In a surprise statement at QuakeCon, publisher Bethesda Softworks revealed the immediate availability of a light remaster of the classic first-person shooter Quake II, comparable to the one for the first Quake that was launched not that long back.
It's available now on Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
As Bethesda is now a subsidiary of Microsoft, the remastered variation of Quake II is part of Microsoft's Game Pass membership service on Xbox and PC. Even more, those who currently owned the previous version of Quake II on Steam, GOG, or Microsoft's shop will get the brand-new version as a complimentary update.
If you're not a Game Pass subscriber or have not purchased it in the past, the video game sells for $9.99 on each platform. This marks the very first time it has actually been offered at all on any of the console platforms.
You get a lot of material for 10 bucks; the plan includes the game's original campaign, both formerly released growths, Quake II 64, and a brand-new project called Call of the Machine with 28 levels developed by Machine Games (the team behind the recent Wolfenstein video games).
There's also split-screen local multiplayer (up to 4 gamers), in addition to LAN and online multiplayer.
There are a number of additional tweaks and improvements, however it's not an overall overhaul or a ground-up remake by any stretch. Most of the properties are the very same, however the game now supports 4K, cloud saves, and cross-platform play, to name a few modern-day requirements.
deal with this new enhanced edition, which is a bit of a bummer. Impressions I took it for a spin this afternoon, playing the very first few campaign missions and a number of online deathmatches on PC. It adhered tightly to 60 fps at max settings and 4K on my PC video gaming rig(AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, 32GB of RAM). Since my desktop monitors are just 60 Hz, I briefly played it on the very same system linked to my LG C1 TV and found that it didn't have any problem keeping 120 fps at that resolution either. It looks excellent in 4K, even though the assets are clearly from another age. Bethesda included some extra bells and whistles, like an optional CRT filter. While I normally like using a CRT filter with retro games on an OLED, I turned this one off quickly as it was far too aggressive; it appeared to be nearly like an over-the-top parody of a CRT filter instead of something trying to properly represent that late 1990s appearance. The video game certainly plays well on the keyboard and mouse, but I attempted it with an Xbox Series controller and found the gamepad control plan well-thought-out with excellent execution.
As for gameplay, I'll confess that I didn't play Quake 2 much back in the day, so I will not be able to offer the superfan's perspective; I didn't buy it up until a year or more after it came out, and by that time I had actually become more of an Unreal man. However I played adequate both then and now to understand nothing at all has changed on the gameplay front, which's a good thing since it's an extremely tight first-person shooter.
I had a little trouble discovering lag-free online multiplayer matches; some were unplayable, although the ping in the server list was great. Others worked perfectly, though. It was hit-or-miss, however, it was the same situation back in the old days. Quake II$
10 at GOG(Ars Technica might earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)There are some additionals like achievements, concept art, and so on, however there's no big progression system metagame to connect all your multiplayer matches together like you see in modern online shooters. That's probably for the best, in my view-- I played shooters for many years without that sort of thing and enjoyed them simply great, so I've been primarily baffled by the hostile responses recently to games like Halo Infinite over relatively slim features on that front-- however younger players may feel something is missing.
All told, it seems like a strong remaster that does simply enough to make the video game accessible on contemporary makers, however it does not try to make it into a modern-day AAA video game. If Bethesda had actually charged more, that might have seemed like the bare minimum, however for $9.99 (or totally free for Game Pass subscribers or people who previously purchased the game), it's difficult to complain. I want the ray-tracing functions from the RTX release had actually made it to this variation, however.
Listing image by Samuel Axon