Game Review: Unreal Tournament 3
Release Date: July 7th, 2008
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Epic Games
Platform: XBOX 360 (for this review)
Price: $59.99 (XBOX 360)
Players: 1, co-op 2, system link 2-16, online co-op 2, online multiplayer 2-16
Epic Games has returned with another installment of Unreal Tournament, going back to a strict First Person Shooter, unlike that of the last title, The Liandri Conflict. For XBOX 360 fans who are or were fans of the Unreal Tournament series, this is the first taste of Unreal Tournament for this console. Has the wait for the 360 version been worth it?
The Unreal Engine has some good things and some bad things working for it. Of course the majority of games made with this engine are great to look at, but then again, everything made with it begins to look similar. Unreal Tournament boasts a powerful and variety of weapons and each is highly detailed. The levels, however, carry the typical Unreal Engine woes of dark, gray, dirty, metal textures and earth tones. Nevertheless, the levels are still attractive to venture through with little texture-popping. The variety of character models are well-crafted and each type carries their own style (though this will be discussed later).
The sound effects for Unreal Tournament are all here. Good explosions, weapon fire, and iffy UT-style voice acting will fill your surround sound to the max. Though nothing comes out extraordinary, that which exists is a nice piece of the Unreal Tournament experience. Who doesn’t like to hear “Double Kill” ring out from the deep tones of the announcer?
If a fast-paced shooter is your idea of fun, then there is plenty of that in this title. Unreal Tournament maintains this quality of its games and there is never a dull moment as players run frantically about the map fragging one another.
There are multiple modes to choose from, including a somewhat enhanced Campaign, an Instant Action Mode, and of course the Online Multiplayer. The Campaign pits you against bots just as always for this title and the story is what you would expect from Epic: bare-boned and generic. The story is not appealing by any means as it tries to deliver the backstories of these Gears of War/Quake-looking soldiers. The Instant Action mode will throw you into a map with bots in the modes of a multiplayer game, a great way to practice and hone your skills before you take it online–where the true reason to play this game comes.
The Online Multiplayer is the main reason why gamers return to Unreal Tournament. There are different modes to select from with the normal fare of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Vehicle Capture the Flag, and Warfare. With the selection of maps, characters, and weaponry, these will give FPS fans something to keep going back to.
I would say that the multiplayer is the only reason to purchase this title.
Though the XBOX version lacks the keyboard and mouse support of its counterparts on Playstation 3 and PC, the XBOX controller handles the action quite well. The only problem I found with using the controller was rotating through the weapon selection in the heat of battle, since you are able to carry enough fire power for a small army. If you have someone in your face, pray you have enough ammo with your current weapon or prepare to have the next weapon in wait not be sufficient to do the job.
The redeeming quality of the game on the 360 is the multiplayer, though it does lack the community element of adding mods of characters and maps, things you will find in the versions of Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 and PC.
As previously stated, the Campaign is weak and the Instant Action only serves as a practice arena if you are afraid to learn against real opponents online.
A fast-paced, well-ported version of the Unreal Tournament franchise in its best form. Though the campaign is lacking with a bare-bone story and drab gameplay, it is the multiplayer that is the strongest piece of the game. If you like FPS games, particularly online FPS games, I think you will enjoy this title. The graphics are pleasing for the most part and the online features and connectivity work fine.
ETERNAL’S BOTTOM LINE:
If you catch this game on sale for under $50 I would say pick it up. A definite rental any way you look at it.