Reviews July 1, 2010

Unreal Tournament 3

Kenneth Seward Jr

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Unreal Tournament 3
Reviewed by: Kenneth Seward Jr.
System: Xbox 360
Genre: FPS
Rated: M
Players: 1-2 (2-16 Online)
Cost: $59.99
Release Date: 07/07/2008
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Epic Games

“Inadvertently took a rocket to the face”

Unreal Tournament 3 is one of the most exhilarating First Person Shooters out right now. Filled with awesome weapons, great graphics, well-designed maps, and cool vehicles, this monster should be bought by anyone interested in shooting something!

Now I will admit that Unreal Tournament 3 was launched on the PC and PS3 first and it was a long wait for the 360 version. However, the Xbox 360 version stands up to its counterparts (only being over taken by the PC’s version). Not only does it play better on the 360 than the PS3, it has more features than the PC iteration. The main reason, other than better controls, that the PC’s UT3 stands out is because of user created content. Other than that, the Xbox 360 is the way to go.

As soon as I popped in UT3, I was hooked. Bullets, rockets, vehicles, explosions, and bloody bits of my enemies quickly filled the screen. UT3 successfully recaptures the essence of fast-pace FPS action, all while adding something new to the pot. In the Xbox 360 version, we are given the option of playing with a friend online via splitscreen. This might not sound all that great to some people. When it comes to me, I like to be able to bring my friends along for the ride. It sucks to hang out with a buddy only to watch him play an awesome game. Now you can sign in as a guest and frag alongside your friends. To compete with the PC’s user created content, the 360 also got five new maps and two exclusive playable characters. This is accompanied by all of UT3’s previously released downloadable content, making the 360 version the best when it comes to extra content (at least for right now).

The last addition to the madness is the inclusion of a campaign, of which I have very mixed feelings about. On one hand, you and three other friends can cooperatively take on the campaign. This includes you spiltscreeners. This is always a plus in my book. On the other hand, the campaign is nothing more than multiplayer mode with bots (and maybe a little story sprinkled in for flavor). It really should be called practice, as that’s all you will be doing. To make things worse, the bots on your team seem to be effected by broken AI. At times they can be really smart and at other times, totally screwed up. All the bots insist on grabbing the flag in the Capture-the-Flag levels, but when it’s time to take it back to our base they just stand there. Or, they run in the wrong direction, giving the opposing team a chance to retake their flag. I even had one bot, after I had stolen the flag, block the exit I was trying to escape from. The only reason I got out was because he inadvertently took a rocket to the face. I know you can give orders to your computer controlled brethren, I just wish they listened more often. And last time I checked, “get the heck out of my way” wasn’t programmed into the game.

Aside from the campaign issues, UT3 is a stand up title. All of UT3’s versions come with great maps, cool character designs and fun multiplayer options. Speaking of multiplayer options, one of my favorites is the Warfare mode. The rules are simple. Two teams must try to destroy each other’s Generator (or main node). In order to do this, a team must capture all the linked nodes between their base and their enemy’s. There are a few ways you can capture a node, one being just to walk up to an uncontested one. Within a few seconds, the node will change to your teams color. At this point the node is powered up and in cased with protective plates. In order for an opposing team to steal the node, they must destroy these plates. Another way to capture a node is by using your team’s orbs. They are powerful balls of energy that have the ability to take over a node just be touching it’s power source. Only one spawns at a time and can’t be carried in a vehicle. If you spot another teams orb that was dropped on the ground, you can opt to destroy (killing yourself in the process). You can see how this can create a tug-of-war like feeling as gamers battle each other for the nodes. Adding to the madness are secondary (or unlinked) nodes. These nodes don’t have to be captured in order to attack an opposing team’s Generator. However, they can help you win the match by giving your team access to special vehicles. Some even change the landscape (like dropping a bridge) allowing easy access an enemy’s base. With these cool mechanics in place, Warfare can be one of the most rewarding (if not frustrating) Unreal modes to date.

The bottom line, Unreal Tournament 3 is a blast to play on the Xbox 360. Featuring great controls, extra content, and even a sneak peak at Gears of War 2, what more can you ask for. I even left out some features in order to surprise newcomers. You really should check this game out. It’s not often I can find a FPS that can be dominated by strategy (like in Call of Duty) or produce gamers skilled enough to lay waste to a whole team by themselves (like in Halo). I will say that it’s hard to find matches online that aren’t filled with bots, lag free servers, or people wanting to play the campaign. However, these annoyances certainly won’t break the game. Unreal Tournament 3 is a must buy for FPS fans-period!

Gameplay: 10
It’s just that much fun!

Graphics: 9
You have to view this baby in action.

Sound: 10
The announcer doesn’t get on my nerves. Loud booms and splats are more satisfying because of UT3’s great sound capabilities.  

What’s New: 6
The campaign hurts as much as it helps this section. As it stands, UT3 doesn’t reinvent the FPS wheel, but it does add new content with the 360 version.

Replay Value: 9
There is a lot to do here. Through in the fact that gamers can add different modifiers to matches and you can see why UT3 doesn’t get old. All we need are new maps from time to time and gamers might not ever put this game down.

Final Score:

8.8