Quake 4: Xbox Live versus PC

The dirty little secret of Xbox Live is that opponents can be hard to find if you aren’t playing the latest and greatest games. Great for the publishers of the latest and greatest and MS, bad for the guy who got on the bandwagon a little too late.

Because I’m trying to sample all of the 360’s titles, I rented Quake 4 even though I already have it for the PC. And it seems that Q4 delivers a much better experience on PC than it does on the 360.

Control: Keyboard/mouse beats joypad
Graphics: A wash, but I was playing on a standard-def TV, and didn’t see the framerate issues some complained of
Price: $60 for the 360 version, $30 for the PC version
Multiplayer: PC wins hands down

And it’s the multiplayer aspect that surprised me, I expected to have the same good time with Q4 on Xbox Live that I’d had on the PC, but it’s not there. Opponents are hard to find, there’s a few players out there for straight DM, but nobody’s playing CTF or anything else I could see. Usually, I couldn’t even fill an eight-player game on a weekend. And even if you can fill a game, there’s no guarantee you will play it. More than a dozen attempts to play online resulted in about 4 successful matches, the system would hang most of the time and require an exit to the dashboard, or there would be one last player it could never add to the match.

It’s hard to see that Xbox Live Gold is worth the money. So much time is wasted waiting for opponents or restarting due to dropped games due to the lack of dedicated servers. Do the rest of you find it satisfying as opposed to PC multiplayer?

Q4 is a PC game playing it on the console for the multiplayer clearly isn’t worth it. Try PDZ or CoD2 (released at the same time) and I am sure you can find a ton of games to join. Or Halo 2 released over a year a go and you will find a ton of people playing.

Gold is totally worth it. It is 4.17 a month. I play co-op games and head to head games several times a month with it. I find it more enjoyable than most PC multiplayer because the experience is pretty seamless.

– Xaroc

Yes, totally worth it. As mentioned, CoD2 still gets lots of play, and it sounds like PDZ does too, though I haven’t tried it. And although they are the latest and greatest, GRAW, The Outfit, and that WW2 flight game are also coming out this month, and all three seem to be fairly multiplayer focused. I can vouch for GRAW as being awesome, and The Outfit’s demo was great too.

Is Xbox Live worth it for Quake 4? No. Is it worth it for everything else currently playable online on the 360? Hell yes.

I’m not a huge live fan (havent tried it on 360 yet) and I still think it is worth the price. It’s pretty cheap. I DO wish they had dedicated servers and was surprised to learn they just dont exist. Free-to-play pc games have them, why the hell cant a pay-to-play service provide them? Is this why all xbox games have dinky ass max player #'s?

No giant BF/Tribes style battles = kinda lame.

Dedicated servers are not the cure all for Internet lag and in my experience with Live, I don’t think it really matters at all. Games perform very well for me and most of the folks that complain typically have connection problems or slow connections to begin with.

If your connection is solid to play PC games on the Internet, it’ll be more than adequate for Live. Live is easily the single best thing about the Microsoft consoles and for 360, I wouldn’t even buy one if I didn’t have Live. I recommend against people buying one if they don’t have it or don’t plan to get it because it’s so integral to the entire system now.

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. Call of Duty 2 is a prime example. Its multiplayer matching system is broken. It doesn’t let players choose whether to host or join. Hosts don’t have their upstream bandwidth scanned to evaluate how many players they can support (typically, 32kb/s per player is needed).

Halo 2 uses dedicated servers and is truly qualified to be considered “seamless” in terms of matchmaking and lag-free gameplay.

That said, Live is still great!

Don’t let Quake 4 be your poster child for anything Xbox 360 related. It’s one of the lesser ports, and the PC version is definitely better.

Games like Perfect Dark Zero, PGR3, Burnout Revenge, and GRAW are much better examples of the system. And Halo 2’s entire multiplayer setup is still, I believe, much better than what most PC games do, but that’s Xbox 1 (and backwards compatible).

I’m not quite sure you can say “xbox live isn’t worth the money because a game I rented that received very poor reviews doesn’t have many people online”. That said, there haven’t been many people online for Quake 4 since launch, it’s the third shooter behind PDZ and CoD2, and now GRAW.

One of the reasons why Xbox Live is worth the money, and you may not have tried, is that you can add the people you find playing it to your friends list, and join up with them directly later. According to my XBL friends who play the game, this is the best way to always have a match thats full.

huh? Halo 2 doesn’t have and never did have dedicated servers. Also key to remember is that matchmaking didn’t work that well at launch (took forever sometimes) and lag was quite noticeable until they updated it.

Despite the Halo 2 wrongness, where did you see me saying anything about specific games being broken? What you posted has nothing to do with Live and everything to do with Activision’s half-assed QA for Call of Duty 2. It’s not the connection that the problem, it’s the game.

That would be because I didn’t say that, did I? I said:

It’s hard to see that Xbox Live Gold is worth the money. So much time is wasted waiting for opponents or restarting due to dropped games due to the lack of dedicated servers.

And I also said:

The dirty little secret of Xbox Live is that opponents can be hard to find if you aren’t playing the latest and greatest games.

And as of right now, I stand by those statements. If it was just “Halo 2 Live”, then I suppose it would be worth the money for some, but I think the game is terribly slow compared to PC stuff like UT2004 or HL2 and yes, even Quake 4. But there’s a lot of games right now that have XBL functionality that are effectively useless because Halo 2 and the 360 games are sucking all the air out of the room.

The time it takes to join a game on XBL is still too long compared to the PC side, and I think at least part of that is due to the lack of dedicated servers that would allow jump in/jump out play. Because there is no jump in/jump out play, EVERY game has to be individually matched. Because every game has to be individually matched, there has to be a window of time set up to give potential opponents time to join. Quake 4 on XBL hasn’t been that different from my experience with the service, in that a lot of games take time to set up and then fail to launch for some reason. As a result, a person can spend 20 minutes not playing in order to spend 5 minutes in-game. That’s a crap ratio.

And I haven’t even discussed voice chat abusers. I can’t even have the volume up on the channel with my kids in the room, since it will automatically route the chat through your TV sound if you don’t have a headset plugged in. On one game, some moron with a FIVE STAR rep yelled “Osama Bin Laden” over and over for almost the entire 120 second matching window.

Those who are predicting the demise of single-player content are so very wrong. The idea of every available game being the playground of griefers and smacktards is enough to make me take up stamp collecting.

Are you still just talking about Quake 4? Because I’m going to agree with pretty much everyone else besides you in this thread and say that Live has worked very well so far on every game I’ve tried. I’ve rarely had to wait more than a minute or two to join an online game and definitely haven’t waited the 20 minutes you’re talking about. If Quake 4’s bad it’s because the game was out and being played online long before the 360 was released and because the PC version is better. I would imagine the only people playing it online on the 360 are those who don’t have a gaming PC.

As far as the voice chat thing goes, I wonder if you’ve ever played any PC games with built-in voice chat. If you haven’t, you know all the crap that gets spewed into the chat window? Yeah, it’s the same thing in text form. Silly dum dums aren’t exclusive to console gaming and I fail to see how you can possibly blame their actions on the Xbox Live service. Plus, you can mute voice chat.

It sounds like you should just stick to gaming online on the PC. Xbox Live is far from perfect and the implementation can vary a bit from game to game, but in my experience it’s not the bleak, irritating landscape you’re painting it to be. If you’re not enjoying it, by all means give up. I don’t think arguing about it’s going to change how you feel.

I think his statement about games not in the top echelon not being worth it are true more so than a PC game. I’d think it would be tougher to keep a smaller fan base playing a game where there arn’t dedicated servers, something that the lets the PC work better in the case of older or not as popular games. If you want to play Quake 3 on the PC you can find populated servers, maybe not that many but at least a few to still play. Xbox live! seems to be fine as long as your interested in the few top games that “everyone is playing”.

Well, GameFly tells me that GRAW is on the way, so I guess I’ll find out first hand how it goes. It’s not like I set out to have a bad time, but I’ll admit I’m not a patient man.

Nope, don’t play w/ voice chat on PC either. I don’t mind shooting random people, but talking to them is usually not productive.

Im playing Dungeon Lords, now it is clear to me that the PC is domed as a gaming device.

But why should I pay for something that is free on the PC?

What is MS providing, anyhow? Just a master-browser server, right?

They can suck eggs.

rick, it’s tough to talk to you becuase you’ve only played one game and seem to think that this is representative of Xbox Live as a whole, but lets review a few things. You knowingly or unknowingly picked the one shooter on the Xbox 360 that recieved the worst reviews and is also the only 360 multiplayer shooter not listed on Major Nelsn’s top 10 played list.

If Quake 4 is the only game you wanted to play regardless of those facts, then whatever your choice, if you didn’t know however, let me help you out for the future.

www.majornelson.com - bookmark those.

Hopefully you won’t continue to ignore what I said about using the friends and recent players function of Xbox Live to be able to create and fill your own games at your liking. You’ve chosen not to use the functions of the service you’re paying for, if you did, I think you would have a more enjoyable experience. That would give you the jump in/jump out functionality you seem to so desperately crave.

Last, I think anyone talking about the demise/non-demise of single player gaming is stupid, single player gaming willalways be there, but I refuse to buy games that have no multiplayer component, their replay value is artificially limited from the start.

Not to derail the thread, but what does “artificially limited” mean?

not sure? I guess say, Oblivion has poor replay value to him because you cant run around stabbing things and riding horses and so on in a group?

I can agree that multi can add replay value but the lack of it doesnt automatically mean low replay value, or less replay value than a particular game with MP. Quyake 4 is not going to get more in game time form most people than something like oblivion, multi or not.