QuakeCon 2018 had a mostly intriguing line-up of showcases. Hardly anything I played wasn’t something I was looking forward to seeing through or wouldn’t recommend others keeping a lock-on. I’m going to organize my thoughts by which group the following playable demos would fall under.
Let’s start with first impressions on the Id Software properties, containing Rage 2, Quake Champions & Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot!
Rage 2 (Developed By Id Software & Avalanche Studios)
I guess I’m one of those odd people who liked Rage 1 a lot. It was such a ridiculous Mad Max-inspired world that I felt fit in with what Id Software was all about, in terms of combat, lore and exploration. Though, some folks were turned off by the game’s look, which made them believe the first was dark and dull. Luckily, Rage 2 is looking to be faster, more colorful, and doubling down on all the crazy things I really enjoyed about the first Rage.
The demo I played happened to be that same level from the E3 2018 game play trailer, where Ranger Walker had to infiltrate the Eden Space Center, retrieving valuables for a familiar face. Though, this station is infested by these crazy bandits called the Goon Squad. During combat, I noticed I was constantly fighting a huge number of enemies on-screen. They’ll flank you from multiple directions, so using my abilities wasn’t just a fun addition, it’s a must.
In the demo, I was able to dash, ground-pound and push enemies to high distance. There was a combo meter in the amount of kills I was making. While I’m not entirely sure how the multiplier is supposed to play out in the end, it did allow me to fill up my meter, unleashing “Overdrive” where damage I dealt, doubled and was shattering Goon Squad grunts, even ones with armor on. Someone mentioned that it looks like Painkiller, which I’ll have to agree in the most enthusiastic way.
There were so many ways to kill within the weapons I was given, switching between shotgun, assault rifle, pistol, grenades and the signature weapon, the Wingstick, now able to lock-on enemies, drilling into their body, then blowing up. I only assume a score on your kills will be implemented later, along with crafting. I picked up materials along the way, signaling the probability that the crafting feature from the last game is returning.
If I had any complaints, they’re only a couple of bugs. I had to think about the game not having anything unique to itself and realized that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, the best experiences are ones that mixed established ideas together, much like Horizon Zero Dawn, which was one of my favorites last year. That does bring me to questions on how the open-world, narrative and vehicular combat will play out, since none was present during my demo session.
I’ll tell ya, if you are looking at Rage 2, still cynical as heck, then I don’t know your definition of fun, or want to know. I’m definitely looking forward to this one!
Excitement Level: High
Quake Champions (Developed By Id Software & Sabre Interactive)
If you haven’t already found out by now, Quake Champions has gone Free-To-Play for good. They’ve also stated that the champion character packs will be cheaper down the road. Once again, I was partaking in a team deathmatch, this time trying out Hell Knight, the newest champion, reborn from Quake 1. The match was a fair fight, with several weapons to choose from, some of them looking like guns from the old Quake games like the nail gun, showing more of the personalization.
None of the characters felt over or underpowered with their abilities, so it was mainly about skill and player choice. At the end of the match, we lost, but was still rewarded with XP and currency. It remains to be seen how long it would take to unlock each Champion manually without buying them, but the core Quake multi-player combat is still frantic, old school goodness. I’m not sure how the other modes fair or what this game is going to have once it leaves Early Access.
The biggest worry though is performance, not with graphics, but the ability to run Quake Champions. I usually don’t do first impressions on stuff that’s out, but the exception with Quake Champions is that I could not play the game at home, facing long load times only to lose connection for everything, including the tutorial and offline matches. I don’t know what the player base will be like when this gets out of Early Access.
Where I see huge potential with Rage 2, Quake Champions has me feeling like it can go either route, despite now costing nothing to play. We’ll just have to find out what the game becomes once it finishes Beta phase.
Excitement Level: Medium
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (Developed By MachineGames)
Historically, Wolfenstein was originally developed by Muse Software, but it’s foundation and where the recent entries in the series takes inspiration from happens to be Id Software. Nevertheless, we’ve got two Wolfenstein games coming next year, both to be set in the 1980s where the war against the Nazis still rages on. Cyberpilot places you in the role of a hacker working for the french resistance.
This one is a VR-only mech action game, where you are piloting robots to tear down the Nazi army. The demo I played had me controlling a Panzerhund, pulling a lever to turn it on, then pressing onwards to 1980s France, burning and running over Nazis, all of which are enemies from the last two games. I would be getting shot at from all directions, having to combine my flames and charge attack to mow down the opposition.
Being that I’m not a VR gamer, controls took time getting used to. Though, I was playing with the Oculus HTC Vive Pro, which for the first time, made VR gaming feel comfirtable. I honestly have no idea how, but putting on the goggles felt softer and seeing through the virtual reality lenses felt less dizzy. Plus, this Bethesda VR had greater physical interaction than Doom VFR & Fallout VR.
I was mainly given with two functions, along with a control pad to move around directionally, though noticing that there are other functions to use, not yet available. My big concern is how can this Panzerhound last as an entire game? You got to control this cyber dog in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for a segment, an entire VR game around the Panzerhound would mean you’d have to bring more to the table, or add an additional robot to pilot.
For now, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has this VR hater re-evaluating his thoughts, which is saying a lot!
Excitement Level: Medium
Part 2 – Elder Scrolls Games: https://pondspress.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/quakecon-2018-games-evaluation-the-elder-scrolls-games/