Nightdive Studios is handling Quake Remastered, now available digitally for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Original Quake was released on June 22, 1996, and signed by legendary figures such as John Romero and John Carmack; Quake quickly became a huge success. It was a turn of the screw for the first-person shooter genre, achieving its own identity and popularizing multiplayer. Its intricate levels, this gothic atmosphere that drinks from HP Lovecraft, the iconic music of Trent Reznor, its revolutionary engine with acceleration and 3D rendering in real-time … there were no few reasons for its importance. And, of course, Quake rose as a legend of the genre.
Of course, it would not take long for countless ports to arrive for consoles such as Nintendo 64 or Sega Saturn, in addition to an early sequel, Quake II, which gave greater weight to the narrative and the atmosphere of science fiction. For its part, the multiplayer revolution would come with Quake III Arena in 1999. Older PC gamers will longingly remember those afternoons and nights of glory playing Quake III Arena, which later made the leap to PS2 and Dreamcast with disparate sensations. In 2005 Quake IV would arrive, a Raven Software experience that collected the narrative witness of Quake II. After several installments focused exclusively on the multiplayer variant ( Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Quake Champions ), the series needed a return in style, coinciding with its 25th anniversary and here we have it. Quake Remastered is out now.
This Quake remastered is developed by Nighdive Studios, the same studio that made System Shock Remake, and is now available for $9.99 (in digital format) for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. Bethesda has also revealed that it is working on native versions for PS5 and Xbox Series X | S. Those who already own the original Quake on Steam or the official Bethesda app will be able to update it for free to Quake Remastered. In addition, this new version is available on Xbox Game Pass at launch, and on PC are also Quake II and Quake III Arena. It has been more than two decades since its first release, but surely many players have not yet enjoyed this classic first-person shooter. Is Quake Remastered worth it? How has it been updated to our days? We discover it in this gothic and frenzied analysis …
A first-person shooter classic
Quake Remastered is, in essence, the same game that we were able to enjoy on PC and other systems in the mid-1990s. Its premise is simple: shoot the different enemies, explore each stage, and reach its end. But the reality is that it hides much more. As Ranger, a bulky and brave soldier, we will find ourselves immersed in a dimensional dystopia that will take us through different worlds of dark fantasy. Medieval castles, gloomy dungeons, factories, lava pits, prisons and all this in a particular artistic style.
id Software and Nightdive invites us to overcome each level of difficulty we want (easy, normal, difficult and ” nightmare ”), and depending on this, we will run into more or fewer enemies. But beware, Quake will also offer us small sections of puzzles and exploration. Although the main objective is to massacre all the abominations and enemies in each scenario, we will often have to get an access pass or keys of different colours, which open sealed doors. And pay attention to the medallions on the walls, pulleys and activation systems.
Obviously (and comparing it to the most recent id Software title), we are not facing deep exploration like Doom Eternal. However, Quake Remastered is varied and addictive: aquatic stages, leaning castles, time trial sequences, energy bridges. Enemies are a hallmark of Quake, setting it apart from its brothers Doom and Wolfenstein. We will face horrendous ogres (watch out for bombs), undead, Squalid, Evil, soldiers, medieval knights, Vorer, Shambler and some final bosses. They all stem from the twisted minds of Adrian Carmack and Kevin Cloud, who were inspired by designs from the HP Lovecraft mythology. The mix between medieval elements, dark fantasy creatures and fictional monsters makes Quake a rich and immersive experience. To survive the enemy waves, Ranger will have access to different firearms and even an axe (something like Resident Evil’s knife): shotguns, nail machine guns, rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launcher, laser cannon, fire grenade launcher, a varied arsenal to get the job done.
Quake Remastered is a classic shooter, so the health bar will represent our health from 1 to 100 (it does not regenerate), which happens with armour. We will find three types of armour, health kits, and ammunition for each weapon class throughout the levels. Another point of interest is the power-ups. Most of the time, these will be found in secret areas of each level, and they are the following: Protection Pentagram, Quadruple Damage, Ring of Shadows and Biosuit. Explore every corner to find them all, and you will gain a great advantage in combat. Quake Remastered is still a 1996 video game, but its level design is so good that we can find many similarities with various current single-player FPS. Its levels alternate open stages with labyrinthine corridors but always dosing so as not to be repetitive.
How has the classic control been adapted to current systems? We have played Quake Remastered in its version of Xbox One (in Xbox Series S), and the truth is that the handling is intuitive, simple and fluid, with assignments that we can change and easy to learn. There aren’t really many actions Ranger can perform: we fire with R2, we jump with L2 (or X), we interact with the joystick forward (literally pushing a certain button or door), and we can select the weapon slot by pressing R1, which is a very nice and useful shortcut. The native version of PlayStation 5 can offer (perhaps Dualsense support) or the gyroscopic functions on Nintendo Switch, Quake Remastered has a well-adapted, configurable, simple and enjoyable control. Of course, perhaps it is imprecise in phases of balancing. On your way to the fearsome Shub-Niggurath (the mother of Hell), you will meet certain enemies who act as “final bosses.” Each one will have a specific pattern to defeat them, which happens with each type of enemy. Learn each mechanic, and you will raze in Quake.
Welcome back to the Hell
Quake Remastered is the dream of every fan of the original game, and it includes all the content that has been released for the 1996 shooter and a new expansion developed by Machine Games (Wolfenstein: The New Order). The selection of levels and difficulties happens in real-time in Quake Remastered. Our character will have to go through the marked door that he wants (Easy, Normal or Hard), and depending on this, access the chapter of the story to play. Speaking of the base game, Quake’s campaign is broken down into four chapters: Dimension of the Damned, The Realm of Black Magic, The Abyss Worlds, and The Ancient World. Each one is preceded by a short description, which warns us of some of the dangers that await us. Each of these chapters unfolds in turn at different levels. The grace is that the theme and setting vary depending on each world. In total, Quake Remastered offers 38 levels in its base experience, concluding with the showdown of The Well of Shub-Niggurath. If we want to play Quake Remastered alone, we can play the game from the beginning and then (to get the trophies), with the incentive to bite ourselves to overcome them in the shortest possible time, defeat 100% of enemies or find all the secret areas in each stage.
Another option is to select the level that we want to play from the beginning. You can choose the difficulty, campaign (between Quake and each available expansion) and specific level, so you can always bite yourself and release adrenaline in each scenario of this classic FPS. Once we conclude, the main campaign of 1996 comes the highlight: the expansions (Mission Packs). Quake Remastered includes the two original expansions, Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity, released in 1997 and included new levels, enemies, and experiences. But there is not the thing. We can also enjoy Dimension of the Past, the expansion released as part of the saga’s 20th anniversary in 2016 … and a new unreleased expansion, which Machine Games has developed especially for Quake Remastered: Dimension of the Machine.
As with the main campaign and the original expansions, Dimension of the Machine offers several chapters themed with different guilds. We will get a specific rune by overcoming each one, which will finally unlock the final confrontation with a long-awaited return. Dimension of the Machine is the great playable novelty of Quake Remastered compared to the classic game. The truth is that it offers a complete level design. Although continuous, of course. The scenarios, full of industrial elements, offer time trial sequences, uneven terrain, rooftop battles and new puzzles. As icing on the cake, Bethesda has enabled a section of add-ons and mods for Quake Remastered. At the moment, only one is available … but what a great surprise: Quake 64. It is the port launched for the Nintendo console, and it is the first time that it can be played on other systems.
Multiplayer magic returns
If you’ve already missed the main Quake Remastered campaign and all four expansions, you’ll be happy to know that you can still keep pulling the trigger. And it is that id Software and Nightdive has included the glorious and groundbreaking multiplayer mode, improved with new features. The quake was one of the pioneering video games in the now-classic LAN meetings. Millions of people came together in intense multiplayer matches, and now you can relive that experience with dedicated servers and matchmaking on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
For starters, the multiplayer of Quake Remastered is divided into 8-player online matches and 4-player local mode. Leaving aside the revival of the second variant, we will face off in free-for-all duels on six different maps in online games. Whether in matchmaking (via dedicated servers) or a private match, new multiplayer maps based on Dimension of the Machine have been added and Acrophobia and The Edge. If that were not enough, cross-play between PC and consoles is enabled (only in private games). The other great multiplayer variant of Quake Remastered is the cooperative mode, available for Deathmatch and all five campaigns available in the game. You can fight your friends on a split-screen or join them to overcome the different worlds of Quake. A luxury.
Our experience in multiplayer is satisfactory, especially considering that we are facing a 1996 video game. The sessions in Deathmatch (including bots controlled by the AI) are addictive and keep you hooked, and complete Quake in Cooperative is a sublime experience. Without a doubt, Bethesda’s work with the dedicated Quake Remastered servers borders on the standout. Perhaps the connectivity to Bethesda.net could be improved, but there is no question that the work to be a classic title is to take your hat off.
We get to the key point of Quake Remastered, which really gives the title its name and is the real reason for this long-awaited return. Let’s be frank: beyond a remake, this is the best way to revel in the ” Lovecraftian ” action from id Software and Nightdive Studios. Overall, everything looks sharper and smoother, and the improved graphics shine for a 1996 video game. Quake Remastered stands out for its new dynamic lighting, improved shadows, updated designs and models, as well as many new graphics options.
All technical improvements can be configured from the game’s graphical options menu, both on PC and consoles. This means that we can modify them, deactivate them or set the level of detail of the title (low, medium or high). The id Software title runs at native 4K resolution and 60 fps on the PS5 console. As indicated earlier that Quake Remastered will have native versions for PS5 and Xbox Series X | S, optimized. Still, on next-gen consoles and PS4 Pro / Xbox One X, the game boasts a worthy 4K resolution.
Quake Remastered has been developed with Nightdive Studios’ graphics engine, known as Kex Engine. We have seen its virtues in other titles from the studio, such as the remasters of Turok, System Shock or Doom 64, but improved in terms of textures, lighting and shadows. What is most striking is the disappearance of the ” fog ” that the original game had, a technical trick that hid some textures at lower resolution. In this remastering, we see each character, enemy, location or object sharply and clearly. Perhaps Quake Remastered is not the ideal title to shine technically, as its colour palette tends more towards ocher and darker tones. However, at various points in the Dimension of the Machine expansion, we witness the intense crimson of lava or the grayishness of metal.
Another winning point for this Quake remaster is the lighting and shading. Each enemy or object will project its shadow; simultaneously, that weapon surface will reflect the light. This detail seems silly, but it helps increase the player’s immersion in the experience. Logically, we emphasize that we are facing a remastering, not a remake. Quake Remastered is much more technically advanced than the original, more fluid and enjoyable to play, but it is still an excellent upgrade for a title released in the mid-90s.
One of the most incredible and enduring aspects of the original Quake is its soundtrack, composed by Trent Reznor. Most rockers will identify the touches of Nine Inch Nails, the Ohio band, which has championed the series within the musical world for decades. Quake Remastered brings back Reznor’s original score, improving the sound and adapting the themes to current audio systems (we’ll see how it suits him on PS5 and Xbox Series X | S). Interestingly, Quake 64 had a different soundtrack by Aubrey Hodges.
Although the music of Quake will always be legendary (and even more so when we talk about this remaster), the truth is that it is worth stopping to talk about the sound effects. Nightdive Studios has been crowned in this section, improving the already sublime material signed by id Software. In Quake Remastered, we will feel immersed in each scenario. Not only because of the environmental sounds but because each type of enemy has its own characteristic sound. For example, the ogres and their annoying grenades, the hiss of the Squalids, or the lightning attack of the Shambler.
We emphasize again that, in essence, we are facing a 1996 game, so we cannot ask for great frills. Quake Remastered strives to illustrate every action, situation and movement with high-quality sound effects … and that will bring more than a tear to the most nostalgic. The menus are classic but simple and intuitive, and except for some graphic bugs (such as the ” Load ” sign), we find a very satisfactory interface.
Quake Remastered is a love letter for the series fan and those classic players who seek to reconnect with a challenging shooter. Its mechanics stand the test of time well, and they remind us why Quake was such a special game. Of course, if you’ve never played Quake before, this remastering signed by Nightdive Studios is the way to go. Whether on PC, PlayStation, Xbox or Switch, we find the most complete and detailed edition of all those released since 1996, and at a more than affordable price. Fans of the franchise will find here a precious reunion with their first love, which marks the return of a legendary series, that well deserves to return to the media spotlight. After the multiplayer experiences of Enemy Territory, Live and Champions, Quake Remastered is pure gold. Not everything is perfect, and the game has some glitches, but Quake Remastered does not pretend to be. It aims to preserve the legacy of a masterpiece of the FPS genre and make known to all current players why Quake rumbles so loudly when we speak his name.
If you are looking for a classic shooter and want to know one of the most emblematic sagas of id Software, Quake Remastered is the perfect occasion. And, hey, if you’re subscribed to Xbox Game Pass for compatibility, you can keep the party going with Quake II and Quake III Arena. Quake Remastered has been available since August 19 in digital format for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. It can also be played via backward compatibility on PS5 and Xbox Series X | S, although Bethesda is already preparing native versions for next-gen consoles. Don’t hesitate any longer: grab your weapon, prepare your armour and travel through the most gothic dimensions with this Quake remaster. Shub-Niggurath has unleashed her terrifying monsters to wreak havoc, and only you, Ranger, will be able to stop her through action, terror, and unbridled fantasy.
We prepared this review with a digital review key for the PS4 version provided by Bethesda