Quake Arena Arcade Review (Xbox360)

The problem with nostalgia is that it always has a breaking point. Everyone loves to go back and give an old classic another playthrough, and HD remakes/re-releases are a great way to experience those titles that defined gaming all over again. You can, however, release too many remakes, and completely saturate the brilliance. We like to call it 'the Worms effect'.

Quake III: Arena has now been pulled apart and put back together again a fair few times, and this latest release for the Xbox Live Arcade, Quake Arena Arcade, does it all over again, albeit with some new exclusive maps and a shiny HD coating. Unfortunately, Quake fans have clearly gotten a bit sick of having to buy the same game over and over again, and hence there is absolutely nobody online to play against. If you can grab several friends to jump into a tustle with you, then you're laughing - otherwise, best to stick to the free Quake Live.

Not such an Angel, really

You don't need us to explain Quake to you by now, but here's a nutshell briefing for clarity's sake - Quake Arena Arcade pits you against up to fifteen online players, in classic run 'n gun style, with none of this realism rubbish that developers are so fond of now. There are stupidly overpowered weapons all over the place, and your job is to grab gun, shoot enemies, rinse, repeat. It's fast-paced and it's glorious, just as it has always been.

We'll start off by noting that if you're looking for a single player experience, Quake Arena Arcade is not for you. There is a single player campaign included, but it acts as more of a training ground for the main multiplayer dish, with gradually more difficult AI opponents to master. Fighting against AI isn't all that fun, and you'll most likely only play three of four campaign levels before jumping straight into the multiplayer.

Unfortunately, this is where it all goes rather pear-shaped for Quake Arena Arcade. On over a dozen separate occasions we attempted to find some random multiplayer action via Xbox Live, and just a single time did we find anyone actually playing the game online - and even then, we only managed a match with four players in it. There is next to no-one playing online, making for a very lonely and barren experience. It doesn't really matter what is to blame for this - Quake is all about the multiplayer, and if there is no competition, then it's rather pointless to play.

Quake in spaaaaaace!

Get four or five friends to fork out for a copy, however, and you'll finally be able to get some action going. Quake Arena Arcade comes with 30 of the original maps for Quake III: Arena, along with 15 brand new arenas for this XBLA release. Nothing has been tampered with, keeping that classic Quake feel that veteran players will immediately bond with.

The controls have clearly been well considered too. A, B and X each swap guns, but in a different way - one swaps between your latest pick-up and the last weapon you were using, another cycles through all your weapons one by one, and the other cycles backwards. You can also press a single button to sping instantly around 180 degrees on the spot, perfect for those tight situations (and, of course, for acting God-like), and all the controls are fully customizable.

The revamped visuals are nice, but not too different from the original Quake III: Arena. There is a definite shine and sparkle to it all, but all the polygon edges and robot-like movement is still ready and willing. The visuals definitely show their age now, yet there's something about knowing that this is a Quake game just from the visuals that makes it that little bit comforting.

The game looks just like this, minus the actual players

If this review has read as 'it's Quake, but with no people to play against', then that'd be about right. It would be irresponsible of us if we didn't now point out that you could simply play Quake Live in your PC browser for free - it's pretty much the very same game, it actually has loads of people playing, and well... it's free. Of course, if you don't have a decent PC set-up, but you do have an Xbox, then Quake Arena Arcade may well be your saviour, but again let us stress, you'll need some friends to pick up the game too, otherwise you're going to have a very empty experience.

Quake Arena Arcade is Quake III: Arena again, except this time around there is no-one to play against. If you've already played Quake to death, there is no need to pick this edition up, even for the exclusive maps. The lack of players online is a clear sign that Quake fans would really like something new for a change.

Quake Arena Arcade is now available for Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 MS Points.

Top Game Moment: Finally managing to find an online game.

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By unsilviu (SI Core) on Dec 21, 2010
In our school, we still have the old quake 3 arena. Old games are best played in LAN.
By RaviL (SI Core Member) on Dec 20, 2010
Yeap like Red Alert2, to bad i cant make it to work on LAN.
By unsilviu (SI Core) on Dec 20, 2010
You can try Hamachi, it's a LAN emulation program that works over the internet.
By CobraTheVenom (SI Veteran Newbie) on Dec 21, 2010
I play Quake 3 arena in school when i have free time. We gather up and we play it about from 5 on 5 to 8 on 8
By RaviL (SI Core Member) on Dec 22, 2010
Any way its good to see that a classic is still kept alive.