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Quake review for Nintendo Switch, PS5/4, Xbox Series X/One, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: id Software/MachineGames
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

Unlike a lot of people of my generation, I don’t have any fond nostalgic feelings towards Quake. I was vaguely aware of it back when it first came out, but it fell into the same big bucket of games that also included games like Doom, Wolfenstein, and Duke Nukem 3D — which is to say, first-person shooters that didn’t interest me all that much at the time.

Given my antipathy for gaming nostalgia, you might think that I’m not a fan of this Quake re-release 25 years later. But you’d be wrong: even if it shows its age, this is still an exceptionally good shooter.

To be sure, it looks and sounds very much like it came out in the mid-’90s. The graphics are practically unchanged, and if you have a picture in your head of any of those ‘90s FPSes, with their weirdly flat-looking monsters and blocky, blurry backgrounds, you’re basically picturing this game. Couple that with the fact it was scored by Trent Reznor, and it’s hard to think of how the game could be any more of its time.

But even if it looks dated, it still pulls off a creepy vibe better than any number of games that have come since then. In fact, while I wouldn’t say Quake looks realistic, it definitely feels gloomier and creepier than any of those games I mentioned above. There’s something about the way the monsters lurch around, often rising from the dead, that creates a sense of tense dread.

And, of course, it helps that Quake’s action is still top-notch. There’s a reason why FPSes have been imitating Quake (and Doom, and Wolfenstein) for the last few decades, and it’s because it makes it so fun and so easy to run into a room, guns blazing, and blast away armies of monsters. It’s a well-worn formula by now, but it’s not hard to see why it was so much fun at the time — I mean, it’s still so much fun.

Obviously, if you’ve played Quake at any point in the last 25 years, there’s probably not a pressing need for you to pick it up on current-gen systems — it’s basically the same game here that you could’ve played at any time in the last few decades. But if you want to see a seminal first-person shooter that’s aged surprisingly well, be sure to hunt this one out.

Bethesda provided us with a Quake Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-