Note: At the time of review, this game is in Early Access and is still under development.
The Quake series holds a special place in my heart. Quake III Arena, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, was one of the first games I remember playing on my old family PC. I’d play it as a young ‘en but didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. Then in my early teens, I discovered a couple of friends were pretty active on the game’s multiplayer, so I installed it again and dived back in. The community was pretty big at the time, especially within the Rail Tag servers. The community at the time was one of the friendliest I’ve ever experienced, and still to this day I chat with some of the people I regularly went up against in the arena. I’m hoping to delve more into my love of Quake III Arena later this year with a personal piece to mark its anniversary – so let’s move on to the game at hand, Quake Champions!
Currently still in Early Access, this free-to-play shooter that really ought to be being talked about more. It’s incredibly fun and downright bonkers at times. Once you’ve become accustomed to the maps and get comfortable with the weapons on offer, you’ll feel right at home. But don’t get too comfortable, much like the earlier games in the series, the key to survival is to not stop moving. Don’t believe me? Just you try standing still…
The game offers up 13 champions to play as, all of which have their own unique ability. Much to my joy, some of the champions are from QIIIA and were regular character models I used. Not all Champions are available to play as from the off, they need to be unlocked as you level up and purchased if you want to play as them regularly. Once purchased, you can also use the in-game currency (Shards) to customise your Champions with different colours and outfits. Shards can be earned by completing certain challenges that are available in the game.
There are daily and weekly challenges for you to try and complete, and you will be rewarded with XP or shards for doing so. Challenges will require to you utilise different weapons and play different game modes, so they’re useful if you’re stuck in the habit of playing the same game mode or sprinting for the same weapon every match.
My favourite game mode is easily Instagib, purely for the fact it’s as close to QIIIA‘s rail tag as I’m going to get. The game mode only gives you access to the rail gun (and the gauntlet if you want to get up close and personal) which is a one-hit kill. Playing it really does give me serious nostalgia, especially since some of the maps in Quake Champions are updated versions of maps I would gleefully run around in QIIIA. Quake Champions is a fast-paced bullet-fest, but Instagib feels like it takes it to a whole new level and it definitely requires you to do undertake some target practice beforehand.
Bethesda recently released their Spring 2019 update which now gives all players access to Custom Games mode – which you will definitely want to make use of to get used to the maps, weapons, and champions before you go head to head with real players in the arena. If you are new to the world of Quake, or want some helpful tips – Bethesda have shared a beginner’s guide that might come in handy.
Quake Champions successfully manages to capture what made QIIIA’s multiplayer so enjoyable and injected it with some (expected) modern additions. They may not be winning any beauty contests anytime soon, but the Champions on offer are very diverse, and with their unique powers at their disposal, it won’t take you long to settle on a favourite. Thankfully, the micro-transactions on offer in the game aren’t the key to winning or even to do well in the game, which means not buying into it doesn’t hamper your experience in any way.
As I mentioned earlier, Quake Champions is currently free-to-play and will likely remain so once it fully launches. Whilst you may find yourself dying a lot as you begin to learn the ropes of the game, there’s no denying that its fast-paced and energetic gameplay will keep you coming back for more. The fact that id Software continues to work on the game and roll out improvements with each update gives me hope that once the full game releases there’s potential for it to be even more fun, which will hopefully draw in more players to the arena.
“Quake® Champions is a fast-paced Arena shooter, a genre established by the original Quake 20 years ago. Mixing the dark mythos of Quake with the innovative multiplayer of Quake III Arena, the game adds a modern twist – Champions, each with unique attributes and abilities for players to master.”
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software