Quake Enhanced Review (PC)

The iconic FPS that simultaneously holds up for old players and ushers new players into a brutal experience.


There are a handful of household names in the FPS genre from the decade the genre materialized: Duke Nukem, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Half-Life, and Quake. Ever since I entered the world of PC gaming in 2012, I've gotten my hands dirty with the first four, but haven't gotten to tackle Quake - then, at QuakeCon 2021, it was announced that the titular gem would receive a remaster and release the very same day on every platform. Developed by a team I trust in NightDive Studios, who have spearheaded the retro revival with excellent results, I was immediately hyped and I saw this as the perfect time to enter this echelon of ancient FPS lore in the best format available.

Quake Remastered Enhanced 2021 PC Nintendo Switch Xbox Playstation PS5 Review
NightDive's approach in preserving old visuals will peak the nostalgia of Quake fans, saddled with smooth-as-silk performance.

Visuals


The approach to NightDive's Quake, as mentioned, takes the graphics the older gamers grew up with and smooths out the edges while optimizing the performance. While even a potato laptop can breeze through the graphics, there's support for the optimal resolution: 4K. As the newest consoles on the block, the Series S/X and PS5, have the capability of this demanding viewpoint, the title will simultaneously dazzle the eyes as well as surge the feelings from decades back that may have been felt on some gamers' first playthroughs.


Audio


Where DOOM had groaning, snarling demons and Duke Nukem had a one-liner every minute, Quake opts for a more grounded, visceral aim with its audio. The music is still heavy in an industrial extreme kind of fashion, and that's compounded by the recent performance from Code Orange on the Quake theme, which was originally composed by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Reznor was also responsible for the sound effects in-game, which sound crisp as could be in this remaster. The pounding of each shotgun blast rippled through my haptic headphones and kept me fully-immersed throughout my run of the game.

Gameplay


As someone who "grew up" with FPS games 2 decades after their heyday, I have a profound appreciation for the genre's roots. Unfortunately, I never got to experience Quake in its original form during that period, which is a bit of a blessing in disguise with this new revamp. Getting straight into the action after starting the game, it took no time at all to find my bearings and comprehend the power of each new weapon and when to utilize it. Even after all these years, the creative weaponry, including the Nailgun, the Rocket Launcher, and the Thunderbolt, make for some gory gibs and ample variation between fights. With secrets strewn about, replayability is also high for gamers looking to search every nook and cranny of each level.


Plot


Quake is light on plot, but tells its story through the violent scenery within its gameplay. As you traverse through each level, unsightly horrors await you to be blasted to bits. Enemies such as Ogres, Shamblers, and Scrags are abhorrent in appearance and would likely terrify younger gamers back in the day; they pose their own threat in both short and long-distance and are formidable foes in higher difficulties. Health and ammo are plentiful, and you'll need them to get through the dozens of oppositions in each level.

Quake Remastered Enhanced 2021 PC Nintendo Switch Xbox Playstation PS5 Review
Secrets are truly well-hidden in Quake, so get your adventure hat on if you want to find them all.

So, why should you buy it?

  • Memorable, engaging action in its best format to date.

  • The price tag hasn't changed even after the overhaul.

  • A worthy challenge at each difficulty level.

But why shouldn't you buy it?

  • Virtually no plot, just mind-numbing violence.

  • Currently included in Xbox Game Pass along with Quake II and 3.

A press copy of Quake Enhanced was provided courtesy of the publisher.

Written by

Mike Reitemeier


Mike is a game reviewer, columnist, and writes articles for several music publications. He enjoys running meme pages, gaming, and thrifting. You can read more of his reviews and retrospective articles at qualbert.com