July 13th, 2008, 19:43 Posted By: Shadowblind
Unreal Tournament III
Developer: EPIC Games
When the original Unreal Tournament debuted back in 1999, it took many multiplayer nuts by surprise. While it wasn't necessarily unforeseen since Quake II made such a bang with its new twitch-action multiplayer, the level of depth to this FPS was almost unmatched. The ideas surrounding it were simple enough; a game made almost solely for multiplayer action. This doesn't mean only against other living players, but also against some of the the best A.I. bots for its time. Well, you can rest assured that the formula for the blockbuster game hasn't changed much, though that may well be the reason for the troubles with this game. Don't jump to any conclusions; I'm not saying its bad or good. Just read on, you'll get it.
The Unreal tournament series has always been known for its mindless run-and-gun fireattatwitch FPS action. Things haven't changed a whole lot in Unreal Tournament III. The insanely fast paced nature of the game has been left in tact, and as per usual, you don't have to do a lot of thinking to know how to win. The main point of UT3 is still to blast the other guy to kibbles before he blasts you. getting killed thirty times every match is the usual, but what might seem a little unusual, is that its USUAL even during campaign mode. In fact, campaign mode is actually one of the few things that sets UT3 apart from its predecessors. For one, the new campaign features actual cutscenes to tell the story. The bad part is that cut-scenes are the ONLY thing in this game that tell the main story. Levels simply consist of a sequence of bot matches that range anywhere from one to fifteen before going to the next chapter, and the next scene. Before each battle, however, you do get a short briefing on your mission that adds a little to the story, but generally feels like a bunch of audio-fillers, so it doesn't have to explain the story. It doesn't really feel so bad at first, but after ten consecutive bot matches without any new story to back it up, it tends gets on your nerves. its not all bad though, as those bot matches constantly feature changing game types, such as CTF, team deathmatch, and a new game mode where you must destroy your enemies core while protecting your own. Still, after all is said an done, the campaign mode feels as though it was only thrown in there because it had to be. At least its something, which is a lot more then Shadowrun did. (If you didn't know, Shadowrun's best and only selling point was its multiplayer. Not even a tiny bit of story-mode.)
I am coming for you
Like I said before, the story was told completely through cut-scenes. Although it wouldn't have hurt to have a little subliminal story telling like most games these days do, if it was gonna be told through anything, it would have best been through these scenes. They look absolutely fantastic. Great camera angles and many high octane adrenaline fueled sections of the rather large scenes gave it almost the same feel as a mix between Halo and Gears of War(Which really shouldn't be much of a surprise, seeing as EPIC made Gears as well). In the end, even though the cutscenes do a great job of conveying what little story in this game there is, it never fills the void completely, and left me feeling like they, too, were thrown in there "just 'cause." Still, even though the cutscenes tell the story well, the best part of these cutscenes is also the best part of the game; that is, the graphics.
Well, be honest here. Did you expect anything except the very best from EPIC? After Gears of War, I can confidently say that it would have been more a surprise had they not made the best graphics around. Even if your playing on a non-HD set up, you'll notice right away that the graphics for this game are top notch detail. The character models seem to have the most detail in the game, but they end up looking a bit funny despite looking so good. the thing is, unlike in most other games, in UT3 you practically are never standing still long enough to notice the graphics, since you'd be shot to pieces if you tried. Smooth animations, though there really aren't that many in the game anyway except for dying and hover boarding. The vehicles in the game look nice, but they tend to all look (and handle) too similarly to one another. Not really bad, just, not really creative. The backgrounds are great as well. Textures all look highly detailed, and are usually very diverse. As far as the game's graphics are concerned, the Unreal 3 engine is working the best we've seen here. The framerate has never dropped as I played it even in some of the most hair-raising nine-on-seven fights. The backgrounds are fairly large too, though they are more of the typical FPS battlefield style, that is, a semi-large usually circular in shape arena. Not to be mistaken for Gears of War's straight line battlegrounds or Battlefield's crazy large army style battlegrounds. Then again, if it was any other way, UT3's run-an'-gun style wouldn't really work as well.
There is nothing that doesn't look awesome in this picture
Now we'll get into Unreal Tournaments selling point through its entire history--its shootonatwitch gameplay. Like past iterations of UT, the game is still all about who can shoot and dodge the fastest. UT3 has brought that aspect to a gold. The game has over ten different weapons to choose from, and every single one (with the exception to the bio-rifle) all work and are fun to play with. Even the Redeemer has been brought back, though its not the rocket minigun you may remember from UT.(Its more of a suicide rocket. It'll kill your enemy, and you, and half the neighborhood block.) You and your enemies all run like your Olympic champions, and with the extremely diverse backgrounds, you can easily set traps for pursuing enemies. Mind you these traps actually ARE you, since you can't actually set a trap on the ground. And nothing ever beats jumping right on an enemy and blowing him up with a Flak Cannon before he even knows what hit him. But then that brings us to overall fairness. In campaign mode, the cheapness that you'll experience is from the other team of bots, not only having more then you at most times, but also being ten times smarter then any of YOUR bot teamates. It essentially makes you the sole player on your team. In other words, single player sucks, and if your devoid of online or a friend to play splitscreen with you, your in trouble. But when you play campaign online, its pretty different. Up to four people can play in a single campaign match at any given time, though it doesn't count toward your single player campaign. But when you have four thinking teammates, even those 4-to-1 odds get evened out very well. Bad part is, if you currently lack a headset like I do, strategizing, at least on your part, isn't gonna happen. The worst part is hearing your teammates muffled voices through your TV calling your name to do something and you can't tell a word they're saying. Overall, the lack of fairness in single player ruins any experience you may have of trying it out yourself.
As for fairness online, it does suffer a good bit from multiple issues, usually having to do with the connection. The host does have major "host advantage", and anyone who has played gears of War knows what that means. Its when the host is using his own internet as the server, and everyone else is connected to it. Thus is gives him zero lag, and everyone else...well, a lot. Still, if you can find a good enough server(or a crappy enough host), then multiplayer can be a real blast. sixteen players all flying across the match blowing other people up is formula for one heck of a good time. As far as multiplayer in general goes, UT3 has a mess of game modes and options to choose from. Six game modes and a massive number of maps(I counted to 16, but I only counted team Deathmatch. The other modes have they're own maps too o_0 ) The most fun mode is probably still CTF, though Team Deathmatch comes close. Still, all the game modes and all of the amazing looking maps are fun to play on. Now online multiplayer is fun, but if your angry and just need to vent, there is no better way to do it then on an Instant Action bot match. This is where customization really comes in. Choose your team, choose your enemies, choose your map, players, respawns, and a bit of other things too. While this is a huge mess of things that will last you a good long while of game time, it still doesn't quite stand up to the level of depth in Halo or Timesplitters multiplayer options. So if you really couldn't care less about the bots and style of play in UT3 or Halo, you may end up going back to Halo before long. Still, there is a huge amount of fun to be had here, mainly in team work over XBL (or PSN, if you have the PS3 version.) but with friends in general. Playing alone may get rather boring after a while. But there is nothing like hearing the legendary UT announcer saying "MONSTER KILL" after you've mowed down six other players online in 10 seconds or less.
Vehicles play a large part in UT3, but they aren't invincible to ground attackers
The announcer's voice is probably the coolest thing about UT3's audio department, but not the best. The cut-scenes in campaign have good and mildly convincing voice overs, though the lip-sync could have used just a bit more work. Music is great. The action-techno music has been a tradition for UT since the beginning, and it really gets you in the mood to blow a hole in a bot or player. So it does what its supposed to; that is, get you hyped up to want to blast some baddies. The menu music is actually pretty good too. The sound effects in UT3 are varied and crisp sounding. Blasting the enemies have never been so good sounding, and splattering them on the wall is just as good. The voices of the bots on your team in bot matches are actual voices, and the things they say reflect they're personalities in the story as well. Bishop's constant rants for redemption and Jester's frustrated yells of anger reflect each of they're individual persona.
Unreal tournament has held a place in FPS gamer's gaming psyche for a long time. While it may not be as special as it once was, UT still has its primary standards of gameplay set, as it still values mindless blasting more then the story. Issues with a jumpy difficulty lend themselves to UT3 more then past ones, but with living players on your team the game still is a blast with its adrenaline-fueled gameplay. A great multiplayer experience all around, but for the single player, it may be less then average.
Major Selling points:
-- Fast paced Run and Gun action
-- Huge multiplayer modes
-- Plenty of different maps
-- Amazing graphics
-- Co-op campaign mode
-- Utterly mindless
Major breaking Points:
-- Lack of a definitive story mode
-- Single player options are limited
-- "Cheapshots" and fairness issues both in multiplayer and singleplayer
-- Utterly mindless
While there isn't much of a story, what is here is told well through the small amount of cutscenes.
Stunning. Exactly what you'd expect from EPIC games.
The sound effects are great, and the music is fitting. VOs are only mildly convincing.
Run and Gun gameplay where you shoot or be shot first. The style is great, but single player is below average.
Replay value: 4/5
Huge options for multiplayer and you could try single player again on a harder difficulty. Still, the age old gunplay style may get boring rather fast.
if your dying for a multiplayer game, you can find no better new ones then this. As for single player, its not bad, but it could use some work.
UT3 is a great addition to a long running franchise, and as far as multiplayer goes its an amazing game. Still, the linear style of campaign and single player modes may get a bit boring unless you have friends to play it with.
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