Review by keniethchangith

"Fun for a while"

When I first purchased my PS2, one of the first games I purchased is Unreal Tournament. Why? It is because I like first person shooters, and that game is a hit on the PC.

The Story. (NA)

The story is not very important to the game. Apparently you are some convict/criminal forced to battle in arenas equipped with camera for the galaxy wide audience. The only way you can earn your freedom is to fight your way out of the gladiator sports. Not too interesting or original, but like I said before, the story is not important in this game. In fact it is not mention anywhere in the game. I only knew the basic story by looking at the back cover of the game.

The Gameplay (8/10)

The controls are not terribly hard to learn or use. Basically you have the shoulder buttons for shooting, jumping and crouching. You can forget about the D-pad, then you have the circle, square, and triangle and cross buttons to change your weapons and look at the kill scores. This leaves you with the two analogue sticks. To move around, you use right stick to change direction and the left stick to move forward. To sidestep, just push left and right with the left stick. The controls are designed to make movement easier. The analogue controls are the reverse of Red Faction. Aiming left and right is easy; but I find problems shooting anything not ground level. It is difficult to aim with any precision using the analogue sticks. There are not many times when you have to pitch your gun up and down, but you will notice this problem when you are trying to use the sniper rifle. This is a problem probably due to the PS2 controller design. It is possible to get precise aiming, but that is going to take a lot of practice. In other words, the controller will never be good as the mouse and keyboard.

The game also supports some USB mice and keyboard. I’m not even sure if all USB mice and keyboards are compatible with the console, but it would be good if you managed to get it working.

However for some weapons the developers tried to compensate that by automatically aiming the gun for you. This may seem weird when you saw your plasma pulse rifle bullets flying straight towards the enemy even though your aim is way off. Some skilled players will be annoyed at the fact that there is no way to turn this feature off.

To assist you with the killing, you have a large armory of guns to play around with. The great thing is that the developers kept all ten weapons from the PC version. Even better, each of the guns still kept their secondary fire mode. For example, the chaingun on primary fires more accurately and slower than the secondary fire. The rocket launcher (my favourite) will fire missiles on primary, but on secondary, the rockets instead are thrown like grenades. All the weapons are completely different from each other, and each has its own weakness and strengths. For example, the Flak cannon is the shotgun of the game, and it tears enemy to shreds short range. But at long range, the damage is pathetic. You wouldn’t get bored of the guns you have at your disposal.

There is also a wide range of items to pick up besides the guns. There is the usual health packs, and body armour. However the developers added in a few new items. There is the highly annoying camouflage pickup, which turns you almost invisible. Even deadlier, you can get your hands on a damage power up, which makes all your guns four times as powerful. The items make the already hectic battles of unreal tournament more interesting.

All of the battles are fought in large, and well-designed areas. Each of the areas has hidden areas where you can find special power ups, and maybe even a redeemer (a miniature nuclear missile launcher which kills in one hit). Also the developers made each of the arenas original and quite different to each other. If you are only playing by yourself, you have fifty of them to run around in. They are rich in variety and include arenas that are set in a canyon in a middle of a jungle and the ones that are set in a space ships. But it is unfortunate that if you chose to play with your friends you can only play with less than one quarter of what you can choose for single player.

Then we get to the game modes. Unreal tournament offers four gaming modes.

First, we have the deathmatch mode. You all probably have heard of this. Anyway, you are placed with four or more other guys in the arena, then you all run around kill each other until a person reaches a certain kill score. Then he wins. Then you play for the next round.

Second on the list you have is Capture the flag. The object is to capture the opposing flag and bring it to your base, while ideally protecting your own. The first team to reach the required points will win. Sounds easy? Nope! The battles can be long and drawn out, especially if there are good players on both sides.

Then you have Domination. Similar to capture the flag, but you and your team will have to try and capture those ‘control points.’ To gain control, just simply walk into it. The longer time your team controls the areas the more points added to your team score. Ideally your team should be trying to prevent the computer opponents from gaining control of those points. As soon your team total reaches a certain score, there will be victory for you.

The last mode, and my personal favourite is Assault. Basically, you get one team trying to reach a certain point or to destroy something. Then you have the defending team, who will obviously try to prevent them from reaching their mission objective. The assault team must fight through the defenders and find ways to clear the path to their target, within a time limit. Then after the match, the teams switch sides. If you managed to lead your attack team to a quick victory, the team defending before will have less time to fight past your team. It is quite disappointing that this mode is not accessible in multiplay mode.

Now we get to the computer-controlled bots. Their difficulty can be adjusted before every game. The developers obviously put some time into making the waypoints. I did not see any bots crash into the walls and they do not have any trouble walking up the stairs. There are four difficulty modes to select. The difficulty ranges from easy to inhuman. On easy difficulty setting, the bots are pathetically stupid and slow. On inhuman difficulty, the bots move fast constantly. Their aim is pretty decent as well. The bots on inhuman difficulty offers a decent challenge.

On the main menu, there are three possible gaming modes you can select. There is the single player, multiplay, and practice.

The objective of the single player mode is to earn each of the four cups from different battling modes. First you only have the deathmatch to play in. Then as you go through it and unlock new levels, you will find that you will also unlock a new league. As you complete each one, you will get a cutscenes, showing all your trophies. But you will be only playing single player to unlock some new skins and a whole lot of arenas to fight in. There is also an extra battling mode, which is called Champions. In this mode you will fight one on one with a supposed champion or elite fighter, in the specially designed arenas.

Then you have the practice mode. You can play all the arenas that you have unlocked in single player with the bots. Not much else to comment here.

Finally you have the multiplay mode. Get you and other three mates and battle in Deathmatch and Capture the Flag with split screen. Multiplay is highly entertaining, but unfortunately the game suffers from a few graphical issues which will be discussed later.

Presentation (manual, menu system, text) (9/10)

The game comes with a PS2 CD-rom (which is becoming increasingly rare) and a black and white manual.

The manual explains the basics and the features of the game well and gives a sufficient description of each gun. Not much else to say here.

The menu is clear and simple to navigate through. The loading time for the menu is unnoticeable. The menu can be accessed while playing the game. In the game, there are options to quit, change the controller configuration, and to resume game.

Graphics and sound (6/10)

This is when Unreal Tournament runs into some trouble. The game is a lower resolution than the PC version and that means less viewing space. This isn’t so bad in single player mode where you still get a decent line of sight. But in multiplay, when the screen is divided up into sections, the each player will suffer from a restricted viewing space. This is especially true if you are playing three or four players, when the TV screen is divided up into four sections.

The weapons that your character holds are detailed and don’t look too bad, although a bit big. The explosions look sweet and the sight of body pieces flying around after your direct rocket hit is immensely satisfying

The character models move quick and fluidly, although they are slightly burry. Because of the poorer graphics for the character models, it will be difficult to see your opponents in the distance. This can annoy especially in multiplay where you already have to contend with a smaller viewing space.

The environment is fortunately smoother and detailed than the character models, although they won’t amaze anyone.

Sound effects for the weapons are done well and sounds realistic. The sounds of people taunting and screaming when they die enhanced the atmosphere the battle, although I have problems understanding the taunts.

The music is nice to play along, although you won’t be paying much attention to it. They range from military style to orchestrate.

Long term appeal (5/10)

During the first few days, the game will be a blast to play. But after those days, you will be bored quickly.

The PC version offers hundreds of maps and moods to download. But unfortunately, on the PS2 version you’re only stuck with four modes, with three of them accessible for multiplay.

Single player mode will soon become boring. First there will be a deathmatch mode. To gain the cup for it, finish fifteen levels of it. Then you have domination mode. Finish another fifteen levels. Repeat for capture the flag. See? A lot of repetition eh?

This problem is avoided when you have your friends coming over all the time. But it will not be the case for everyone. Also even with your friends it can become repetitive.

Conclusion

The only advantage of the PS2 version to the PC version is that the game doesn’t require an Internet connection for multiplay. Unfortunately there is not much after that. The game graphics are worse, and since that there is no downloads available, you wont be playing it regularly.

However, the game is great if you have friends coming over.

Rent or buy

I say rent first, and see what is the game like. Play it for a few days and see what you think of it after. If you really like the gameplay and the gaming modes, maybe buying is a good option. But at the end of the few day periods, you find yourself getting a little tired of the game; you should just rent the game, and not purchase it.

Game Rating (not average): 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/03, Updated 01/08/03


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