Unreal Tournament 3 Review

The Unreal games have always had a strong following on PCs, but the console efforts to date have been rather lackluster. Unreal Tournament III (UT3) aims to change all that and in fact has a pretty good chance to do so.

Unreal Tournament has always been about the online play, but UT3 actually comes with a single player campaign complete with a storyline. Granted, the story is groan-inducingly cheesy, especially when it tries to explain the existence of things like spawn points, but it the single player campaign is a definite step above the usual offline battles versus AI bots. Well, it's a small step, but a step nonetheless. Are all of the battles are played as matches against bots, but what it lacks in challenge it makes up for in training as it makes for a good way to learn all of the maps and game types before hopping online against real competition.

If you've played an Unreal game on the PC before then you know that the franchise is known for its fast-paced and frantic action well-suited for deathmatch play. UT3 continues this tradition in that the game continues to be very fast-paced; everything just seems to move faster in this game than in other online shooters, and things like hoverboards and personal transporters really send the action into overdrive. While the game's deathmatches are great for fans of fragfests, there are other game modes available and they're pretty much all enjoyable. Capture the flag will be familiar to all shooter fans, but the duel and warfare modes are new experiences. Duel is a series of one-on-one matches in which the winner earns the right to take on the next spectator in the queue. This mode is more enjoyable when it is played with a group of friends than it is when played with strangers, but it is a good way to observe other players' strategies and potentially pick up a few new techniques that you can use yourself. Warfare mode has two teams battling for control of power nodes. Controlling the nodes makes the enemy team's base's power core vulnerable to attack, and taking out the enemy's core will win the game for your side. Auxillary nodes are also present, and controlling one of these will provide your team with some sort of bonus such as control of a powerful weapons emplacement. This mode is enjoyable, although it does require more teamwork than most UT players are probably used to.

I've played plenty of PC to console ports that took a mojor hit to thei graphics during translation - games that looked good on a PC but grainy and clunky on a console. This is not the case with UT3, though. The visuals are sharp, and the animation is smooth and fast. Maps are packed with visual details, and the weapons effects are really well done.

If you're looking for a fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable online shooter, then you'll find UT3 to be among the best that the Xbox 360 has to offer. If you don't like playing online, though, there are better first person shooter experiences for solo play out there.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 86%. A fun-filled, fast-paced, frag fest.


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