You are an unnamed soldier, the Ranger, Earth’s finest warrior. You arrive at a secret base to lead Operation Counterstrike. Your combat mission is to infiltrate through the Slipgate device into another dimension and destroy the enemies codenamed Quake. However, the enemies find out about your plan, invade Earth, and kill all your allies. Operation Counterstrike fails, but not for you. You load your shotgun and go into battle…
Brief story of the game
Even 25 years later, the plot of the first Quake works flawlessly, setting the right tone and pace for the narrative. A short briefing, after which the player is greeted by the dark corridors of a military base on Earth and crowds of monsters. From there you are transported to other dimensions, where you wander through labyrinthine locations and destroy more enemies with an impressive arsenal of weapons.
Notably, in 2016, id Software partially used the concept of the first Quake to relaunch Doom – and it worked. The attributes of the original Quake: blood, demons, hellish strongholds, pentagrams, and a light touch of fantasy – all this is now associated with the new Doom. That’s partly why one wonders today exactly what a modern Quake should look like.
The attempt to make a Quake Champions multiplayer was, on the whole, not the most successful. Yes, the game has a community. Yes, there are competitive cybersports. But the entry bar is too high; Champions is not that popular with the masses and has an online presence problem, and its audience is not growing at all. Even most trusted online casino Australia do better than Quake Champions.
So, if making a new Quake is about story, what should it be about? Go back to the roots – we get the same last Doom, in the same wrapper, with a similar setting and with the same set of mechanics. If we tell another story about war between humans and Strogs, then we will get Quake 4, not the best part of the series, or even descend to the level of Call of Duty.
It seems that id Software and Bethesda also don’t know what the new Quake should be like. And that’s why at the 25th anniversary of the series at the last QuakeCon-2021 instead of announcing a remake or a new part of the Quake, the company presented its re-release from Nightdive Studios, responsible for the Doom 64 remaster.
Quake Remastered changed the graphics engine, so it has received a number of visual improvements, including dynamic lighting, anti-aliasing, improved models and resolution up to 4K, as well as support for widescreen and aiming with a gyroscope. In addition, the remaster features a new optional campaign, developed by MachineGames, the producers of the rebooted Wolfenstein.
In fact, we’ll focus on the new story add-on titled Dimension of the Machine and dwell on it a little more.
The Dimension of the Machine
At first sight, the Dimension of the Machine release looks like a usual marketing ploy to encourage the sales of updated Quake (the original game’s owners got all the bonuses for free). However, this is not the case. For MachineGames this is the second add-on for the first Quake in the last five years. The team is aware of the ideology of old-school shooters, so its Quake – it is well-tuned gameplay, which will be appreciated by fans of the series. Moreover, in Dimension of the Machine, the studio went even further, creating probably one of the most spectacular and complex single-player campaigns in the first Quake – recall that in addition to the original story the game has four add-ons, including the new campaign from MachineGames. At the same time, in terms of narrative, the new add-on still turned out to be as simple as possible.
So Chthon, the first boss of the original Quake, is about to gobble up the world again. You must stop him, but before you can shove your double-barrel down the monster’s throat, you have to go to five dimensions and get five magical runes, which will launch a complex mechanism that opens a portal to the boss’ domain.
It’s worth noting that before you take on Dimension of the Machine, it’s advisable to make sure you complete the original game. If you are a Quake fan and have played it more than once, still refresh your memory of the basic mechanics as well as appreciate all the graphical improvements that the remaster has received. If you have never played Quake, be sure to start with the main game to get acquainted with its gameplay – yet the first Quake is very different from modern shooters. It has smooth and dynamic movement, and the weapons have almost no recoil, and you don’t need to reload it: as long as you have ammo for your gun, you can easily shoot with it.
In addition, after Dimension of the Machine, it may be quite difficult to pass the original Quake, especially for modern gamers. No, I’m not talking about the level of difficulty: the add-on feels much harder than the main game, at least in its initial episodes. It simply looks more visually appealing and richer.
For example, the same levels in Dimension of the Machine are more elaborate. In many ways, this was achieved at the expense of the graphics engine from Nightdive, on which the re-release runs. Yes, the locations in the original Quake also look much better, but the abstract level design from the mid-1990s is much duller compared to the new levels of the Dimension of the Machine. Back then, the developers primarily tried to make arenas interesting for combat. In turn, the team at MachineGames focused on a more detailed artistic level design, adding more personality to individual locations and, consequently, making them more memorable. And they’ve made a right bet and got good roulette payouts.
In general, Dimension of the Machine is a great addon that brings a breath of fresh air to the classic Quake, staying true to the spirit of the original. The new part of the first Quake canon still focuses on dynamics and shooting, enemies, and weapons, exploring levels, and destroying crowds of monsters.
The first Quake with updated visuals and a new ultimate story campaign will appeal to fans of old-school shooters. If you have never played the first Quake, it’s time to join it. If you’ve already played it more than once, it’s time to explore other dimensions and destroy enemies under the codename Quake.