And, while Quake III: Team Arena
offers some solid gameplay to go with its solid presentation, its team features still end up being less than those in its major opponent, Unreal Tournament
. What's worse, you have to pay for this add-on, whereas Epic releases new maps all the time for free. That's not to say that most of the things Q3TA
adds to the experience are bad -- far from it -- but it seems that with all the free add-ons available, the only reason to get Q3TA
is that everyone else
will be playing it.
Once again, the single-player experience in Q3TA is all but discarded in favour of multiplayer. There's an amusing scoring system that keeps track of how 'well' you do in the various game-types, but the single-player campaign will probably not hold your interest for very long. It does let you get some much-needed practice on the new maps, however, of which there are quite a few.
In addition to a scad of new CTF maps -- many of them abso-fricking-lutely huge, reminding me more of Tribes than any other FPS -- there are a few new play modes to add to the mix. These additional play modes are certainly entertaining, and a few of them may actually get some heavy use, but in the end it's still Capture the Flag that rules the day.
In One-Flag CTF, you've got to capture a flag in the middle of neutral territory, then bring it to your opponent's base. This makes for an interesting case of base-cracking: normally in this type of game, once you've got the flag halfway across the map you're running like mad for a base you know is protected. Now it's protected, but by the wrong team. Urk!
In Overload, an obelisk appears at the flag base of both bases. You've got to destroy the enemy's obelisk. It takes a psychotically large amount of damage, and it regenerates constantly. Concerted effort is necessary to crack the base and do enough damage to the obelisk. It's challenging, and fun as hell.
In Harvester, the last truly new game mode, there is a skull generator in the centre of the level that has the skulls of every one who has been fragged. Capture skulls of the opposing team and then bring them to the enemy base, a la One Flag CTF. This is another fast and furious challenge.
Some problems come about with the other new additions to the game, however -- the weapons and powerups. The weapon damage has been tweaked, and some weapons you had before that were amazing will now do nothing but piss you off. And a few new weapons were added. The Nailgun is basically a crappy shotgun, damn near useless; the Chaingun is amazing, but it sucks ammo like no tomorrow; and the Proximity Mine Launcher is evil incarnate. This last one is the main unbalancer, especially when combined with one of the new powerups -- Ammo Regen. Mining the flag bases or the skull generator is a way to get cheap kills, and is more annoying than a truly solid tactic.
The other new powerups are very cool, however. There's a Scout, that makes you run fast and shoot fast but removes your armour; there's a Doubler, which doubles the damage of any weapon (Quad this for absolute insanity); and there's my personal favourite, the Guard, which regenerates health up to 200. This one's useful for any role, whereas the others are for specific roles only.
It's important to remember that Team bit in the game's title. An unorganized team will lose, and lose quickly. An organized team will absolutely trounce any team that doesn't keep everyone in the know.