Older gamers, who most likely played Quake 2 in computer science classes, do not need to be introduced to id Software’s creation. However, if you missed the cult shooter from 1997 and are only now catching up, you should be aware that we are dealing with the so-called boomer-shooter, an extremely rapid shooter portrayed from the first person perspective, in which reflexes and quick fingers are crucial. The plot centres around the conflict between mankind and the Stroggs, a species of hostile humanoid aliens with cyborg-like bodies that have been grotesquely fused with technology and weapons. Stroggs kidnaps individuals and collects the remains of opponents in order to make new hybrids to strengthen their army’s ranks. As one of the troops, we take part in the counterattack on their home planet, but things do not go as planned, and we are forced to defend the Earth on our own. It’s worth noting that the game’s classic beginning was re-rendered by one of its admirers.
The game is organized into missions in which we complete simple tasks such as finding a passage, unlocking locked doors, and sabotaging enemy sites. The levels are physically identical – drab and gray dominate – but the labyrinthine layout of the maps and the arrangement of fascinating things are inventive and keep you entertained. There are several hidden rooms and even complete secret levels to be discovered. A very handy compass has been introduced to this edition of Quake 2, which can be used to guide us the path to the next goal. Numerous opponents and formidable bosses will stand in our way, however their numbers will be far lower than in Doom games. As the tale unfolds, we will confront harder and more innovative troops, and battles will frequently take place on many floors and at various heights. Some adversaries employ unusual powers, like as energy shields or the capacity to revive slain comrades. It is important to note that the new version of Quake 2 is slightly more challenging than the original, because the creators did not restrict themselves to a basic transfer and wanted to restore numerous components that were not included in the original release for different reasons. We’re talking about animations, attacks, and opponent behaviors that were started but never finished due to time constraints. Fortunately, we can instantly save from the pause menu at any moment.
The adversaries’ artificial intelligence has also increased, and they now respond to our movements and the noise we create – they can follow us and rush to save their colleagues. Furthermore, opponents are avoiding our strikes more frequently, and they have learned some new techniques. Berserkers, for example, frequently dodge rockets shot at them, and they also recovered a cut from the initial strike in which they jump into the air and swiftly close the gap to our character. They are become formidable adversaries. At the same time, the novelties complement the iconic game without erasing memories. The developers also included some more current elements, such as signs of damage taken or markers of the direction from which we are attacked, which should aid persons with hearing impairments in orienting themselves. These enhancements cannot be disabled, although you may disable the Call of Duty or GTA 5-style hit marks that display next to the crosshair. The visuals have been much improved, the models are slightly less angular, and the textures have been smoothed and are no longer as pixelated as in the original, albeit the image has lost some clarity. Dynamic lighting has also been added, which does not detract from the original’s ambiance and may occasionally be extremely useful in allowing you to detect adversaries early due to the shadows they throw. Furthermore, it is possible to play in 4K at 60 frames per second as well as 120 FPS mode, which, when paired with superb controls and a consistent frame rate, results in a very pleasant and seamless experience.
However, it’s worth noting that all graphical enhancements, from enhanced models and smoother textures to motion blur, can be turned off in the graphics options, so we might as well enjoy an almost original experience. A CRT filter that mimics CRT screens has also been introduced for nostalgic aficionados. There is also a virtual museum in the game with a lot of models, images, or scanned design documents with intriguing descriptions. There is a lot of extra information here. The package contains the expansions The Reckoning and Ground Zero, as well as a brand new episode of Call of the Machine from the authors of Wolfenstein: The New Order. That’s a lot of different side missions, but Nightdive Studios didn’t stop there. They also included the complete version of Quake 2 for Nintendo 64, which may very well be a distinct product. If you loved Doom 64, you’ll appreciate Quake 2 64, which features a more colorful background and revamped levels. The experience is rounded off with a robust multiplayer feature, which includes a plethora of maps and scenarios ranging from Deathmatch to Capture the Flag. The game may be played via the Internet with cross-platform support; we will also connect via LAN and play in split screen mode. Furthermore, the developers included a full co-op option in which we will play the campaign with someone we know – both online and while sitting on the sofa in front of the TV.
Given the low price, the availability of the game in Game Pass, and the free update for owners of the original on Steam, GOG, or MS Store, it is safe to say that it is a very profitable investment for fans of the original and fans of boomer-shooters. The main limitations are the inability to download modifications for consoles and the absence of the Quake 2 version from the original PlayStation in the box. Even without this content, though, we receive a lot. All adjustments and upgrades were made with taste and respect for the famous production, and many components can be turned off or modified in the game options, making it extremely difficult to find grounds to complain. Nightdive Studios has created one of the greatest remasters ever, and the new Quake 2 version demonstrates how oldies should be updated.