Quake 4 revealed

As part of one of the hottest FPS franchises in existence, the latest instalment of Quake is by no means just another release. This is as important as anything else, and it's coming to Xbox 360.

Unlike the arena-based wonders of Quake 3, Quake 4 is the true sequel to Quake 2, featuring a single-player mode that, when all is said and done, looks a lot like Doom 3. It seems that if you use the Doom 3 engine, your game becomes Doom.

The first part of the demonstration we saw was worryingly similar to Doom 3. The scenery looked the same, the game played in the same way and the events were mostly driven by unimaginative set pieces.

The fact that we're situated in a war-torn futuristic environment is also not a plus. In all, it's a lot like things we've seen a million times before. It looks a lot nicer than most games but, still, nothing revolutionary - and from what we saw there is rarely more than two enemies on the screen at one time...

Outdoor scenery is definitely more striking than the stale, narrow corridors that are so often the preferred cop-out for lazy developers. Especially when you see planes flying above you shooting off lasers - it really creates an immersive atmosphere.

After a familiar and brief bout of gunplay, things stepped up a notch with the next scene, which is possibly one of the most unnecessary and nastiest things we've ever seen in a videogame. And we don't mean this in a good way.

You begin this gruesome scene on a bed in your pants, viewing your body from the first-person. A man ahead of you is strapped down by a machine, which then stabs him violently in the stomach as he cries out in pain.

You're next.

Of we go, down the conveyer belt, thinking to ourselves that we'll probably get rescued or something else will happen to malfunction the machine just in time to save our character from a sharp, uncompromising stomach plunging.

Nope, it actually happens and we sit there in disbelief as our innards are ripped out.

Then we continue, we see the man from before having his legs cut off - he's screaming. We move along - obviously it's our turn - and this time we've no misconceptions about being spared this horrific fate. We watch on in amazement as a machine saws off our legs from the knees down.

Our character screams, before being moved on to a big spike that stabs him in the head. Apparently we're being turned into a Strogg. We're being made one of them. We're being Strogged up to the nines. Except that we finally get rescued just before we properly turn into a fully dedicated Strogg. We're human with Strogg modifications.

And this is an essential part of the story. Our character's Strogg functions are key to the eventual defeat of this enemy. Our character becomes the link the allies so desperately need.

Which makes a sort of sense, but we're still unsure of how necessary it was to have to sit through graphic depictions of torture and dismemberment. It really was horrible and would never be shown in this way in a movie.

Still, far from us to preach. We just think that with enhanced graphical representations of violent activity someone might want to think about what sort of message they're putting across with this sort of shock matter. That message being: "we have no ideas, let's make it really horrible".

Still, some people like nasty things, and nasty gore and bloodlust will be prevalent throughout. Have a look at the screenshots and see if you can imagine what it's like to watch your own legs being cut off.

Quake 4 will be released for Xbox 360 and PC, however a release date is yet to be confirmed