Unreal Tournament 3
The PlayStation 3 has been blessed over the past year with a handful of great multiplayer games: Warhawk, Call of Duty 4 and Metal Gear Online among the best. Unreal Tournament 3 is very different to these games, even though it isnít exactly original. Its fast paced nature came into fashion with the original Unreal Tournament; although we havenít really seen anything like it for years, especially not on consoles. This aspect manages to make UT3ís gameplay feel fresh, even though the formula is pretty old.
Just like all the other UT games, UT3 is primarily an online experience and thatís where youíll get the most enjoyment. However, this time Epic have decided to add a single player campaign mode, of sorts. You play as a Marcus Fenix look-a-like, on a revenge mission after his colony was destroyed by an evil army of gothic looking creatures known as the Necris. None of this really matters in the grand scheme of things as the only real purpose of the single player is to get you accustomed to the various game modes on offer in the multiplayer. There are no story driven objectives or set piece battles here; this is pretty much a string of games against bots, with infrequent cutscenes tying everything together. Youíd be a fool to skip it altogether though, especially if youíre new to the series. The single player does a great job of teaching you the ropes, and after playing it for a few hours youíll feel prepared to conquer the online side of things.
“The single player does a great job of teaching you the ropes.”Anyone thatís ever played a UT game before will know that the multiplayer is the meat of the game. UT3 remains truthful to the series, sustaining the high octane pace that has become a trademark of the franchise. There are a variety of game modes to choose from, with the self explanatory death match, capture the flag, duel and more, all featured. The big change this time around is that the popular Conquest has been removed and re-placed with Warfare, a combination of Onslaught and Assault, with players needing to capture unlinked nodes in order to destroy the oppositions Power Core. Warfare is by far the best mode in the game, and is brilliant with a full room of people all battling it out over the precious power nodes. However, that doesnít mean you should ignore the other modes all together. Itís best to split your playing time between all of them to keep things fresh. Deathmatch is the most fast, and frantic, so if youíre in the mood for some heart pumping action seek games here. Capture the flag is enjoyable, especially when combined with vehicles in the all new Vehicle CTF.
There are a ton of wacky vehicles in UT3 and each one feels distinctly different from the last. Epic really went crazy with the designs and it truly pays off. The Necris vehicles are spectacular, with the Darkwalker and Scavenger being highlights. They are all very balanced so you wonít feel disadvantaged if youíre fighting on a particular faction. This also complements the excellent map design.
“UT3 remains truthful to the series, sustaining the high octane pace that has become a trademark of the franchise.”There are a lot of levels to choose from - with the enclosed confinements of deathmatch, to the wide open areas in vehicle CTF - all of which look amazing with different environments and weather effects making each one feel new and exciting. Generally the whole game looks exceptional; the Unreal engine really blossoms. Character and weapon designs are highly detailed and youíll often be distracted by some of the graphical polish on the maps with high resolution textures, and great lighting and shadow effects. The only downside is that everything is very dark and gloomy. This is definitely the look they were after -Gears of War was very similar with its colour palette - but itíd be much better with some vibrant colours to bring it to life; not everything has to be beige. Other than that everything looks superb and there are no hiccups in sight, not even the framerate. The only time any slowdown occured was when the action became as frantic as it can get, with tons of characters, explosions and gunfire all happening at the same time. Other than that it has been fine, including online where lag is minimal.
The controls are the one aspect of the game where PC gamers will feel they have the advantage. UT has always been played with a keyboard and mouse; it suits the twitchy way of playing the game. However, there is nothing to worry about because the game plays great on the PS3; the controls feel really intuitive and you can still keep up with the fast-paced action that UT3 offers up. Before now the keyboard and mouse was the only way to play, but the consoles can hack it to; a testament to how much care Epic have put into the PS3 port. So much so that theyíve even allowed keyboard and mouse support for those purists that may not wish to use the PS3 controller. For this, UT3 PS3 could well be considered the platform of choice.
UT3 is an excellent game. With amazing graphics, a steady framerate and keyboard and mouse support, the PS3 version of UT3 is a worthy companion to its PC counterpart. With mods appearing all the time, this is a supreme package and provides some of the greatest online play around. If your PC isnít up to speed you should definitely pick up UT3 on the PS3. Who knows? It may even be the superior version. Something to think about.
Nine out of ten
- The fast and frantic gameplay translates well to the consoles
- Spectacular visuals push the Unreal engine to its limit
- Keyboard and mouse support
- Lackluster single player
- Poor colour palette