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Quake Live Beta.

Browser-based games are nothing new, with developers such as Flashbang Studios making wonderful things like Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, but then Quake isn’t your ordinary franchise, and with EA getting involved as well (with Battlefield Heroes), any success it has with bringing fast-paced, multiplayer violence to browsers is definitely something to keep an eye on.

But what is Quake Live?

Essentially, it’s the decade old multiplayer FPS that was Quake 3: Arena (and the Team Arena expansion) with a certain amount of social networking jiggery pokery moulded onto it and launched from your browser. Friends lists, profiles with awards and match stats, worldwide rankings, all that business. While it’s built for multiplayer, the single player practice mode means there’s also the entire version of Quake 3: Arena available for you to play with against bots as well. Did I mention it’s also free?

After registering an account, there’s a brief tutorial/practice match with an auto-adjusting AI to teach you the basics and let the computer gauge your ability. Meanwhile, the rest of the game is downloading in the background, so you can hit the ground running. Just login and you’re straight into a match selection screen, with highlighted matches that fit your skill level. Hover over a match and get live scores, round timers, and player listings; you can just fire up your browser, login, and jump onto a server in seconds.

However, with this being the first day of  an open beta, there are, unsurprisingly, some issues. While I may tick some of the boxes for a British stereotype, a love of queuing is not one of them, and I was disheartened when suddenly faced with an internet meme inducing, five figure number. So, when the servers weren’t being taken offline (status updates via twitter are a fine thing, by the way), there was a massive queue to sit through. But then you get in and it’s Quake and its rocket launchers, gibs, and quad-damage, the same Quake it’s always been, and it is just glorious.

Edit: Update on the first day.


One Comment

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