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Almost exactly two years on from Nightdive Studios' phenomenal remaster of the original Quake, old-school FPS fans are being treated to a second helping of revamped retro-fragging action with this all-new enhanced version of iD Software's seminal sequel and, joy of joys, it's only gone and dropped onto Xbox Game Pass.

Let’s not beat about the Strogg base here, this is another flawless victory for franchise aficionados, an exhaustive revamp of Quake II that tweaks and refines the core gameplay of a classic whilst making sure to pack in every bit of extra content we could have possibly asked for…and lots more besides.

Let’s kick off with the main campaign itself and, in our humble opinion, this is probably the best Quake game in terms of its single-player campaign (Quake 3 is the still MP master). During its development back in 1997 Quake II wasn’t intended as a sequel to Quake at all, it was a completely separate sci-fi shooter, until it became clear that using the successful IP would be hugely beneficial. And so, what we’ve got here is a game that swaps out the Lovecraftian monsters and medieval mazes of the first game in favour of more industrial sci-fi environs and a wonderful line in biomechanical mutants.

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The core shooting action remains much the same, of course, but it’s also seen improvements in several areas. Not only do you get new guns to play with in the form of a railgun, chaingun and the BFG, but AI has also seen enhancements, with Strogg enemies now running from your attacks, regrouping and even ducking down for cover. Add to this the orginal game's clever last stand death animations, which see dying foes fire off a few rounds in a desperate attempt to take you out, and you’ve got a superb retro shooter experience on your hands.

With regards to the multiplayer aspect of Quake II, you also had new additions in the form of a fully co-op campaign, anarchic 1v1 face-offs and a stupidly addictive Capture The Flag mode. In its original form, Quake II was a feature-packed title, and this remaster packs in a ton more content besides.

Just like 2021’s Quake revamp, Nightdive Studios – who just recently served up the phenomenal System Shock remake - are behind the improvements and refinements here, once again showing why it's the current master of the retro remaster. Nightdive has expertly enhanced the original game's aesthetics with new lighting and shadow effects, added new levels of detail to enemy models, thrown in an incredibly useful compass mechanic, and some delightful new additions to enemy behaviour. We'll leave eagle-eyed fans to spot these as they play!

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This package also includes all of the 1997 game’s expansions, The Reckoning and Ground Zero, the truly excellent Quake II 64, and even a brand new campaign episode, Call of the Machine, from MachineGames. There’s also been a big effort expended in regards to accessibility options, with a menu packed full of aids to toggle on and off as required.

There’s a wealth of split-screen and online competitive multiplayer/co-operative elements to dig into too, crossplay is present and correct, and there's even support for custom maps and mods, an enhanced version of the OG soundtrack and, besides all this, you also get the iD Vault. The vault is packed full of concept art, models of weapons and enemies and even fully playable demos of the game from E3 and ECTS 97.

Of course, on Xbox Series X all of this Strogg-blasting sexiness is delivered at 4K with the option to ramp the framerate up from a perfect 60fps to 120fps if you've got the TV to handle it. It's absolutely beautiful stuff, honestly enough to make an old gamer weep, and the online servers are already packed full of other eager Bittermans to get busy exploding into tiny little pieces.

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Whatever way you come at it, what's here is the definitive version of this seminal FPS and one of the most impressive remastered packages we've ever had the pleasure of playing. Quake fans are gonna absolutely devour this, and if you've yet to play this one we recommend nabbing it and diving in ASAP.


Quake II's remastered release arrives on Xbox consoles in a fantastic package that's been put together masterfully by Nightdive Studios. You've got enhanced graphics and audio, refined AI, brand new enemy animations, the iD Vault, Quake 2 64, a brand new episode from MachineGames and all previously released DLC in the mix here. Add in crossplay support and lots of co-op and competitive ways to play and you've got an absolutely outstanding release that's almost impossible to find fault with. Operation Evil Overlord has never looked, felt or sounded better.