Developer: id Software
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Shooter
Release Date: 22/11/2005
Console: Xbox 360
Game Rating: M (Mature)
1 HDTV 720p

In a desperate war for Earth's survival against an unrelenting alien enemy, the only way to defeat them is to become one of them. Armed with advanced weaponry and vehicles and aided by an elite squad of marines, you take the battle to the heart of the Strong home planet and become Earth's only hope for victory.

  • Combat diversity: Fight through solo missions as well as co-op and squad-based operations, or pilot heavy walkers and hover tanks through outdoor battles and epic firefights.

  • Character transformation: As you're captured and converted to Strogg, you become Earth's only hope.

  • Massive invasion: You are not alone—you and your squad are part of a massive invasion force.

  • Masterful design: The game utilizes the industry-leading DOOM® 3 technology to create an unparalleled visual and aural experience.

  • Multiplayer features: The arena-style multiplayer allows you to play as Strogg or Marine in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag modes.

The next-gen chapter of id's infamous shooter series (built on the DOOM 3 engine) for consoles and PC systems. In the game, you are Matthew Kane, an elite member of Rhino Squad and Earth's valiant invasion force. Fight alone, with your squad, and in hover tanks and mechanized walkers as you engage in a heroic mission into the heart of the Strogg war machine. But, in this epic war between worlds, the only way to defeat the Strogg is to become one of them. Battle through early missions as a deadly marine, then after your capture as a marine-turned-Strogg with enhanced abilities and the power to turn the tide of the war.

As someone who's been playing id software games since the Wolfenstein 3D days, it's been intriguing to watch shooters go from genre diversion to one of the most compelling reasons to play games on a computer. With companies like Epic, DICE, and Valve in the mix, we've been spoiled with a wide spectrum, from awesome single-player, huge multiplayer battles, and last-man-standing tournaments. And with players actually competing for money these days -- some of them earning enough to avoid having to actually work for a living -- the FPS has become a force to be reckoned with. Id Software has been there the whole time, particularly in multiplayer. For Quake 4, they handed the reins to Raven, who themselves have worked with id and its engines for over ten years now. These guys are no slouches, and the production values of Quake 4 prove this beyond a doubt. The game has a good share of "gee whiz" moments, with huge monsters, huge explosions, and huge vistas. You'll see some things that Doom 3 didn't indicate its engine was capable of -- some of which we saw in the Prey E3 demo video. And multiplayer has that same feel we've come to know from Quake: hectic, chunky, and bombastic. However, in the long run, the game is not quite what we've come to expect.

Unlike previous installments, single-player is there in a big way, with a winding plot, a cast of characters voiced by Hollywood actors, objective-based gameplay, light squad tactics, and countless set pieces. In fact, so much effort was put into the single-player presentation that the amount of multiplayer seems to have suffered as a result. For one reason or another, the franchise's priorities have zigged instead of zagged, and what we have now is MP maps with a 16-player cap, with only the Tournament Mode distinguishing it from the usual setup of deathmatch, team deathmatch and CTF.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The Quake 4 story picks up where Quake 2 left off, with the Space Marines fighting the Strogg, this time on the enemy's home planet, Stroggos. You'll take the role of Corporal Kane as the Marines attempt to basically annihilating their Borg-like nemesis. You'll crash land in the middle of trench warfare, and it's off to the races as one superior officer after another sends you off to retrieve people, destroy key locations, and infiltrate deep behind enemy lines. Sometimes you'll be accompanied by game-controlled team members -- typically a technical officer who can repair your armor, and/or a corpsman who can heal you up to full health.

They hold their own pretty well, doing more damage than we're used to seeing from game-controlled teammates, and taking even more punishment than you can, on some occasions. Sometimes they run ahead before you can get yourself in good tactical position, though, and sometimes they hang back in front of a door while you stand there for several moments before you realize that the scripting requires you to take point. And over the course of the game, you'll meet techs who will give one of your weapons an upgrade, like increased magazine size, projectile ricochet, or target tracking.