I hadn't seen Quake 3 and naively expected a mild upgrade in graphics from Quake 2. But this game looks like a CGI animated show like Starship Troopers or Beast Wars. But better. It's like playing in a cutscene.
I haven't gotten too far into it, but I like the innovations. You move forward with a few other Marines and work in a small squad. Tech officers and medical officers give you armor and health upgrades when asked and sometimes on their own. So far, the missions are short objectives like "escort the medic" or "find a new route". I'd call this a mix of Quake 2 (got to Strogg, kill everyone) and Aliens (Marines work together, kill everything). Ammo and health packs are found in opened crates along the way, but look like part of the scenery. They do not shout out at you to be found. However, when the enemy lunges out at you from the walls, it is sudden and unsettling.
The environment is marvelous with deep shadows, constant movement, a good deal of interaction, a huge color palatte and a variety of texture. The voice work is solid, and the character displays are small and clear. The controls haven't veered away from the basic Quake set-up. Even guys who missed a title can jump right in and play, but the initial game objectives help you gear up for the game without being lame. IGN.com says the multiplayer seems to suffer from the build-up of the single-player game, but I don't have an inertnet connection fast enough to play online anyway. For me, what we get is dandy.
The only downside so far is the time to install the game (15 minutes on my brand-new not-that-cheap PC) and the load times between scenes.
It's big, noisy, and immersive.
Wow wow wow.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker