For a series of games with a big US convention named after it, we were surprised to see Quake 4 almost slip under the radar without any fanfare from ID or developer Raven software. Maybe it is better this way - while Quake 4 is a lot of fun, it's a 2005 makeover tagged on to a 1990s mindset.
Quake 4 takes up where Quake 2 left off - Quake 3 was an online multiplayer title - putting you and your fellow soldiers on planet Stroog. The defences are down and you're part of Earth's final assault to take out the enemy in run-and-gun gameplay. During your single-player campaign, you come across a decent selection of weapons, frenetic on rails action and vehicles at your disposal.
Given that Quake 4 uses the Doom 3 engine, it's no wonder that it plays like a much faster version of Doom - but quick play rates mean that it lacks the scare factor. In fact, the interface is almost a verbatim readout of Doom's and, were it not for the outdoor scenes, the titles could almost be interchangeable.
Credit where credit's due, if you forgo the outdated game play, this game has more polish than a can of Mr Sheen.
The Stroog enemy and vehicles are superb -- shame the physics don't quite convince. Despite some of the flaws, we did find ourselves coming back again and again - primarily due to the multi-player element, which updates a lot of the old maps from previous titles.