Quake Arena Arcade review

  • It's Quake III Arena
  • Simplicity still rules
  • Controller works well
  • No one playing online
  • Expert players dominate
  • Lonely, lonely, lonely

For Quake III Arena fans that wanted their cherished game on the Xbox 360, Quake Arena Arcade is a brilliant port. We have some questions, though. Does that audience even exist? Was Pi Studios and id Software aiming for a new audience?

Pi Studios and id Software might have missed their intended audience because nobody is playing online. It's a ghost town. You will not have a choice as to what mode or map you want to play. You will take anything you can get, and when you do find a game expect a Quake savant waiting for you. This Xbox Live Arcade release does not bring accessibility with it. While anecdotal, every match we played included experts that lowered our self-confidence. Quake Arena Arcade agrees with Billy Preston that nothing comes from nothing. You get from Quake what you can put in. You will have to practice, practice and practice.

Fortunately, there is an option to play offline with bots. Nothing surprising or spectacular, but at least the option exists. It's a simple mode, and simplicity is what Quake is about. There is nothing complicated about Quake, and this refreshing simplicity is what made Quake III such a fun competitive shooter. Stop worrying about squad cohesion, killstreaks and iron sights. Quake III made you focus on less and prioritized importance to shooting and map movement. There is a reason why people often link videos of competitive Quake III matches. They are brilliant. In Quake Arena Arcade, you will die again and again, but you will marvel at your nemesis' abilities.

Arena Arcade is beautiful. While nostalgia helps, the mesh of gothic architecture and futuristic gizmos still looks great - a simple combination that remains fantastic. The visuals don't matter much, though. The environment starts blurring and becomes nothing but a blueprint in your mind as you race about and memorize power-up locations. However, the transition to a controller is rather difficult. Arena Arcade is fast, and the precise accuracy needed from weapons like the railgun is tough with a controller. Give it time and adjust though. It fits fine on a controller after you adapt.

Arena Arcade is certainly impressive. Quake III has always been striking, and Pi Studios and id Software's newest incarnation brings it to another audience. However, it seems this audience does not give a damn. Matching a game with its correct audience is just as important as a game's creation (especially when a game is so dependent on the online experience). A wonderful game is available here, but no one cares. Unfortunately, they might not ever care.

Jan 6, 2011

More Info

Release date: Dec 15 2010 - Xbox 360 (US)
Dec 15 2010 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: id Software, Pi Studios
Franchise: Quake
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence


  • Spybreak8 - January 8, 2011 2:29 a.m.

    The reason nobody is playing it, like myself, is because like most digital releases on XBLA it's overpriced. Just wait to see everyone flood in when this hits the 10 or 5 buck increment.
  • Baron164 - January 7, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    I love Quake 3 but it's too twitch for me to play with a gamepad, I need a mouse and keyboard for it. Also, $15? seriously, you can play it for free or get it for $5 on steam.
  • drewbian - January 7, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    @thewebswinger nintendo owns the rights to the goldeneye game otherwise microsoft wud hav released it ages ago, and u do realise a goldeneye remake came out last year...right? im sure if they managed to release goldeney n64 on a multiplatform release it wud b one of the best selling downloadables of all time
  • DryvBy - January 7, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    I think this would have been more popular at a $5 price, on the PS3, with mouse and keyboard support. Sucks that so many gamers are missing out on an excellent classic.
  • Longnuts - January 7, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    Yeah, you can play this absolutely free on a PC, even a crappy PC. Why pay 15 bucks for this, especially if nobody is playing? Don't get me wrong, I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it was massively populated. But apparently it's not. So no thanks.
  • CancerMan - January 7, 2011 5:51 a.m.

    Couldn't hit dick with a control stick, and there was barely anyone playing the FREE online demo.
  • Memph - January 7, 2011 3:08 a.m.

    i'm wondering how well the movement plays out in it. t'is not so much the shooting, as the getting around the map via joyous abuse of the movement and weapon physics that makes Quake such a rocket-paced delight. is strafe jumping even possible in this? jeez, just imagining attempting the bridge to rail on DM6 with a pad makes me wince.
  • mEgAzD - January 7, 2011 1:06 a.m.

    "stick with the PC version" Best advice evar.
  • Onepersonwithnoopinion - January 6, 2011 11:06 p.m.

    Actually there are more reasons why that one isn't getting released. This is just like Perfect Dark's online-multiplayer. To everyone reading this, just stick with the PC version.
  • TheWebSwinger - January 6, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    Kinda sad that people have forgotten their roots. Seems like this is exactly why no one has bothered to release the 1997 GoldenEye on an XBLA/WiiWare/PSN format.

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