About two years ago, Bethesda released a surprise update to the original Quake. This update added a number of modern QoL enhancements as well as several new playable scenarios. I, like many other gamers, was shocked by both the quality of the release and the sheer amount of content included in it. Well, it seems that history has repeated itself. Just a few months ago, Bethesda gave the same treatment to Quake II.
August 10th saw a surprise re-release of this classic FPS. This new version of Quake II is available on PS 4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Nintendo Switch, and of course, the PC. (Steam users who purchased the original Quake II will receive a free upgrade to the new version). This modern port of Quake II includes the following updates: Cross-play multiplayer, support for HD resolutions (including 4k), improved models, dynamic lighting, and other graphical enhancements. The re-release also includes both Mission Packs from the original game as well as a brand new Mission Pack; Call of the Machine. As an added bonus, Quake II 64 (the Nintendo 64 version of the original game, is included as well).
For most older gamers, the new Call of the Machine episode is likely the biggest news of this re-release. This new scenario is MASSIVE. If you played the Dimension of the Machine scenario that came with the Quake re-release from 2021, then you probably have a pretty good idea what to expect. The new episode seems to be designed to take advantage of the enemy AI improvements seen in this remastered release. I should also mention that the level design for the scenario is some of the best I’ve seen yet. It’s hard to believe that a developer would dedicate this much effort for an add-on to a game from 1997, but they did and I am extremely grateful for it.
For older players that think they’ve seen it all, I warn you; this new episode has a feel of its own. The action on these new levels is ramped up to an entirely new level. Enemies swarm you… relentlessly. I won;t lie to you, Call of the Machine is tough as nails. But I had an absolute blast playing it. In my opinion, this new scenario is worth the price of the game alone.
But that’s not all… Let’s talk about Quake II 64.
It you played any of IDsoft’s other console ports (like Doom 64), then you know that these “ports” are really more like completely new games. The same is true with Nintendo 64 version of Quake II. The N64 version for Quake II followed the same essential storyline of the PC version, but different mission objectives and entirely new level designs. I never played this version of the game until this re-release and I have to admit, it’s actually pretty good. Several of the levels in Quake II 64 are very similar to areas from the original game, but the majority of them are completely new. These new levels also contain some unique story elements that in many ways, actually outshine what was seen in the original PC version of the game.
I found myself enjoying this N64 version way more than I expected to and the fact that it’s included in this bundle is absolutely fantastic. For the first time ever, we now have every single Quake II mission, level, and multiplayer option available in one single title – complete with cross-platform support. What more can you ask for?
Overall Impression: Another amazing update to a classic FPS title from Bethesda. This update includes many quality of life improvements, additional scenarios and is available on multiple platforms. It is a must-have for any Quake II fan.
Value: Owners of the original CD ROM will have to purchase the Bethesda version of Quake II to get this update. But at the cost of only $10, this is well worth the price. Players who already own this game on Steam will receive this update for free. In my opinion, Call of the Machine is worth the $10.00 price tag alone, not to mention all of the other updates and the inclusion of Quake II 64.