Unreal Tournament III Review – “Better spread some newspaper on the floor. They will be here soon as they are fast.”

Unreal Tournament III

Midway, Epic Games

Ps3, Xbox 360, PC

It’s the middle of the summer. You’re bored. You’ve spent a month just sitting in your living room watching VHS movies and playing your favorite single player game over and over. This day, you feel that you want to try something different. You search through your game collection, tossing aside all of these games that you’ve played several times, and are done with. Do you know what you need? You need to be killed.

By a by an enforcer, stinger minigun, flak cannon, or a rocket launcher. Perhaps you need to be run over by a hoverboard. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be flattened and mutilated by an impact hammer.

Unreal Tournament III is the equivalent of taking a bath in blood and bullets and explosions. It’s a first person shooter from Epic Games, and it’s a way to spill some red drink all over the place. It is easily the most brutal first person game I have ever laid my eyes on. Blood is spilled convincingly in a sexified manner. Does that make the game any better than it is? Perhaps. One thing’s for sure: Unreal Tournament III is one hell of a thrill ride. It brings to the table addictive multiplayer, something everyone enjoys just a little more than performing surgery on living beings.

There are several multiplayer modes online, which support up to 12 players. Epic has implemented intelligent AI controlled bots to fill the empty space, so there is always 12 players in a game. There’s the standard Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch (My personal favorite. There’s nothing like going on your own.), but there are a few team based game modes as well, like Capture the Flag and Warfare.

The Xbox 360 version of the game supports 2 player split screen for online and off, something that the Ps3 version misses out on. However, the Ps3 and PC versions have user created mods, something the 360 version misses out on. The 3 versions are near identical in a lot of ways, with the PC getting the slight edge due to the availability of a mouse and keyboard. The Ps3 version has this option, too, but you’d have to purchase it.

As a single player game, there is a solo campaign that you can go through. The protagonist looks exactly like Marcus Fenix from Gears of War. His story is about revenge on an alien race that killed his family. The story is nothing special, other than an excuse to go to places and kill aliens. When the word “respawner” is used, then you know the developer didn’t intend the story to count. And it doesn’t.

The single player game is roughly 4 hours, which isn’t bad, as it’s mostly practice for online. The levels are the same ones from multiplayer. If this is your first UT game, as it was my first, then the single player game is a great place to start off. The story isn’t captivating at all, and finishing it won’t be a priority on your list.

Unreal is a very speedy first person shooter formula. Players move at increased speeds, and it goes well with the level designs, which are mostly just a series of room or squared connected by a series of narrow hallways. You’re going to need high reflexes, as your reaction time needs to be to the split seconds, if even. I’ll set the scene for you, as this is what most of your encounters will be:

– You spawn

-You see a weapon on the floor, a flak cannon

-You go and pick it up

-You turn down the hallway

-After 2 seconds, there is an opponent coming up the steps at the end of the hall

That will happen several times during each match. The player with the best aim, reflexes, and fastest trigger finger will survive.

This makes the game seem very shallow, but it’s much more complex than it seems on paper. When you first enter an online match, it’s surprising how fast everything moves, how intense the action is, and how steep the learning curve is.

Truth is, there is no other shooter that has this amount of polish at the speed and type of game that this plays. Every mechanic plays out well, and is a total blast to play. If this seems like your type of thing, then you are in for months of playing online that you will love. One would do best to compare it to laser tag. Who doesn’t love laser tag?

Weapons are all varied and balanced well. You always start off with an automatic pistol, but you can find weapon pickups scattered throughout a level. Speed is essential here, too, considering that if you are caught with a poor weapon by somebody with a rocket launcher. You are PWn3D… lulz. Finding out which weapons are most effective at certain situations is essential, but easy to pick up on. The weapons all have alternate fires, which brings variety. They all look incredible, with unique effects and splash damage. They are all sci-fi guns that are really fun to shoot.

The best weapon in the game, however, isn’t a gun. It is the impact hammer, your form of melee. Pressing the right face button pulls this sucker out, and holding down the fire button revs it up. It looks completely harmless at first, but when you press it against an opponent, the results are awesome. One second, they’ll be running away, the next, they are gone. Blood is all over the gun, the walls, your arms, and the camera. Yes, that’s right, the camera. The first time you do this to someone, your draw will hit the floor. It is possibly the most awesome thing in the history in videogaming.

From a presentation standpoint, Unreal fairs extremely well. It runs on the Unreal 3 Engine, and the game is made by Epic, so you know what to expect. The game looks identical to Gears of War, which looked incredible. There are a few upgrades on texture work, but the art is similar, and the main character is essentially Marcus Fenix. If you want reference to the best looking level, look at Deimos, a space station above a planet. If you gaze out long enough before you are murdered, it looks incredible. UT3 is one of the best looking games this generation, hands down. The game runs well even online, and spare a few texture pop ins, it’s outstanding.

The soundtrack is very good with really cool spacey bass heavy tunes. Voice work is done well, even with the taunts you can select to have your character say. Guns sound pretty average, but they sound clear. The soundtrack is what saves the day here. The work done is superb.

If you are looking for an epic (no pun intended) single player game, wait for Fallout 3, or go back and play GTA IV. If it’s mindless fun and possibly endless online you seek, look no further. The core gameplay might be too fast or difficult for some, but if you get the controls down, the game is a blast. Even if you suck, take a look at it. Unlike other shooters, this is about gameplay, not stats. When’s the last time you played laser tag and cared whether or not you come in first? If you’ve never played laser tag, why haven’t you ever played laser tag? Unreal Tournament III is a prime example of a fun game.

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~ by smithbubbajones on July 8, 2008.

One Response to “Unreal Tournament III Review – “Better spread some newspaper on the floor. They will be here soon as they are fast.””

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