The sequel to 1998’s Quake 2 is finally here, and the Xbox 360 version keeps the same slow-paced single-player gameplay of Quake 2, while upholding Quake 3’s heated multiplayer matches into one visually sophisticated package. The game begins with you as Corporal Kane, on a battleship to Stroggos to hit the Strogg hard and fast. Of course, things don’t go as plan, rendering you unconscious. You’ll soon gather your thoughts and wake up to realization that you’re knocking at death’s door. Those players who liked Doom 3’s reloading and Quake 2’s speed will be glad to see that they are perfectly utilized here.

The game has quite a collection of firepower and endless enemies to battle. Too bad, you really can’t exploit the immense power of these weapons unless you happen to find ammo for it. Some of the exceptional weapons you’ll be carrying include the Nail Gun, different types of rocket launchers, and other futuristic prototypes. The ones you have come to know as the BFG and Plasma Gun have been replaced by Dark Matter Gun and Hyperblaster respectively. Both exceed or are equivalent to their Quake 3 counterparts, and they are just plain cool. Take note that unlike Doom 3 there is no sprint here. When you roam through the tight corridors, you will most likely fall victim to a Berserker’s rampaging blade. So always be on guard!

The multiplayer component of Quake 4 is very much like Quake 3, except for a few tweaks and additions. As we take on the multiplayer portion, it turns out there are three types of modes to it: Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and Tournament. Capture the Flag is the same old event as before, but now it involves guns and explosives. Deathmatch is a straightforward type of event where you take out anyone you see in sight. There is also, of course, a team variant of this that can spice things up. Last but not least, you have Tournament. This is where two players will engage in a one-on-one match while the other players watch.

The winner continues on to fight another player, and the loser is out for the time being. If you loved Quake 3, this is more of the same for you. The graphics are top-notch and very sleek. The game uses the magnificent Doom 3 engine, which does a great job of bump mapping and implementing those nice visual lighting effects. There is no High Dynamic Range, meaning there’s no contrast and glow in the dark, but you won’t really mind it anyways. The game is amazing even on medium-end PC though the frame rate goes down a little. There are, however, quite a few pauses running on systems with ram below 1 gig.

There is quite an effort put into the sound component of Quake 4. Everything sounds great and the eerie ambient noise in the background makes you a bit more cautious and terrified at the same time. It makes you feel jumpy and paranoid. With your home theater system in place, this is one audio experience you’ll never forget. Simply put, Quake 4 is a masterpiece, limited only by the speed of today’s computers. If you’re a Quake 3 fan or you liked Quake 2’s single-player mode, you’ll want to get this. The Xbox 360 version provides the best translation amongst the next generation consoles, and it’s quite identical to its PC counterpart. Quake 4 is definitely a great shooter and a-must have to start your Xbox 360 collection.