Going multiplayer was part of John Carmacks grand experiment and I commend him for it. Whenever I cruised to some of the Quake specific web sites, there were always loads of new Quake mods available, created specifically for online Deathmatches and CTF games. This was telling proof that gamers were hungry for deathmatch-specific levels and Im really not surprised that a game like this was made for them. The thing is, in doing so they left out those who are new to the whole deathmatch experience. As this craze grows, it should be obvious to all that there will be people new to the online deathmatch scene who will need a lot of help getting oriented with the game. And as far as servicing these gamers goes, Q3A is seriously lacking. To begin with, none of the computer-controlled competitors ever did anything remotely life-like and once the difficulty goes up, opponents did not get harder, but rather I found their aim to be extraordinary except at the very early levels when it was far too easy. There was just too much of a disparity from the I Can Win! (easiest level) setting to the "Nightmare (sadistically hard level) setting so it would be silly to use them to guage your development throughout the game.
Chi is right on about the games graphics. Everyone involved with the project has nailed down the overall look and feel of game. The graphics are very hardware intensive, but thats what Quake fans have been screaming for all along anyway. The stages in Q3A have a very gothic look to it that is all the more stunning when compared to Unreal Tournaments more modern and futuristic stages. Having 30 character skins to choose from (that range from the freaky to the traditional) certainly doesnt hurt and adds a nice level of customization missing from other games. The biggest problems, however, are two-fold. One is that the graphic content in Q3A has changed little from previous Quake titles. The code may be more optimized and robust, but running through many stages gave me a serious rush of déjà vu. And the other thing is that with these types of games, its all about your connection. If you have the T1, then you have an advantage over someone with similar skills, but playing with a 56K modem. It has been that way since the dawn of time (the dawn of multiplayers to be precise) and it doesnt look to change anytime soon.
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