Review by Wretch

"Now this is what you call exciting!"

Unreal Tournament 2004 is simply one of the best shooters I've seen in a while. Got that?

Graphics

Unfortunately, my computer can't do this game justice in the graphics department. Its a year or two old (I forget exactly) and technology advances too fast to keep up with it. But even with the graphics toned down the game still looks awesome. The models are detail-rich and so is the terrain. The guns look great and you always get that nice pleasure of seeing that Flak cannon in the corner of your screen. The lighting is excellent and at the highest resolution, the game is crisp, clear, and beautiful.

Performance

It really surprised me that my computer could run this. With a standard, modest machine, the game runs very smoothly online (better have broadband.) The bot matches don't seem to go as well, but it is still playable. Of course, if you have a high-end computer, crank those graphics up and don't care about what I just said. Just watch out for those 5.5 gigabytes of hard drive space.

Sound

I usually don't pay too much attention to sound in games. This game has some good sounds in it, but I really like the adrenaline pumping music.

Gameplay

This is what we've all been waiting for; the meat of the game! The typical hard-to-notice gameplay tweaks have been made but what really catches everyones attention are the two major new game modes, Assault and Onslaught. Well actually, Assault is back from the dead after its absence in UT 2003. While there are only six assault maps, they are by far the most detailed and in-depth maps. The maps range from a fun but difficult space assault level on a mothership to a battle on a moving convoy. It is extremely popular at the moment. But its Onslaught that takes the crown here. This brand new game mode will remind you of Battlefield 1942 shot up with some adrenaline and over the top action. And yes, it involves a variety of vehicles, 6 to be exact. There are many interesting design twists that help make the mode great. For one, the action is focused and defined. You must build a series of power nodes to directly link your base to the enemy base. Once you've done that you must destroy the enemy base. Powernodes cannot be attacked unless you have a link to them. Spawned enemy vehicles are locked until an enemy enters one of them. There are nine varied Onslaught maps in all. No wonder it is the most popular game mode online.

The vehicles are a big part of the excitement. They range from a rugged jump to a hovercraft to a massive tank, and don't forget about the aerial Raptor either. The vehicles may seem to dominate the field at first, but you'll soon find the game's new weapons showing their power. Four of the weapons are oriented toward Onslaught play. The fifth one is a somewhat toned down version of the classic sniper rifle. Its still an extremely useful sniping weapon, obviously. The target painter functions just like the Ion Painter, except it lays down a linear series of bombs dropped by the pheonix. And yes, it is classified as a super weapon. The other three are very interesting as well. The mine layer lays down a devestating field of spider mines. The Grenade launcher is the perfect trap setter and close-range vehicle combat weapon, and the AVRiL singlehandedly balances the people hoofing it with those in vehicles.

The game has over 100 maps, including those from UT 2003. There are also many classic mutators to choose from.

Buy or Rent:
Buy. I don't care what you say, this game is awesome.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/04


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