Unreal Tournament III
Midway, Epic Games
Available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
This week I had to step up and finally play with the big boys to review this first person shooter. No hiding in the safety of the easy campaign mode because in Unreal Tournament III by Epic Games, you either play multiplayer or you don’t play at all. Sure there is a single player mode, but the Unreal Tournament franchise has always been about the multiplayer frag fest and if I can’t spend several days reviewing that portion of the game, then I may as well not review it all.
Unreal Tournament III is the next instalment in the Unreal series after Unreal Tournament 2004 and it runs on the famous Unreal Engine 3. Though the game does sport a single player campaign mode and co-op campaign mode where you follow a Ronin mercenary named Reaper who is out for revenge after his home planet is attacked, those storyline modes are really only exercises in preparation for the real draw of the game, the multiplayer mode.
The multiplayer mode gives you the chance to create your own character from several different teams like the Ronin, the Necris, Thunder Clash, etc. which each have their own special abilities. From those teams, you can choose from several different members, male or female to play as. Once you choose your character, you then get to choose your game type: deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, duel, warfare, and vehicle capture the flag and how to want to seek out players: ranked match or player match. Most of these multiplayer matches are won by gaining the most kills before the other team, but capture the flag and warfare offer variations on the kill point wins.
As I’ve stated many times before I am not a good FPS player and tend to get dizzy after playing for more than an hour, but this game I actually fared well in. I admit I played the single player campaign on easy to avoid spending several months trying to finish this game, but when I jumped into the multiplayer games; I actually walked away with 7 to 14 kills each time in “50 points to win” games. I surprised even myself.
I have to give credit to Epic games to creating a game with easy to use controls. Previous games like Call of Duty 3, I always found myself dying before I could even get my weapon aim at my enemy, but Unreal has me dodging and aiming like a mofo. I love it.
The weapon selection is wicked with a grand arsenal of futuristic weapons to blow your enemies to chunks of man meat. I especially like the bio rifle because you could carpet an area with its neon green slime balls, plus it reminded me of the mutagen from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The both single and multiplayer also allow players to jump into vehicles like hoverboards, tanks, ATVs, etc, but they tend to you vulnerable when riding around in them. I preferred walking around on foot.
I was very impressed with the response time in multiplayer and with the quality of the game play and graphics. Everything ran smoothly and not once did I get kicked from a game or have it freeze on me mid-play. I was disappointed to see there was no voice feature in the game. I tend not to chat with non-friends online anyway, but I never once heard anyone talking when I was playing or sitting in the lobby waiting for a game to start.
Being that this game comes from the same studio as Gears of War, I expected amazing graphics and that’s exactly what I got. This game is visually stunning from the first cinematic where you watch your character die to every little piece of man meat that goes flying during the in-game battles. Did I mention this game is mature rated? The characters are strikingly similar to those from Gears of War which I did find a bit silly. Is Epic becoming like Square Enix now and making all their characters look like cousins?
Character acting is the game was solid with a great cast to voice all the players in the campaign storyline as well as all the banter during game play. The music, sound effects though are your standard epic battle sounds with mass bombing noises and grand musical overtures.
Now I got to review the Xbox 360 version of UT III and this version came packed with 5 new maps, a two player split screen mode, some new characters and a new trailer download for Gears of War 2. Not sure if that makes a different in a purchase for some people, but I figured I better throw that fact in there if it did.
This is probably one of the few first person shooters that I actually liked playing and can easily recommend it as a great game for any gamer to play, even the newbies like me.
Rating 8 out of 10