The era of true Twitch shooters made its return to PAX East this year. Bethesda brought Quake Champions for all to enjoy at their booth with a few of their other games. People were very excited and lined up for up to an hour, and rightly so. Quake Champions is a solid callback to those of the early days of gaming but brings a solid mix of today’s style and technology. The world of shooters is massive, with several types and variations, and they have Doom and Quake to thank as their grandparents for providing them a foundation to build off of. Quake Champions takes us back to these roots, so I was very excited to get my hands on the latest version and revel in the nostalgia of jumping and dodging at what felt like a million miles an hour. Learn Your Abilities As I settled in, the first thing that stood out was, clearly, the addition of Champions: characters with unique abilities and traits that set themselves apart from one another. It would be obvious that the big tough Scale Bearer has more HP and sacrifices speed, while the smaller Nyx is can move around lithely with less HP. However, it was more than just that feature that set them apart from one another. Each character has their own unique ability. The previously mentioned Nyx has an active ability called Ghost Walk, which allows her to get in position behind an enemy and blast them away with her shotgun; her passive ability is using Wall Jump. Scale Bearer, the largest character of them all, has an active ability of Bull Rush which can be activated for a huge burst of speed that will kill any enemies in his path, but greatly restrict your control over his movements; should he land on top of an enemy, it is possible that he can deal enough damage to kill them. The other characters have an array abilities, as well, but you get the point. As I played, however, these abilities took a back seat as the players focused on acquiring frag grenades and finding the best weapons. This very well could change come release, though. For now, the abilities introduced seem to be one of those things Bethesda is trying to incorporate from modern shooters like Overwatch to a classic like Quake Battles in Quake: Champions will get very intense. Guns Aplenty Staying true to the classic formula, Quake Champions has a lot of guns. From the classic Rocket Launcher (and, yes, the Rocket Jump is back) to the Rail Gun, there are several options available to each player. In one aspect I thought was interesting, you can change your starting loadout a bit throughout the game; I was not limited to only one set loadout but could pick and choose each time I respawned. I personally loved the Nail Gun but I made sure to split my time between it and the Shotgun for starter weapons. The classic style of picking up weapons throughout the maps is still The classic style of picking up weapons throughout the maps is still there and is much more crucial than getting frags. While it is possible to get kills with the Nail Gun, I found myself only dealing 10 or 11 points of damage to an enemy while their Rocket Launcher was dealing 60 or 70 to me. Just as before, the game will be based on skill, and part of that will be knowing where the guns spawn on the various maps. Learning the basics of these maps isn’t too difficult, thankfully, as I found myself having a solid understanding of the map I played on in just one match. It was pretty large, but not so large that it was impossible to run into someone on the enemy team. Only once did I have an issue of spawning too close to a firefight so they aren’t too cramped, either. Too often are maps shrunk to increase play speed and sense of urgency. Once again, Quake Champions takes care of this challenge with the rest of the mechanics and natural flow of battle. It is in Beta, After All While in the heat of the moment, I definitely felt myself become engrossed by the battle. However, after the feeling of euphoria from getting back into a Quake game wore off, a few things felt a bit off. Perhaps it’s the rose-colored glasses I wear for my past experiences with Quake that are warping my experience with the latest iteration, but the game felt a bit more like Unreal Tournament as opposed to the newest Quake. Time-to-kill seemed a bit high, with several times where I’d land several hit markers on the enemy and still come out losing. I was playing as the larger Scale Bearer most of the time, but I felt like movement speed was a bit lacking as well. However, both of these issues could be my lack of experience with the game, and both could be resolved come open beta or full release. Speaking of release, no details were given but, as of now, only PC has been confirmed as a platform.