Quake Champions: So nice, they made it twice. We all know about Bethesda/Id's revival of the arena shooter franchise, but don't go overlooking the Doom community's impressive QC:DE project, adapting the formula of the game to a more old-school engine with its own fresh collection of playable characters. This week, both got significant updates.
On Bethesda's side of the fence, the game now lets you be a Strogg Infiltrator from Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and wield the classic Quake 3 Plasma Gun, plus hop around a new map. On the Doom mod's side: For the first time in any kind of playable/voiced incarnation, it's evil AI Durandal from Marathon, plus a new set of expendable monsters for him to chew through offline. Within, character trailers and gameplay footage of both in action.
While the Strogg-themed Quakes 2 & 4 were pretty grim affairs, in a chuggy heavy metal kinda way, the multiplayer spinoff - Quake Wars - put a slightly more cartoonish spin on this race of cannibalistic cyborg murder-machines. I mean, they're still an all-consuming space evil, but they're more focused on enthusiastically stuffing their faces full of delicious Stroyent Paste than casual cruelty. Stroyent just happens to be made out of anything the Strogg kill, so...
Strogg is an interesting character to play, because his biggest special ability effectively lets you put yourself in hiding while you play as a secondary free-flying drone named Peeker. Peeker does a surprisingly consistent amount of damage with an accurate little machine-gun and can obviously evade better than most, although Strogg's body remains vulnerable to observant/lucky players while he's in this state. You can read up a bit more about him and the new map here.
Meanwhile, the excellent Quake Champions: Doom Edition (aka QC:DE) is adding a character I never thought I'd be directly controlling in an FPS: Durandal, from the Marathon series. For the purposes of making him playable, he's stomping around in a robot body, but the most impressive thing is that they've convincingly well voice-acted him in the gameplay trailer below. Plus, he has plenty of snarky things to say to fallen foes.
Durandal's special ability is a proper Marathon classic: He teleports in a squad of highly expendable BOBs (Born-On-Board humans from the colony-ship Marathon) to fight and die for him. They're enthusiastic, but not too dangerous individually. In the second video above, you can see a bit of Durandal strutting his stuff in a single-player level, and fighting against the new set of enemies that that were introduced in the latest update.
The latest version of QC:DE has been out for around a week now, but you can grab it (you'll need Doom 2, plus the Zandronum engine if you want to play online) over on ModDB here. Meanwhile, Quake Champions is still in Early Access, and while it will eventually be fully free-to-play you can sign up to get into the next wave of testers on the official site here. Alternatively, there's a $30 retail edition of the game that gets you immediately into the beta, as well as permanently unlocking all characters present and future, bypassing all the F2P gubbins.