Review by WonderCaliban
Pretty, but dull.
Many years ago I sat round a friends house with 3 other people and played Deathmatch on GoldenEye for hours on end, then came Perfect Dark and GoldenEye became less exciting in the face of a more evolved game. Then came Timesplitters, that replaced Perfect Dark, the cycle continued as games with a multi-player shooting games became better and more refined and the older games were no longer as satisfying.
Unfortunatly for UT3 it is 8 years too late, this type of quick run and gun gameplay just doesn't cut it anymore. This just isn't a very interesting game. Sure it's fast, but it takes so little skill to kill an opponent and death is so cheap that there is no real pleasure in playing. Rather than having a finely balanced weapon set, its the same pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher selection and you can carry every weapon available.
Visually it is one of the most stunning games around, highly polished and gorgeous. But these pretty graphics don't really hide old ideas and gameplay. There a a few nice features including hoverboards and teleporters to move around, but these do little to spice things up.
The single player is a poor excuse, rather than use the engine to come up with a decent campaign you just participate in some set challenges (capture the flag, deathmatch etc). Which is criminal as the single player could have been something special, but just using MP challenges with a poor excuse for a story is cheap. And as for the story, well, there isn't one, the gorgeous cutscenes just explain some flimsy (and ridiculous) reasons why capture the flag is an essential military victory crucial to the war effort, but there is no real story.
You can however set up matches with computer controlled bots, which is good as I suspect that after the initial release the online community will wither away. So at least in a years time this game will still be playable.
Not that this game is terrible, it is initially very exciting, but after a few hours of playing its just dull and with better MP games available on the XBOX this will not last long. Unless you really want to play old style deathmatch like you did years ago then this is best left alone. If you came to online multiplayer games in the last few years and have play Halo, COD4, R6V and Battlefield then this will probably seem like a very good looking but boring game.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Unreal Tournament III (EU, 07/04/08)
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