This page was last updated on Thursday, 17 May 2001.
Quake 3: Revolution
FPS game : 1-4 players : PS2 Memory Card : Analogue Dual Shock : Multitap : EA/id
Result : 7 - Great neo-classic FPS.
Quake. In the beginning there was the word, and the word was good. So id, the god of FPS, made sequels... Quake 3 : Revolution has hit the PS2 as the console incarnation. For those who have never heard of Quake (is there anyone?!), it is the original First Person Shooter. Yes there was Wolfenstien 3D, Doom and Duke Nukem, but Quake was the first to properly do full mouse-look and multiplayer LAN/internet gaming. Basically what you do is run about getting large destructive weapons and shooting other people trying to do likewise to you. When you die you respawn, repeat from start. It is called First Person because the view as if it's from your eyes, you don't get to see the rest of your body. There are other play modes, normally involving carrying flags about, or having limited lives. FPS games are fast, frantic and especially addictive over the internet vs. other humans (see here for a longer take on FPS games), mainly because the A.I. of the bots isn't quite up to the standards of humans - sure they can be unreasonably accurate, but they aren't as cunning or devious.
The graphics are gorgeously dark and atmospheric. Lots of variable lighting, particle effects etc, and while being wonderful in single player, we found that 4 player games were difficult because of the slight graphical hit, and the darkness combined with the smaller screen area made it hard to see and aim at things. TimeSplitter's more colourful cartoon feel was voted much better on the eyes. The frame rate runs fast, I only got slowdown a few times, but this is affected by level design and number of bots allowed at once. The overall visual lushness was more akin to playing on a high-spec PC than a TV and console - a large boast indeed!
Sound was also impressive. The weapon readying, loading and firing are all very believably realistic. The grunts and footsteps are a little more disappointing, but some of the best noises from you speakers are the additional effects - the announcer calling out "Quad Damage!" and going through a teleporter for example. Music matches and complements the dark tone without being overpowering or annoying.
So what's it really like? Q3R is basically Q3 for the PC, but with Dual-Shock and no keyboard/mouse. This is actually a bonus for a console game, as it means the more experienced players are not overbearingly accurate compared to newbies. The controls work quite well, but I wasn't jumping like I do when I play PC Quakes, not sure if this is a carryover from TimeSplitters or a result of the control differences. The single player has been expanded somewhat with a few more levels, and the tacked on stat upgrade feature. Multiplayer runs reasonably well apart from the said visual problems. The menus are very well constructed and integrate well with the tone and style of the game. Q3R really is a classy act, it's just that we have had it all before, there is nothing new and the lack of online play detracts from the strongest strength of such a game. The AI is definitely more challenging than TimeSplitters, but not a patch on the bots from Unreal Tournament (Mac version). Level design is excellent for deathmatches, but capture the flag levels suffer from the small baseless size and limited bot/player sizes.
Make no mistake Q3R is a fun, flashy game, it's just that TimeSplitters does multiplayer far far better, and endless deathmatching against, at best adequate, bots tires after a while. Console FPS games really need to have strong singleplayer elements and/or the options TS has. We want next-gen stuff not more of the same. Evolution not revolution. So rent this, and save your cash for something else - maybe a multitap and a copy of TimeSplitters?!