Today I played Quake for the first time. It was the Shareware build, as I wasn't about to buy it before knowing if I enjoyed it or not, but I did play it. It was fun. I found the old low-poly graphics strangely amusing, and I was honestly impressed by some of the lighting. I mean, it obviously wasn't any better than Half-Life's lighting, but I was expecting it to be worse.
As far as gameplay goes, it was new. I definitely didn't find it too challenging. I played through the entire demo on Easy, only dying once in the final boss fight. There were plenty of "oh shit" moments, though. For some reason (and I'm pretty sure it was just a quirk of the source port I was using), I didn't have a crosshair, so I ended up having to guess where my shots would land. Thankfully, I was relatively good at this. I enjoyed the music (thanks, Trent Rezzner?) and I found the NINs on the nailgun ammo hilarious. Some of the gameplay seemed a little half-baked, but that's from the perspective of someone who is about 10 years younger than the game. It was probably fine for when it came out.
Overall, I enjoyed it and plan to purchase the full version on Steam, and I would probably give my experience a 4/5.
I'm old enough to have played the shareware and full release of Quake back when it was released and back then it really was top tier stuff. I too played it on Easy back then, while also using cheats because I mainly enjoyed messing around with my friends.
I've only recently (around 2020) gone back and played through those classic FPS games like Doom 1 & 2, Quake 1 and even Half-Life. This time however I played each of them on harder difficulties and had a much better time with it.
As with Half-Life, Quake has a very active mapping/modding community so it's worth getting the full game if you're into that. There's a back catalogue of over 25 years of custom content available to play