Over the past two weekends, I was lucky enough to participate in the Quake Champions Closed Beta. Having missed the initial Quake train all those years ago, I was really interested to see what id Software and Saber Interactive are doing to refresh the arena-style shooter.
From what we’ve heard so far, Quake Champions sounds awesome. The promise of unlocked framerates and 120hz gameplay is enough to pique any PC gamers’ interest. Whether you’re excited by the prospect of racing around Quake Champions’ maps, or somewhat concerned about the diverse roster of playable characters, this title has most likely caught your attention over the past few months. With Bethesda hosting a number of closed Betas with a seemingly small pool of testers, it seems as though there are still a number of alterations that we could see before the game’s release. As of late, the game is looking pretty good.
As I mentioned earlier, Quake Champions’ range of characters and abilities seem very un-Quake-like and certainly came as quite a shock to fans when it was first announced last year. The game is set to launch with twelve champions, each packing unique primary and passive abilities, along with individual health and speed stats. Each champion also has armor shaders, headgear and other items which, in the most recent closed beta, dropped relatively frequently in Chests. This isn’t the only first in the new title, either. If you haven’t already heard, Quake Champions will be adopting a Free-to-Play model with a pay-for option. In the beta, players could effectively rent champions for twenty-four hours using credits earnt by playing the game. When the game releases, all players will receive one champion: the Ranger, free of charge and will be able to rent characters as they wish, however, they will also have the opportunity to purchase the champions. In theory, this model could work well and enables literally anyone to jump into the game and try out the champions at their own pace. Nonetheless, twenty-four hours seems like a very short period of time, particularly as the timer starts as soon as you purchase the champion and continues to run even when you’re not playing the game.
I tried a number of characters in the closed Beta but my favourite was Anarki, the guy that would have looked at home in Griff’s gang in Back to the Future Part II. This Cybernetically enhanced junkie has the ability to fully heal himself while receiving a temporary speed boost for five seconds. In an already franticly paced game, you can imagine how crazy his speed boost felt, although five seconds was certainly enough! I also tried Sorlag, a Sorg Flesh-Trader that spews pockets of acidic saliva to coat her enemies. In comparison to Anarki and even the Ranger, Sorlag felt noticeably slower – which wasn’t necessarily a good thing. In keeping with traditional Quake titles, players still have to dart around looking for armour and weapons in an effort to stay alive while raking in frags and in my experience, the higher the champion’s speed stats, the more enjoyable they were to play. That said, the Ranger appears to be a solid pick and I’d happily continue to play Quake Champions as him.
All six weapons were viable choices in the closed beta but the most popular and arguably, the most effective was the Rocket Launcher. I played three modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Duel (1 vs. 1) and found that I favoured different weapons in each of the modes but the Rocket Launcher was always a reasonably safe bet, once you become acclimatised to its incredibly long delay. In Duels, weapons that enable players to maintain a safe distance from their opponent such as the Railgun and the Rocket Launcher worked well, whereas in Deathmatch, I particularly enjoyed chasing down other players and popping them with the Super Shotgun. There are certainly uses for the Heavy Machinegun, Super Nailgun and the Lightning Gun and switching between them in true Quake fashion made me feel as though I always had an answer to my opponents’ attacks.
Health and armour is also scattered across each of the maps and once players became aware of the best drop-points, the game felt less chaotic and a bit more tactical. This was predominantly evident in Duel mode when searching for armour and when acquiring the Quadruple Damage power-up in Deathmatch. Overall, the three arenas that were on offer (Blood Covenant, Ruins of Sarnath and Burial Chamber) seemed sufficient, although far too large for Duels. Of course, players will be occupied with accumulating frags and searching for items anyway but trying to find my opponent in the arenas was half the battle. One thing that I had more of an issue with was chain jumping. Chain jumping in Quake Champions can be achieved by simply holding down the space bar. Although this has appeared in previous games such as Quake Live, I couldn’t really get on with it and at points, it seemed to slow me down (notably on stairs). I understand that fans may appreciate this inclusion though and are probably far better at it than me.
After spending two weekends with Quake Champions, I’m surprised by how impressed I am with what id Software and Saber Interactive have achieved so far. Until now, I have associated Quake and its original formula with one of those classic films: aged, much-loved and something that should remain untouched, through fear of messing it up. However, Quake Champions appears to be demonstrating how older recipes can be reinvigorated to appeal to a wider range of players in 2017. With the closed betas and ongoing communication between the Quake fanbase and the developer, this game could evolve into the title that fans want.
Minimum System Requirements:
CPU: Intel Core i3-530 or equivalent
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Video Card: Intel HD 4600, Nvidia GeForce 630 (1GB), AMD Radeon R7-240 (1GB)
Free Disk Space: 50 GB
Recommended System Requirements:
CPU: Intel Core i5-3330 or equivalent
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Video Card: GeForce GTX 670 (2GB) or equivalent
Free Disk Space: 50 GB
While Quake Champions does not yet have a solid release date, its due to launch some time in 2017. We’ll keep you posted once the official date has been announced.
Price & Purchase
As highlighted in the preview above, Quake Champions will be Free-to-Play. Players will have the option to buy the Champion Pack in order to gain access to all the champions for a fixed price, although this price has not yet been disclosed.