenure. Quake Champions seeks to continue the legacy of the beloved fast-paced first-person shooter series with more gory action. It’s the first main entry title in the series since Quake 4 of 2005. Jumping in for the first time in over a decade I felt a little lost, the pace is faster than a lot of the current shooters available, but It didn’t take long to find my groove and figure out my speed, jump distances and the various weaponry.

Gameplay is simple, keep moving, shoot enemies and acquire health, armour and weapon pick-ups. This gives Quake an easy entry level whilst maintaining a high skill level needed to become the master of the arena. Id software have nailed it when it comes to accomplishing a fluid experience, movement doesn’t feel disjointed or too over the top fast, it just works.

Each arena has been designed in a way that allows for close-quarters combat and long-range exchanges. Throughout each map weapons are placed throughout for all to pick-up and have their way with them, the variety of weapons creates this sense of urgency to perhaps rush some of the key spots for the best of the guns before your opponents. Some weapons are definitely better than others and its almost as if you are penalized for using anything other than the rocket launcher or lightning gun.

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Health and armour pick-ups are self-explanatory and for those who look to survive for a longer period of time trying to amass numerous kills before a death they are a must. On the surface, you would think it’s a nonsensical run and gunner and would be forgiven for thinking so. However, beneath that layer you need a strategy if you wish to go far in terms of being one of the key players on your team every game. Knowing the layout of the maps, what weapons to go for, when and where to get some extra health and armour. This is all paramount if you wish to conquer the competition.

Quad Damage is back and is exactly what it says on the tin, it imbues a player with quad damage. A true game changer that can bring you back from the lower pits of the scoreboard and can launch you to top place in a short timeframe. A tool that can help all players so those who aren’t natively good at the game, it gives them a chance to get some decisive frags. The only issue I feel with the Quad Damage is that it has a specific timed spawn point on each arena which leads to the spot being highly volatile and camped on a lot.

There are 11 characters to choose from currently, including the more recent additions of DOOM Slayer from the critically acclaimed DOOM that released in 2016 and B.J. Blazkowicz from Wolfenstein fame. Each character has their own stats for health, armour and speed along with passive and active abilities. This creates a whole new level of depth and gives players something to think about, which abilities would benefit their play-style the most or how could they change the way they play to suit the character.

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Currently, there are four game modes to choose from, deathmatch, team deathmatch, duel and sacrifice. Deathmatch and team deathmatch are both staples of the competitive shooter genre, duel is a 1 on 1 round based mode in which each player chooses three champions and then goes head to head round by round against the opposing players champions. Sacrifice is a capture the flag and headquarters type hybrid, locate the soul and bring it to your team’s obelisk, then defend the obelisk whilst the soul is sacrificed to the elder gods. All game modes are just as hectic and fun as each other however I wish there was just a little more variety, but remember this is in early access and another mode being added isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

The incentive to keep playing takes the form of loot boxes which contain weapon shaders and character skins. These can be purchased through the microtransactions system in-game and earned through playing. Not only that runes can be acquired which provide challenges to be completed, once the runes for a specific character are done you unlock a special shader for that champion. Lore Scrolls are obtainable from each game with one scroll in a random pot, smash the pot and grab the scroll, once 10 are collected for a champion you unlock that champion’s lore skin.

An aesthetically pleasing title, Quake delivers on providing an atmosphere filled with horror and darkness. Whether fighting in a cathedral, citadel or burial chamber, it’s visually consistent. Ruins of Sarnath creeps me out each time I play on the arena due to the animated eye located by the rocket launcher spawn point, it moves around, blinks and just looks nasty. The characters have their own look that sets them apart from the others, designed from head to toe as different entities and not just carbon copies with slightly adjusted stats.

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Oh, how I missed playing Quake and perhaps even more specifically how I missed the announcer. Getting that first blood and having it yelled out by the announcer is satisfying and if that’s not all, multiple kills each with their own announcement that sends exciting shivers throughout my body. The hills are alive with the sound of Quake, hearkening back to its roots and providing much warranted fan service to the long-time players.

This early access is free-to-play but you will be restricted to playing as Ranger with the hopes of unlocking more characters along the way. The Champion’s Pack is available for purchase and that unlocks all current and gives access to all future characters.

I am certainly watching the journey of Quake Champions with great interest, jumping in regularly to keep up to date with the development process with the optimistic view that it will reinforce my belief that these arena shooters aren’t finished yet. If you loved or even liked the series don’t sleep on Quake Champions.

Written by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a copy of Quake Champions on PC, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

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