No matter how big arena shooters become over the next few years, one of the trends I think we can safely say has fallen by the wayside is the presence of duel-focused shooters. They’ll never go away, much in the same way that the QuakeWorld community has continued to exist until this day, but their time as the pinnacle of competitive gaming has sadly ended.
But that doesn’t stop fans from continuing to work on the things they love. One of those labour of loves was Warsow, a free-to-play cyberpunk-styled arena shooter that was built on the Qfusion fork of the Quake 2 engine. The last major release was early last year, and Warsow’s just gotten a 2.0 release in the last 48 hours.
The news: it finally has a tutorial.
Warsow has always had a special place in my heart because for just how competent it was across the board, even though it was targeting a niche within a niche. It was released in 2005 and the developers have been keeping it going ever since then.
It channels the spirit of classic duellers as much as any of the more recent indie efforts — Reflex, Toxikk come to mind — although they don’t have the advantage of looking like Borderlands had a baby with Quake.
It looks pretty indistinguishable from what you would expect from a game echoing Quake to look and play like.
In any case, Warsow’s update does more than just introduce basic instructions. The game’s graphical effects have been redone and the renderer updated to improve performance; the weapons have been rebalanced in a general quality of life pass and colour grading profiles have been introduced to maps “to create better mood or improve the aesthetics”.
Warsaw certainly looks a lot sharper than what I remember, and it’s now got full support for gamepads across OS X, Windows and Linux. It’s still a good staple for LAN events too, if you have some old-school gamers around who miss the days of the original Quake and want some free-for-all action.
The 2.0 download is 423mb and is available in a single package or as a torrent through Warsow.gg. I can’t imagine the game’s popularity will soar as a result of this substantive update, but it’s nice to see that there are still people out there who won’t let their games or passions die out, regardless of what happens around them.