Quake Remastered Review

August 31, 2021

The remaster of Quake comes at the perfect time for me, just as I’ve finished cleaning up the recent Doom ports on Switch. Of course, Quake originally came out came out in 1996 after id Software’s first Doom games, with the developer continuing to iterate on the 3D FPS they’d helped establish, by creating a new engine, with a huge leap into polygonal graphics and fully 3D explorable worlds. Night Dive Studios have released this new version across a suite of platforms, including PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Switch, and for anyone who already owned it on PC, it’s a free update – which is an amazing deal.

Just about everything you’d want to be updated is seen to here. 4K and widescreen (including ultra widescreen) support – tick, while mostly maintaining buttery smooth framerates. Models have been enhanced, though are still in line with the original representations, along with the textures. Dynamic lighting is integrated along with coloured lighting, and graphical options like motion blur, anti-aliasing, depth of field can be switched on and off. Notably missing is Raytracing support, which isn’t a biggie given the original would never have had it in mind, but is something that was included in the Quake II re-release we saw last year.

The original Trent Reznor soundtrack, missing from the Steam release due to licensing constraints, is also fully restored. Not only does it help explain the Nine Inch Nails references on the Nail Gun ammo strewn throughout levels but also still is an amazingly solid OST.

Quake really was a major evolution from the Doom series at the time, not just offering fully-3D environments, but adding better platforming with jumping and swimming. Your character moves at full tilt speed, stopping and turning on a dime, turning encounters into dances of strafing. The basic physics of the grenade launcher will keep you on your toes as you race around corners, as do plenty of cheeky traps and surprises from the developers. Bunny hopping and strafe jumping were born here, as well as rocket jumping to propel you higher in the air, a now time-honoured mechanic. The gameplay is simple by today’s standards, and many of its concepts have mutated into the style of the new Doom and Doom Eternal games, but the pure visceral fun of the original Quake is hard to ignore.

Unlike its sequels, which had a strictly sci-fi bent involving humanity’s war with the alien Strogg, the first Quake actually had a completely different theme and narrative. You play as an unnamed soldier, sent into medieval-esque fortresses to do battle with various dark fantasy-inspired horrors, like chainsaw-wielding mutant maniacs and bloody-faced toothy creatures. It’s far more Lovecraft than Aliens, even though there’s still an array of modern hardware to blow up enemies with, from double-barrelled shotguns and nail guns to rocket launchers. Speaking of guns, one cute thing the remaster adds is a weapon wheel that acts much the same way as the Doom games, slowing down time to a crawl as you quickly select your next weapon. It’s a bit redundant on PC, but an excellent choice if you’re playing on console.

This remaster not only includes the original four episodes of Quake, but it also comes with the expansions from that era, The Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity. Not only that though, you also get two new expansions from MachineGames, the creators of the Wolfenstein reboot of recent times, with Dimension of the Past (which was previously released) and Dimension of the Machine, which is entirely new and sports some huge environments.

The all-important online multiplayer still packs a punch too, now supporting crossplay across all platforms, although it seems that hardened PC veterans may have a slight edge on console virgins using their controllers. Local split-screen and co-op is also supported. Further missions and mods can also be added, including Quake 64 right now, which was its own somewhat distinct entry that those with nostalgia may want to check out.

Quake Remastered is a great remaster of one of the legends of the FPS genre, and the job Night Dive Studios have done makes it even better to play today. Not only including all the original content, but going above and beyond to add a whole new expansion, along with a suite of graphical options and QoL upgrades, this really feels like the definitive way to experience the game. It’s also interesting to see where Quake began, compared to where the focus for the rest of the series ended up shifting to (a somewhat generic sci-fi war with biomechanical enemies). It’s not just an artefact of another era, it’s still a damn fine game.


-Runs lighting quick, great array of modern visual options
-Fast-paced, fun, classic gameplay is still a blast
-Nice QOL options like a weapon wheel
-Includes everything, even NEW expansion packs


-Simple compared to modern shooters, especially in multiplayer
-Missing raytracing support seen for Quake II

Overall Score: