Review: OpenArena 0.7.7 - 02/07/2008 by Andrew
First Person Shooter
OpenArena is a remake of Quake 3 Arena, using the open sourced Quake 3 engine that Id software lovingly gave to the open source community (major, major props go to Id). Though OpenArena is still in development, the game itself is very complete and extremely fun to play. Version 0.7.7 was released on the 29th of May 2008 and contained a host of bug fixes so I thought I'd jump in a review the game – it's long overdue.
Unfortunately, Ubuntu 8.04 only ships with 0.7.0, which means you'll more than likely run into problems trying to play online as you'll be hit with a 'invalid games folder' which is a nice way of saying that client/server version are incompatible (i.e. different). Luckily, 0.7.6 is just a short download away and after patching with 0.7.7 you're ready to roll. No tricky installs, just unpack the zip, overwrite the files with the 0.7.7 patch zip and you're ready to gib and tea bag to your hearts content.
The game itself is visually a remake of Quake 3 Arena, so any FPS player will immediately feel at home playing the standard game types (DM, Team DM, Tournament, CTF, Elimination, CTF Elimination, Last Man Standing, and Double Domination) but you're also able to play the same style of offline single person game that Quake 3 Arena has. The gameplay is (unsurprisingly) exactly like Quake 3 Arena. It's fast and fluid, providing very enjoyable fragging action. The maps and models don't detract from the gameplay either, a testament to the artists working on this game.
Graphically, the game still looks great with everything turned up to max and as it's based on an old engine it won't tax your gaming rig that much. On my system (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, AMD 4800+, 7900GS 256MB overclocked, 2GB RAM dualchannel, RAID0 2x500GB Samsung SATAII) it was able to pump out 1680x1050 on max settings without missing a beat. Yes it looks a tad dated if you've been playing ET/QW or even UT2004, but it's still a nice looking game.
There's plenty of Internet servers running OpenArena, though most are Free For All (aka Deathmatch) and CTF. You'll occasionally still run into issues if the server is running a map that you can't handle though this doesn't happen much.
OpenArena also plays very nicely on the EeePC 701 (even with the stock 512MB RAM) at 640x480 and the settings turned down. This is something that Nexuiz, Warsow and UT2004 can't do so OpenArena is clearly the best FPS for the EeePC 701.
The future looks good for OpenArena. Each new release is improving the game and their roadmap shows new models and two new gametypes are just around the corner.
Official OpenArena Webpage
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