After missing the anticipated summer 2019 release date we were told about back in March, the "bloody Quake revival" Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is now available on Steam Early Access. There's still a long way to go—the development roadmap lays out plans for three content updates prior to full release next year—but I've put a couple of hours into it, and even in its pre-release state it is very good.
Wrath is obviously nowhere near ready for a final verdict, but I feel like it would take an active effort to screw it up. The weapons currently available are mostly traditional but still very strong: The pistol is actually useful, with an alt-fire mode that really kicks, and the shotgun may be the loudest, messiest videogame boomstick I've ever used. Similarly, many of the enemies bear a superficial resemblance to Doom demons but are very distinctive in their own right. One looks like an imp with its torso cut open and stuffed with teeth (it also screams, which never stops being awful) while another looks like a cross between a Cacodemon and Sheogorath.
The two levels included with the initial Early Access release are huge and wide open, with interconnected dungeons and corridors that run seamlessly beneath sprawling overworlds. I got lost (a lot) but the freedom to roam where I wanted rather than being herded along a linear path felt great. Wrath leans heavily into its Quake heritage (it's actually built on the Quake engine) but aesthetically it struck me as very Painkiller-like. That might be kind of a weird distinction to make but there's something about the combination of big, oppressive levels, rune-based powers, and a chaingun that spits literal teeth that really rings that bell for me.
I don't want to oversell it based on just a couple hours of gameplay, but yeah, I'm impressed. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is available on Steam for $24/£19/€20, five percent off its regular price until December 3. Full release is currently expected to happen in summer 2020.