Review by pro_gamer666

Reviewed: 08/11/08

Epic's popular twitch shooter finally makes it's way to the Xbox 360, but is it worth your $60?

Unreal Tournament III was originally released in the fall of last year for the PC and PS3. Now, UT3 graces the Xbox 360 with its fast and furious gameplay, but is it worth shelling out $60 dollars for? UT3 for Xbox 360 comes with all the downloadable content available for the PS3 and PC versions of the game along with 2 new characters, 5 exclusive maps, split-screen multiplayer and Online Co-Op via Xbox Live.

UT3 offers multiple modes and options to choose from when you first boot up the game. You can go through UT3’s rather mediocre single player mode, own or be owned in the Instant Action mode where you make the rules and take on some bots or take the fight online in the fantastic multiplayer mode. The single player mode is mediocre at best and has a laughable story that is really there just to give you an incentive to keep pushing forward. The single player is split up into five main chapters and a tutorial. To be honest though, the entire single player experience feels more like tutorial then an actual campaign. Each chapter starts out with a cutscene and you choosing one of multiple “missions” which are really just multiplayer matches against bots. The single player is rather easy on the standard difficulty settings, but if you are up to the challenge you can try to complete the game on the harder difficulties. The enemy AI isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. Enemies will take cover, but always seem to know exactly where you are. Your partner AI seems to be rather dumb at times. In Capture the Flag for example: your partners will rarely get the flag and even when they do you’ll often see them trying to kill the other team instead of making a run for your own base. Even when they aren’t they will rarely score a point. The single player altogether felt like it was put there just for the sake of having a single player mode, it’s nice, but was it really needed?

Unreal Tournament is a series known for its excellent multiplayer and fast and furious gameplay. UT3 on the 360 is no different. The Xbox 360 version of UT3 includes a split-screen multiplayer mode that is a fantastic addition to the game that works flawlessly and is great when you have a couple of friends over and just want to maim and destroy each other with Rocket Launchers in Morbias Arena. Getting into an online match is simple. Select the multiplayer option in the menu and either choose the “Quick Match” option or “find server”. You can change your search settings to match what you are looking for. You can also host your own matches with your own rules and settings. Once online, depending on the match type, you basically just frag the other team as much as many times as you can till you win. Boasting a ton of maps and multiple game modes ranging from your traditional deathmatch to the new Warfare mode, multiplayer is what really makes UT3 shine.

Unreal Tournament III, like its predecessors, has some very fun and excellent gameplay. Not a whole lot has changed since the last game, it’s still the same fast frag fest that you come to know and love. Classic Unreal Tournament weapons make a return in UT3, from the Bio Rifle to the Rocket Launcher. UT3 also has multiple vehicles that you can utilize on the battlefield. Turning in vehicles is very similar to that of Halo 3; you move your aiming reticule in the direction that you want to go and use the left stick to move in the desired direction. This can be a bit of a pain at times, but after some time you will get used to it. Unlike many FPS’s on the market you do not need to reload, you can carry more than 2 weapons and there are no grenades. Pick up a gun, some ammo and unload. As you pick up ammo it is automatically added to your gun so that it doesn’t slow down the overall pace of the game. Controls are you what you would expect. Shooting is mapped to the right trigger with the alternate fire on the left trigger, jumping to A, and switching weapons is done by either pressing the right bumper to move to the next weapon in your inventory or by holding the left bumper which brings up a weapon wheel which you then select the weapon you want to use via the left stick. UT3’s gameplay is fun for many reasons. One: it’s fast, two: it’s got many weapons and maps, and most important of all it’s fun as hell.

Unreal Tournament III runs on Epic’s excellent Unreal 3 engine. This engine powers many games that boast amazing visuals such as Epic’s own Gears of War and Unreal franchises and the masterpiece that is BioShock. UT3 looks absolutely gorgeous...most of the time. There are times where slowdown rears its ugly head, but this doesn’t really affect the gameplay as it only appears for a very brief moment or two. A lot of the texture work isn’t as great as it could be, but it’s hardly noticeable unless you decide to stop and look at something for a moment which will then be followed up by you getting blown up by a Flak Cannon, not recommended. There isn’t a whole lot to say on the audio side of things. The voice work is good, but cheesy and the music that plays during matches is a bit repetitive, but hardly noticeable as you’ll most likely only be focusing on not getting your head blown off by some guy (or girl) running around with a sniper rifle. One thing that the Xbox 360 version of UT3 doesn’t have that the PS3 and PC versions do is user created mods. This is something that the UT series is also known for and it is extremely disheartening that it didn’t make it into the game.

Unreal Tournament III is a great first-person shooter with a fairly mediocre single player mode, but truly shines when you dive into the robust multiplayer mode that the series is known for. The lack of user mods is really disappointing (we can blame Microsoft for that one), but despite that, Unreal Tournament III is a great game boasting top notch visuals and gameplay and is something any FPS fan should look into getting.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Unreal Tournament III (US, 07/07/08)

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