Review by Orangio

"Orangio proudly proclaims UT2K4 his official favorite online game."

Unreal Tournament, the king of fragfest FPSes. The premise of the game is simple. You've entered a tournament in the distant future and compete for the Unreal championship by using a variety of weapons and tactical maneuvers to lay the smackdown on your opponents.

Graphics: If you can take time off of blasting people with the Flak Cannon to look at the graphics, you'll be blown away.

Seriously. With all aspects of graphical power at MINIMUM strength, you'll have a decent-looking game. With all aspects of graphical power at highest quality, you'll be massively impressed with what your computer is capable of. (It might slow down your game though, so you'll need a really good computer.) The weapons, the character models, the textures, the particle effects... all bold, colorful and realistic. Look closely at the grass in the ONS-Torlan map, and there are ANTS WALKING ON THE GROUND.

This may sound sick, but the graphics make blowing people to smithereens more satisfying then ever. Luckily, the remarkably anticipatory dudes who made this game included a gore setting so you can turn off the blood and maiming effects if you're not into that sort of thing :]

Sound: The part that keeps this game from scoring a perfect 10.

Sure, the music in this game gets your adrenaline pumping and adds to the urgency of the task at hand. However, I'm sure better, less obnoxious melodies could have been composed for this purpose. The sound quality itself is grand, it's the songs and instruments themselves that grate one's eardrums. The voice acting is cool, but computer players tend to repeat the same lines over and over, making the experience more repetitive and bland. Except the announcer of course, he's awesome. "HEADSHOT!!!" The weapons make cool and fitting noises, but they're nowhere near as memorable as say, the shotgun in Doom, or the announcer in this very game.

Gameplay: More... need more souls!!!

This game will leave you wanting more, and not in the disappointing way. Single-player is lacking but a nice diversion, and of course multiplayer is where it really shines. Sure, it's a blast to face groups of enemy bots, but it's even more fun to confront real people with real tactics online. There are many different modes of play from the standard fragilicious Deathmatch to the pleasantly frightening Invasion to the wildly action-packed and strategic Onslaught, in which you aim to destroy the opposing team's base by establishing a link from your base to several smaller bases in the center of the map to their base. UT2K54 has dozens of mutators, maps, and skins (and allows players to create their own, so you can download stuff other people create, massively increasing replay value), but a limited selection of weapons. However, the weapons are different and unique enough to offset the small arsenal. In addition, Onslaught mode allows players to drive military vehicles, including the Raptor (a high-flying airplane that not only gets itself into cinematic situations but is also strategically solid), the Hellbender (a large four-wheeled vehicle that can hold two passengers who control the mounted guns) and the Manta (a small, fragile and speedy craft that is rather useful for its ability to transport players who stand on its wings). This game's replay value and constant rush of action make it an extremely enjoyable gaming experience. Plus, the online community is generally one of the nicest I've seen.

The controls are simple and customizable, there's absolutely nothing daunting about them and you'll become accustomed in no time. Navigating through the game's initially intimidating array of options is also not as troublesome a task as it might seem. UT2K4 is easy to play, but hard to master.

Atmosphere: Apocalypse Wow

The storyline in single-player is basic and uninteresting. It's just like any other Unreal Tournament game: you're competing in the tournament. Big whoop. However, the sheer tone of playing this game offsets the poor plot. When you plant yourself into an Onslaught game, you'll be so immersed in the flying bullets, charging vehicles, tactics you form on the spot with fellow soliders... you can't help but feel like you're actually in the middle of a war. Playing a few waves of Invasion will get your heart pumping. It's probably the scariest mode, waves of aliens invade the map and you must team up with other players to fight them off. Deathmatches and the like are extremely suspenseful. Unreal Tournament is just so immersive and deep. Even Capture the Flag, a mode I don't typically like to play in FPSes, is bearable in UT2K4 simply because of the rush I get from this game that I don't get from others.

Recommendation

Orangio says: BUY. UT2K4 has LOADS of replay value and customization possibilities, and it does a spectacular job of making you feel like you're in the game. Indeed, in the battle to the death among competing online FPSes, Unreal Tournament 2004 is UNSTOPPABLE!!!!!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/04


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