Unreal Tournament III Review
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This game is without a doubt one of the premier online experiences on the PlayStation 3, and is one of the few must have titles of 2007. It may falter a bit when played offline, but the support of user created mods and maps provides this game with an infinite amount of play time. If you love shooters, pick this one up.
- Gorgeous graphics
- Great online play
- User created content provides endless replay
- Single player campaign leaves much to be desired
- AI is predictable in certain game modes
Epic Games is widely known for creating the Unreal Engine, one of the video game industry's most widely used tools for game development. This engine is named after one of the longest running first person shoot-em-up franchises out there. The Unreal series has been running strong since 1998, when the first title released on PC. Throughout the course of several titles, Unreal quickly became known for being one of the fastest and most over the top violent shooters available.
Unreal Tournament III is the first game in the series to hit next-generation consoles, releasing on PS3 and PC in late 2007, with an Xbox 360 version trailing into mid-2008, and for the first time, user created mods and maps are available on a home console. However, we'll discuss this a tad later.
Beginning with what is ultimately the lowest point of the game, the single player campaign feels very redundant. Throughout the mission, you play as Reaper, leader of a squad of rough and ready combatants who are in a conflict against the Necris, an evil alien race that aims to destroy everything. Instead of a linear, point to point style mission system, UT3 opts to take you directly to each new battleground for a single round mission which is little more than a single player quick match against bots. These rounds are loosely tied together around a series of spoken dialogue explaining the importance of capturing certain flags or defending specific territories.
The games AI sometimes makes little sense, and in certain Capture the Flag maps, entirely too predictable. The prime example that on certain maps, the enemy will camp in certain spots waiting for you, and is always parked in the same spot until you pass by. While this doesn't necessarily break the game or reduce its difficulty, it just nails in the fact that the single player campaign was given little thought.
Although the game lacks real depth and the sense of emotional attachment, it looks fantastic. It runs at 720p at a very steady frame rate and is home to some of the best looking textures on any game out there. Part of this being attributed to the fact that it is running on an engine that is named after the game itself. Unreal also boasts some of the craziest sound effects out there, with intense explosions and fighting that will make your speakers proud. This is one of the best looking games to hit the PS3 and definitely shows what the system is made of.
The beauty in this game comes from the grunge look of the environments as well as the amazing detail given to the textures and weapons. Each gun is intricately detailed and has two different modes of fire, each with a highly detailed animation. The guns in this game are on par with what we've seen out of Insomniac, which is quite the compliment.
There are also several vehicles making their way into the game, including several models from both the human and Necris factions. Each vehicle has a specific use and its own strengths and weaknesses. Also notable is the hover-board, which is very useful in certain situations as an alternative to hopping in a vehicle.
As for controls, there are several methods that can be utilized, giving the player incredible flexibility in how the game can be played. Using the controller works surprisingly well for a shooting game of this speed, and can be used either with or without Six-Axis functionality. The biggest surprise to me was that the lack of rumble didn't seem to bother me as it has in other games; however, the rumble does work with Dualshock 3 controllers, not yet available here in America. As for those gamers who prefer the keyboard and mouse setup, the game fully accepts most USB setups, and does so very well.
For veterans of the series, the lack of true single player comes to no surprise, as the games multiplayer has always been its selling point. This is where any Unreal game shines. The game doesn't stray into new modes, but is ... (continued on next page)
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