The Frag Limit

Quake Live – Review
May 6, 2012, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Hit Scan | Tags: , , ,

Review Score:   88 / 100

Review Stats:

  • Gameplay – 10
  • Fun Factor – 8
  • Competition Value – 10
  • Replay Value – 8
  • Intangibles – 8
  • Total Score – 44 (x2) = 88

Game Information:

  • Platform(s) – PC, OS X, Linux
  • Release Date – August  10, 2010
  • Game Modes – Duel, DM, TDM, CTF, Clan Arena, Freeze Tag, Harvester, Domination, Attack and Defend

The Nitty Gritty:

Hello everyone.  In this installment of Hit Scan, we are going to take a look at Quake Live – id software’s online competitive revamp of Quake 3 Arena.

So much has been said and so much as been written about Quake 3 and it’s derivitives over the course of the last 12 years that any new content about the game is surely going to rehash old material.  This begs the question of why even bother creating another review?  Well, since our specific focus is on multiplayer FPS gaming here at The Frag Limit, we feel that in this review we can offer a more tailored perspective of the pros and cons of this game for the dedicated/hardcore fps gamer.  We will look specifically at the details of how the game performs, what it offers competitive gamers and it’s overall impact and influence in the realm of professional gaming.

Quake Live is a “port” of Quake 3 Gold (the combination pack containing Quake 3 Arena and Quake 3 Team Arena released in 2000) and is based on the same engine (q3 or aka idtech3).  As such, Quake Live inherits many of its asthetic properities directly from q3 – the same original maps, sounds, gamemodes and gameplay mechanics are all used in QL as in the original.  Indeed, Quake Live is just about the same exact game as q3, except for some minor differences.  The biggest difference is that it is now a browser-based game that can be downloaded, accessed and played from any remote location as desired.  In this setup, players download the small, but robust, engine down to their local HDD and play online via the dedicated skill-based match-making master server.  The setup is nice and works as promised – though it can be a bit ad-heavy at times.  Other differences include the absence of blood, gibbing and satanic references (perhaps a notable betrayel from some players) and also the absence of dedicated servers and the ability to play any custom map as desired.  The HUD has also been changed – it is now more user friendly and easier to use or consume.

Alright, let’s now get into the details!


As might be already known by most hardcore, competitive audiences, Quake Live really shines in the realm of gameplay.  Of course, the major advantage in this area obviously comes from the fact that QL uses the immensely popular and award-wining Quake 3 engine – which is a highly-polished, finely-tuned, quick, tight and nimble engine if there ever was one.  Engineered by the legendary John Carmack, this engine proves why it was (and still is) one of the major foundations for the world of competitive, hardcore, professional gaming.  The engine is fast, responsive and absolutely lag-free (client-side) and it is an undeniable  joy to play on.  Fortunaely, Quake Live inherits all of these outstanding physical properties from Quake 3 and nothing is lost in translation (in spite of the crossing of technology platforms and methodologies).

The other major aspect of the gameplay is the gameplay balance itself.  Like Q3, QL has no classes of any kind (although it does have model options) and only a handful of different weapons to chose from.  The lack of classes – despite the modern tendency for a wide array of class options – is not necessarily a bad thing.  The sameness of each player makes the game just that more fair and balanced.  Simiraly, unlike modern fps shooters, there are only a select number of weapons that can be used (depending on the map and gamemode).  This lack of weapons also aids fairness and makes the experience much more enjoyable from a purely skill-based standpoint.

Fun Factor:

Quake Live is a fun game.  But it’s an old game.  Essientally, it’s the same game as Quake 3 (except, of course, for the minor changes already noted above).  Given this, Quake Live feels like something that you have already played.  And if you are any sort of serious fps player than chances are relatively high that you already know what the Quake 3 experience is all about.

In spite of this, however, Quake Live can be a damn fun thing to play – regardless if it’s 1999 or 2012.  The tight gameplay, frantic battles, the matching of wits, and the general sense of just playing a good ole’ fanshioned deathmatch can be a real blast.  There is a reason why Quake 3/Quake Live was (and still is) so popular.  Gamers the world over love demonstrate their ass kicking skills and what better way to do that then through the ultimate platform for competition?  The even balance of the QL battlefield provides an equal and fair environment in which gamers can honestly display their raw, unadulterated gaming skills without the interference or distruption of overpowered weapons, items or player advantages.  And indeed, from the newest newbie to the most battle-hardened veteran, the game holds no favors and pulls no punches for anyone.  It is in this environment – whether it be old or new – where many fun and exciting battles for honor, glory, esteem and bragging rights plays out.

Competition Value:

Quake Live was built for competition – literally.  Much of the revamping and redesigning of the game, from Quake 3, was intended to make the game more paletable and more accessible to the hardcore, professional gaming audience.  The removal of blood, gibbing and satanic references all made the game more of a legitimate “e-sport”, instead of just a simply violent video game.  Additionally, the redesigning of the HUD, and many in-game icons, along with the decision to make all enimies one specific model, all make the game more easily consumed in a professional environment.  These changes all have made Quake Live one of the foremost choices in gaming where money is involved.

In addition to satisfying the professional gaming crowd, Quake Live also succeeds in satisfying the larger amuater clanning crowd.  While this crowd is not pulling in any money, per se, they still do have a strong tendency to take their games very seriously.  The fact that QL provides a fair, balanced and even playing field, only makes it that much more popular for those gamers who are looking for such important things.  In this regard, QL is a true winner.

 Replay Value:

While the basic gameplay hasn’t changed a bit from Quake 3, Quake Live does feature some added content to the experience outside of the actual gameplay itself.  Like many other modern games, QL features a slew of “medals” and awards that can be unlocked through actions acheived inside the game.  These awards are given for many different reasons (such as, for playing for a certain amount of time, for dealing out the most damage and for being the best player in a given round, etc.).  While these awards in no way affect the actual gameplay – meaning that you don’t unlock new weapons or upgrade your skills in any ways – these awards do make the game seem relevant and provide some incentive to keep playing.

The stronger reason to come back playing again and again is that it is just a damn fun thing to do.  This is especially true if you haven’t played Quake in awhile or any other game that is similar to it (meaning fast-paced, balanced and easy to learn/play).  The seminal shooters of yesteryear – the ones that came out around the turn of the century (like Quake, Unreal, Tribes, etc.) – are a dying breed, or, more likely, have long since been dead.  And in their place slower, more delibrate shooters have come along.  While these games are all good and well, perhaps gamers are pining for something with a little more… action?  Quake Live provides this much needed frenetic action, that has been missing for so long, and for that it scores well with gamers who see the game as being “a breathe of fresh air”.


There are several different things that Quake Live does nicely.  The first thing is that the game loads quick and easily.  Anyone with a PC and an internet connection can download the game and play from any location of one’s choosing.  This is nice and handy if you are say at school – or maybe even work – and you want to get a quick 10-minute frag in just to relieve some stress or get your mind off other things.  The download is fast and often times wil go unnoticed (depending on connection speed).  This is a real advantage when time constraints are an issue as QL will get you in and out of the game as fast as you can possibly want to.

Additionally, the game is free.  If you just want to play some of the vanilla q3 maps (and a handful of popular custom maps), you can do so without dropping a dime.  There is no charge at all and you can play for as long as you like.  However, if you feel like you are getting bored with the standard fare and want to frag in some other arenas, the “pro” version will allow you to do just that as well as some other nice things.  For a small monthly fee, you can get access to some of the finest, user-made multiplayer maps and also the option to create your own “server”.  These additional things are nice as the original maps can become stale with multiple playthroughs.

Overall, Quake Live is a great classic multiplayer fps video game.  Indeed, it is not a game that should be missed.  Wether you are a newbie or a seasoned fps veteran, QL provides the quintessiential deathmatch experience.  An experience in which most other modern shooters have either directly evolved from or been strongly influenced by.  And it is with this pedigree that every serious gamer should at least take, in one point in their life, the time to play and appreciate the simple (though powerful) roots of the lasting legacy which is multiplayer gaming.

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