Been playing through Quake 4 again, very fun single player campaign; just started marching into Iron Maiden country on the last nexus tower tour.
Some how, being crammed into a tin can and shot down the throat of a strogg facility brings back memories of Quake II, lol. Personally I can't fathom the one-man pods having any practical military value in such an environment. When comparing a group drop ship to a one man pod, I reckon with how unlikely you are to get a squadron of ships through without losing a lot of them, the one man pods would be more economical—less grunts lost per ship downed. On the other hand, unless the one-man pods land in closely grouped clusters, it effectively does nothing more then injecting a lone marine into their own personal ant hill! Which is arguably, what folk who grew up or thrive on the production of games like DooM and Quake, relish as a staple of game+level design ^_^. Although IMHO it would have been better to get a group landing (ala Halo) and either cut the player (+ a few cannon fodder) off from the team.
The suicidal crash landings used in Q4, combined with military history of paratroopers being employed en masse, shows that you can expect to get shafted often enough lol.
The levels are about to get more interesting, since now the Iron Maidens become more of a threat. So far, the only big bruisers have been the Gladiator and "Tank" types. Most of the enemies are pretty easy to deal with; bit o'scattergun action or some hyperblaster deals with most strogg, and I love to plug out grenades whenever there is suitable cover to constrict their movement, whilst protecting me from hostile fires hehe.
Back in Quake II, the Enforcers could really rip you a new one with their machiengun arms; on the upside though you could usually dance about outside punchin' range and cook them super shotgun style before it got to dangerous ;). I haven't really encountered anything comparable to them in Quake 4, or equally annoying found lurking around a corner! The seem to have been replaced by the Grunts, which are little more then Berserker Junior Grades in my book 8=). Because like the Berserkers, get close, shoot the monster with some shells, back off before it impales you, then pelt it some more. A shame though that you usually encounter Grunts as lone wolfs (unlike Berserkers). With how bulky the things are, it would be an awesome thing to cause some monster infighting DooM style with; not to mention an interesting exercise in level design, to use them to heard the player into the line of fire of worse monsters or even into traps!
Whenever I've bumped into a shield packing Gladiator, I've always plugged it using rockets, grenades, and slugs; I think I've only encountered one light tank so far, so there hasn't been anything really durable yet. If memory serves, light tanks in Quake 4 are a heck of a lot more rare then the Tanks of Quake II were... and no where near as nasty. The Quake II tanks, oi; first time I met one, the sucker soaked up nearly every bit of ammunition I had—before leaving me bare in country riddled with Gladiators, Enforcers, and Gunners!
The Gunners in Q4 are actually not as mean as I remember them being in Q2, feels like they spend less time spamming grenades your way; but they are still awfully fun to nuke on the run :-). Going CQ with them using the shotgun or a rapid fire weapon like the hypberblaster & nailgun is especially more interesting then shoving a few rockets or slugs up their keesters from a far. I think in one spot, it was a ring around the rosey like game: using grenades on the former grenade masters lol.
The only enemies in Quake 4 that worry me are those bloody Iron Maidens; you can't get much worse then a ticked off cyber.itch wielding a rocket launcher and shrieking your ears off—unless it starts to teleport around, and takes a lickin' and keeps on shootin' at you xD.
I reckon the tower hopping war and nexus hub could probably be compared to MDK and the end of DooM. I can't help but wonder though, what are the odds that the 'new' Makron was built using the nameless marine from Quake II? After all, the guy did survive as virtually the last survivor of a failed drop, kick the strogg in the teeth, and deep six their leader.... wouldn't that be a twisted end? But assuming the hero of Quake II lived to tell the tale, one could argue that he was more effective then Quake 4s Matthew Kane - who ended up part Strogg in the process of one upping a John Doe!!!