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Quake Champions Early Access Preview – The eye of the storm

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Amidst a storm of FPS titles coming out and those already released, Quake Champions, developed by id Software and published by Bethesda, stands in the centre. It is the one game that, as a Quake fan, I believe there will be no equal to when it takes a jump-pad out of Early Access into its full release. After playing the Quake Champions Closed Beta, I was already sold on this unlikely merger of old-school arena FPS gameplay and this modern, team-based shooter with Champion abilities.

Since then, the game has moved out of its Beta period and into an Early Access release. With Early Access comes some great new additions to the game, and it is also the first time I have played Quake Champions against other local players.

For those of you who don't want to read a whole preview,  you can scroll down to the bottom and watch my first ever video preview

The Quake Champions local experience

Probably the biggest issue I had with Quake Champions during the Closed Beta phase was the lack of local servers. There are local servers based in Johannesburg in the Early Access phase right now, so that is an awesome addition to the game. It feels great playing at lower latency than in the Beta, but there is one huge issue at the moment.

There are local servers located in Johannesburg, so South African players can queue up and do glorious battle in Quake Champions. When I did find a local match, it felt amazing as I only had roughly 40 ping even here in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately, I had to queue for hours on end to find a local match. That is the one and only issue I have with the game at the moment and I think when the game takes a jump pad out of Early Access and goes free to play, we will have enough local players.

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If you are tired of waiting in the queue for local servers, then I found the Ireland, Amsterdam and Frankfurt servers to be the most stable. It is playable there, but definitely not preferred.

Thankfully, there is a very helpful local community on the Quake Live SA Facebook page, who helps organize matches and times to queue in both a WhatsApp group and via Discord, so go join the Facebook group to play against some local Quakers.

Early Access thoughts and opinions

Not much has changed since the beta, as the general gameplay still feels as solid as ever, with action true to the Quake franchise we all know and love, with the added bonus of gameplay variety in the form of these awesome champions. But there is, of course, more added in the Early Access phase of the game.

There are a lot more cosmetic items to collect. The game also has a new Runebook system, with which you can unlock a variety of cool items to equip on your champions. However, the important thing to remember is that there is no gameplay advantage for having these items.

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The gameplay in Quake Champions Early Access remains fantastic at its core, with two equally stunning and deadly new maps, Church of Azathoth and Tempest Shrine, added into the fray. These maps stay true to that Quake feeling, with items and power-ups scattered throughout.

My favourite addition in the Early Access version has to be the DOOM Slayer, who comes straight from the depths of hell to bring the pain. The character seems to have a medium movement speed, but getting around the map with him is still extremely easy. That is, in part, due to his double jump passive ability which allows you to jump a second time while in mid-air.

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However, the thing I love the most about the DOOM Slayer is its brutal, deadly active ability. It is called Berserk, and it reminds me of God Mode in the first two DOOM games, except that you aren’t invulnerable. When activated, the character pulls out his fists and gains a massive movement speed boost. When you hit an enemy and kill them, they are splattered across the arena with blood and guts flying everywhere. It is truly a brutal sight to behold.

Compared to other active abilities, the DOOM Slayer’s Berserk doesn’t even feel too overpowered, as you still need to close the gap between you and your opponent, so if someone you are trying to kill has a Lighting Gun handy and you charge straight at them, you are going to have a bad time.

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There is also the addition of In-Game Voice Chat, which worked well the few times I tried it. Then, you also have an improved New Player Onboarding system, which has some great features such as a movement tutorial, the ability to choose your skill level and of course, a shooting gallery.

Further, the game now has a lower system, where you can pick up hidden lore items scattered across the maps when breaking vases. These are quite difficult to find, especially with all the chaotic action going on all around you, but it adds just another little something that is fun and addictive to the game. If you do manage to unlock all 10 lore items for a specific character, you are rewarded with an awesome Lore Skin for that Champion.

There are also more customization options, for example, weapon shaders to unlock. It all just flows so well together and I didn’t once feel as if I was just grinding for a specific item. Instead, the items, loot boxes and lore unlocks just came naturally as I enjoyed fragging, and being fragged repeatedly, by my opponents.

Final Thoughts

Quake Champions is already an exceptional arena shooter in its Early Access phase. Everything just works together in harmony in such a way that I believe the game will become the next big esports shooter when it finally gets released.

At the moment, the only thing lacking is a tonne of local players, but that should change as the game comes out of Early Access as a free-to-play title and the fact that it is hard to find a local match is not the fault of the game at all.

Both the new champions released since I played in the closed beta, B. J. Blazkowicz and the DOOM Slayer fits in perfectly with the already-solid lineup of champions and the new maps, the Runebook system and more shows that the game is shaping up to be something truly special. A modern take on the Quake franchise that doesn’t leave anything to be desired.

Watch my video preview below then tell us what you think about Quake Champions and if you have played the Early Access. 

Available On: PC | Played On: PC | Release Date: 17 August Early Access | RRP: R399

This preview was based on the Early Access code provided to us by Ster Kinekor Entertainment

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Sillicur

Sillicur

Co-Editor at Glitched Africa
Wessel is Glitched Africa's Resident Afrikaans Guy (RAG) with a passion for all things esports, cats and gaming in general. Dota 2 addict, Dark Souls veteran and all around geek.
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