Written on: 21/09/2010 by themaninthevan2001 (121 reviews written)
Its sad to see Unreal Tournament 3 getting little attention on Xbox 360. Developers Epic even ironically stamped "From the studio that brought you Gears Of War" as a last ditch effort for their once highly acclaimed online FPS series to sell as it disappears into obscurity. Which is a darn shame because this is pretty much going to be the only time console gamers will ever experience Unreal Tournament for what it's famous for, online play..
But to bring people up to speed, Unreal Tournament is a fast paced arena shooter that expanded on the existing multiplayer modes from it's predecessor, Unreal. It was synominus with PC gamers thanks to having a balanced set of weapons with the usual rocket launchers, miniguns and snipers. It also introduced gamers to original weapons like the biogun - a weapon that shoots blobs of exploding slime and the redeemer - a mini nuke which obliterates all in it's path.
The Unreal games are also known thanks to alternate fire which turned guns like the flak cannon, a shotgun like weapon, into a grenade launcher as it fires explosive balls that scatter on contact. Unreal Tournament had a real savvy attitude with a whole series of taunts and gestures you could perform. And who could forget the booming voice of the announcer as it proudly shouts "Double kill Multi-Kill Ultra Kill" as you mow down your enemies. It is also thanks to some great levels such as Deck and Facing Worlds (both of which have been remade on UT3) that Unreal Tournament was able to captivate gamers for so long.
Although while Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004 managed to further improve the original Unreal Tournament's gameplay by introducing the likes of bombing run and a fully fledged career mode, UT3 instead tends to take a step back. UT3 balances out the core UT modes rather than introduce new FPS gameplay concepts. So gone are the old Assault and Domination modes of previous Unreal Tournament games and in are much improved versions of Warfare and Capture the flag.
In too though is the new and improved Unreal 3 engine and it looks fantastic, with more detail and special effects in an Unreal game than ever before, shown to great effect in the varied character and arena designs. All this adds up to one of the most refined experiences on Xbox 360. There are dozens of levels to play, including a good mixture of small, medium or large sized stages. There is now a cinematic single player or co-operative campaign mode and far more vehicles to interact with.
During campaign mode you'll get a load of UT3's action on offer with Warefare, a streamlined version of something similar to EA's Battlefield. The only difference is that you need to destroy a core with all points captured rather than deplete enemy troops. With UT 3 Warfare, originally known as Onslaught, has been improved with the inclusion of Strategic nodes that have to be taken in order to have the upper hand in each round. UT3 has more vehicles to ride than in the previous Unreal games and there is almost a different set of vehicles for each team in the game.
Vehicles like the Manta, Raptor, Cicada, Paladin and SPMA return. The Scorpion buggy and Goliath Tank have also been improved by having different weapons to use and being easier to drive as well. The Necris vehicles are especially eyebrow raising, especially with vehicles like the Darkwalker, a tripod, laser beam firing machine a lot like something from an old 50s horror movie. You also have the ability to ride a hoverboard. With a push of X you drop onto this high speed gizmo as if it were Back to the future 2 and it proves very useful during Capture the flag games with a quick get-a-way. But unsurprisingly you can get knocked off as easily as you can jump onto the hoverboard as a few shots from the enemy can knock you to the ground.
The camapign mode is split into five chapters. It focuses on Ronin leader, Reaper, as him and his squad push through the frontlines with the help of legendary tournament champion, Malcom. However Reaper's real goal is vengeance as he hopes to defeat the Necris leader Akasha who is responsible for destroying his home. UT3's story is nothing real fancy and isn't quite fleshed out enough to make you care about Reaper or his squad mates. It is short too.
Yet, granted you play Xbox live often, the online play will do well to appease you from stopping play after you've finished UT3's campaign mode. It is extremely addictive, and you'll find yourself moving along with the fast paced techno soundtrack of the game with each kill you gain and upgrade you find. Like with Gears of War 2, online play is the best way to obtain your achievements as well. Thankfully there are a tons of servers still playing on UT3 but the lack of user content or gameplay mutators makes the game a little less interesting to play online.
Players of the PS3 UT3 have it better though because of user-made content. However, the 360 UT3 also lacks the in-game message system, character customisation and keyboard & mouse support similarly found on the PS3 and PC versions of UT3 alike. Like said earlier , it's a shame to see no bombing run, domination or Assault maps on this game. There are also omissions of the lightning gun, ripper and spider mines found in previous Unreal games.
However the execution of the thrilling madness of warfare and vehicle CTF are still Unreal worthy landmarks to the series and the typical Deathmatch and team death match modes are just as entertaining as they were to begin with as many killing sprees, road kills, headshots and random bits of gore flying across the screen with a controller than on a keyboard & Mouse. With as high quality graphics, sound and gameplay as well, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day. The console gamers finally get the Unreal experience they were dreaming of and should make a great alternative in-between sessions of Gears of War, Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3.