Bringing the series back to its roots and moving it in a new direction all at once, Unreal Tournament 3 reintroduces shooter fans to simpler days, where weapons are both inventive and immensely out of this world, and somehow participating cosmic gladiators, who are quite agile, have no problem taking a rocket to the face! In a surprising turn of events, this year’s arrival of Unreal Tournament 3 employs a storyline that finds its way into the campaign mode. It is no longer you and your team battling it out to win a tournament – instead you’re waging war against other factions. As the story goes, your colony’s been attacked by a group of badass called the Necris, and everyone throws a fist at them. With this conflict for superiority, it’s inevitable that a war is going to be waged. What’s amusing is that this war is really organized multiplayer games with bots. Needless to say, all the traditional UT game-types are featured here, from Team Deathmatch to the all new Warfare (which we’ll discuss later).
Epic managed to form quite a story out of the “respawning” concept, by using objects called respawners and how disabling these particular items complete the objective of a match, and you’re getting the congratulatory win in the process. Winning such matches, whether it would be single-player or multiplayer offline and online, are all extremely fun thanks to the classic gameplay. The Unreal series has always been about up-in-your-face combat, and Unreal Tournament 3 is no different. The simple game flow of spawning, picking up weapons and killing people by shooting things in their face is still just as exhilarating as ever. Weapons vary from dual pistols, to rocket launchers and flak cannons (the equivalent of a shotgun with grenade launcher). All weapons have a secondary fire. For example, the secondary function on the rocket launcher lets you load up more than one rocket to fire up to three at once, while the alternate function on the chain-gun shoots out high-powered ammunition.
One of the positive aspects of UT3 is that the game remains balanced despite the massive collection of weaponries. Let’s say you don’t have access to a rocket launcher or something else handy, you’ve still got plenty of options, including a dodge technique and one-hit kill melee weapon that teaches those who under estimate an unarmed soldier. Players can double-jump to reach higher ledges and pick up power-up items along the way. By jumping sideways, players will be able to dodge incoming projectiles though it will give them less vertical height but great lateral movements. Some of the well-known game-types have been removed, but fortunately in their absence the developer has added a cool feature called Warfare. A mixture of Assault and Onslaught, Warfare involves the destruction of the enemy team’s base while defending yours. In order to attack your enemy’s base, your team must connect the nodes on the map by touching them and building them. After the nodes are linked together, you’ll be able to attack your opponent’s Core; blow it up and you’ll win the match.
Returning in this year’s UT3 is two of its classics: Death-match and Capture the flag. Besides the fact that these matches are playable on split-screen, you will be able to ride vehicles as well! It’s nice to know that whatever multiplayer features available offline are provided online. One thing you’ll notice about the UT3’s gameplay is that it didn’t change all that much from its predecessors. It’s running at a slower pace and much simpler than the 2004 version but what you’ve gained the most is brutality, which is what the next generation of Unreal players are looking for. Graphically, Unreal Tournament 3 is impressive. The animation is seamless despite the multiple carnages going at once on the screen. The environments here are surreal, with large war-torn industrial cities that convince players that they are in hostile territories and must keep their guard up at all times. The game uses plenty of special effects to relay a brutal message to stay the hell away from one’s shooting lane or be blown up into smithereens.
In the audio department, sounds effects are amazing, delivering an authentic warfare package, with weapons sending off a merciless hit. The music, on the other hand, is decent but upbeat, keeping the pace of the action relatively high. Some quirks about the Xbox 360 version involve no user-downloadable mods. In the Xbox Live multiplayer, playing split-screen with a guest is allowed, but sometimes both of you end up on opposite teams when you’re trying to pair up! The controls are fine for the most part, and those players familiar with Unreal Tournament should be able to adapt to this game with no problem. Overall, Unreal Tournament 3 is an excellent shooter, maintaining its legacy as one of the best FPS shooters. It’s another job well done by Epic, maker of Gears of War, and there is no doubt it will go down into the history books as another classic FPS title. It’s an “Epic” shooter you don’t want to miss out on.