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Quake III: Revolution
Score: 84%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: id Software
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Quake III: Revolution are very, very sharp, and the game never lets up when it comes to the framerate. It is definitely one of the most gorgeous games that I've seen on the Playstation2, with a high resolution and almost no chug in the game. It's not perfect--the AI combatants move very jerkily, and a few of the effects, like the blood from a shotgun blast, strike me as weak--but nevertheless the game looks great. It even continues to look great when you play it splitscreen, which is something of an accomplishment. Yes, the environments aren't nearly as varied and awe-inspiring as the ones in Unreal Tournament. I've always felt that Q3's world felt way too engineered, less immersive and more videogame-ish, but perhaps that's the feeling that they go for with these titles. But the environments are detailed, complex, and fast.

Did I mention fast?

The sound in the game is the same sound we heard in the original PC version of the game. You've got the announcer babbling about who's in the lead, cheering you on when you do multikills, and counting down the last few frags. The weapon sound effects are fine, if not particularly engrossing, although there's something classicly deadly about the chaingun whirring away as you take out entire droves of enemies. Yeah. The music is that pumping techno stuff we've been hearing almost exclusively in these sorts of games, and it neither grabbed nor impressed me. Q3R's strong suit definitely isn't with the sound.

It's with the gameplay, of course, and Quake III: Revolution delivers a whole lot of solid gameplay. The lack of multiplayer support (silly Sony!) definitely hurts the game, and the load times are a pain too, but once you get down to it Q3R is one of the most enjoyable console shooters out on the market.

I could tell you some plot, about trying to go up in the ranks of the Vadrigar's challenges and other nonsense, but it's well and truly irrelevant to the game at hand. There are two main modes of play: a single player campaign, where you pick a character and take them through the various tiers of the tournament, and the 'Arena', where you pick a place to combat and get some friends and duke it out.

The campaign is considerably more of a game than the campaign in the original Quake III: Arena. For one, the various characters that you pick are genuinely different. Every character has four stats, representing their speed, damage, health, and so on. Each character has a different mix of these stats, and different maximums for them as well. After you pick a character, you're stuck with them for the rest of the campaign. As you play and progress, you gain awards, and when you complete a tier, you actually gain stat points. Depending on how well you do, you get more or less points for your stats.

The important thing is that the stats are noticeable, and they are. I played as Anarki at first, and he was psychotically fast compared to the other people, and only got moreso as the game progresses. Sarge is nowhere near as fast, but he deals a lot more punishment to make up for it. You can pick a character that suits your gaming style, and stick with them.

The campaign itself consists of the same tiered mechanism as the original. Along with deathmatching, you'll do one-flag CTF, and an interesting game called 'Possession', where you have to hang on to the flag for a certain amount of time to win. Because of the lack of serious multiplayer, however, there's no real team play.

If you tire of the single-player campaign, you can play Quake III: Revolution with your friends. The game supports up to four people at once playing split-screen, and it works surprisingly well. Of course, even with four people, CTF is nowhere near as populated as it needs to be, and the bots can only do so much. Straight out deathmatch or the new Possession mode are entertaining, however, and you can have plenty of fun tearing up your friends in these modes. You can also use your characters from the campaigns, which is a nice touch.

But the important question is: just how different is it from Quake III: Arena? The answer is: not much. Some weapons from Team Arena made their way into Q3R, and there's a couple of new game modes, but for the most part the game's the same one that we played on the PC. So don't think that this is a whole new experience; think of it more as a refinement.

The single-player campaign has five different difficulty choices, from enemies that don't fire much to ones that will kill you from across the level without a second of thought. Sometimes you get the feeling that the AI is playing unfairly, and undoubtedly it is, but there's definitely a skill level that's right for you and will keep you challenged without being frustrated. Learning the maps is key; the person who controls the powerups controls the map, and learning careful runs and alternate paths through each of the arenas is important for any long-term domination plans. Multiplayer difficulty, of course, depends on the skill of your friends.

Game Mechanics:
Quake III: Revolution uses pretty much every button on the controller, and the default setup is pretty atrocious. Changing it to either Advanced or Dextrous, on the other hand, will have you blazing away with relative accuracy in no time. Since the game doesn't support keyboard and mouse, and requires you to use the Dual Shock sticks, your aiming will never be as precise as you'd like. Q3R does autoaim a bit for you, but Z-axis combat is still a pain. After a few minutes of practice, however, the controls are simple enough, and after a while longer they'll feel like second nature. This is a Good Thing.

Load times, on the other hand, are a Bad Thing. They're no Lego Island 2, mind you, but Q3R's load times are still considerably longer than they should be. Prepare to spend some downtime between each map; it's a good idea to have something else to do during these times, as they can be rather lengthy. This mars an otherwise solid game, which is unfortunate.

With shorter load times (which I feel that Bullfrog perhaps could have fixed) and more players (which I know they could not), Quake III: Revolution would be a must-have shooter for the Playstation2. As it is, it's still a great game, and anyone hankering for FPS fare should definitely pick it up. Fair warning: if you already own it on the PC, chances are good that you'll want to pass; this version doesn't offer that much new stuff to make a whole other purchase worthwhile. Those without gaming rigs capable of handling Quake III: Arena, on the other hand, would do well to look at Quake III: Revolution. It's not quite even an evolution in console shooters, but it's a solid title nonetheless.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

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