Unreal Tournament 3
by Gauss

Basic Information:
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Midway
North American Release Date: December 11, 2007
European Release Date: February 22, 2008
Trophies: Yes, Patched.

Unreal Tournament 3 is, funny enough, the 4th game in the Unreal Tournament series. It follows in the footsteps of UT2004 and brings the same fast-paced arcade shooter action series vets have known, but it is wrapped in a simple enough package such that even newcomers should find themselves knee-deep in mayhem in no time.

Unreal Tournament defines the arcade shooter genre, its staple has always been the simplest shooting mechanics wrapped in a package of quick action, over-the-top weaponry, and mighty-fighty vehicles. Unreal Tournament follows this formula in spades, featuring what is still the best gameplay in the shooter genre. The big thing is there is no real learning curve in this game, you got a gun, it has ammo, you shoot it at people. You get hit, grab a health pack. No regenerating health, no grenades, heck... no reloading! Its as simple as shooters get, whats brilliant though is the subtly to the gameplay that makes it so fun to master. This comes from the vehicles, teleporters, and items you can acquire on the map. They introduce fun strategies to traverse your terrain quickly and gain an upper hand on your adversaries.

Of course there are also the weapons! UT has some of the most creative weaponry you will find next to Ratchet and Clank. 3 Barreled Rocket Launcher? Check! Shoulder mounted nuke? You got it. Series staples such as the Shock Rilfe, Bio Gun, and Flak Cannon make an appearance as well. While this fails in the realism department, thats the fun of it. I can unload 50 rockets without reloading in a twirling doom of 3 rockets each, thats the kind of slap-happy fun Arcade shooters should deliver.

The singleplayer campaign for Unreal Tournament 3 is the weakpoint of the game, diverting from the "tournament" concept of the series up to this point... we instead focus on a group of mercenaries on the war-path to hunt down a group of soldiers headed by Akasha, the game's antagonist. While some would ask, does this mean there is a real story? Unfortunately not. The wrapper around the campaign is still pretty shallow, and you will still end up bouncing from arena to arena playing what is essentially multiplayer games with bots.

What is more is this is not really a singleplayer campaign to play in one sitting and without a guide. After each arena you are given the option to chose your next arena, this leads to branch after branch in what could potentially end up being dozens of arenas a chapter. You also will be playing with AI that is very thick, unless you have a friend to co-op or local MP with you will be the only one actually trying to capture the flag or destroying the enemy's base... Unless you play on Insane, in which case the AI will win the battle for you. What ends up happening is the bots are fun, but they are a spectacle more than anything. While this doesn't detract from the overall game, it makes for a singleplayer you have to be in the mood for... That is blasting everything to a pulp.

Multiplayer is the real bread and butter of Unreal Tournament, and to some extent this is what holds singleplayer up because its still the same thing... Essentially you have a set of modes that vary between the usual such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag to the crazy like Warfare where you have to hold a set of points to bring the shield of the enemy base down. What you end up with is a really weird mix of king of the hill and capture and hold.

The big thing with Multiplayer though is that it is gameplay in the raw, there is nothing here in regards to bullshit or hacks, no noob-tubes, no nade-spams. Everybody gets everything from the get go and its all about your specific skillz. Its a mixed bag in terms of what it does for the actual game. You eliminate ranked servers and unlocks, which in turn eliminates alot of people who take the game too seriously, to the point where they will hack and camp and douche the servers up. It is about as level as a playing field can get, on the other hand though there isn't alot to keep you playing beyond your own personal enjoyment.

You do have co-op both local and over the interwebs, which is a real bright spot for this game. The big reason is that destroying bots with your friends is just fun.

Technically Unreal Tournament 3 is a bit above average, but isn't setting any bars. The graphics are good, not great. The map design, which is a big deal for an arcade shooter such as this, has its ups and downs. The one consistency with downs is that UT3 has maps which are just too big... The games on these maps just drag on, with minutes between action and games which can last an upward of 30 minutes.

What is undeniable about Unreal Tournament 3 is that it has tight, intuitive, and responsive controls and great vehicle physics. You won't find yourself spend 3 minutes trying to steer the vehicle, and they never feel stiff (unless its a tank the size of a house). What should also be mentioned is that, like the PC version, the PS3 supports mods and currently has a free map and expansion pack. Its a nice expansion to gameplay.

The trophies for Unreal Tournament 3 are both time consuming and difficult. This is not a Platinum for the weak willed, nor is it a Platinum you can get from a weekend rental. On the positive side though, to the perspective trophy hunter, this game is dirt cheap.

Gameplay: 10/10
- Unreal Tournament 3 is still the pinnacle of Arcade Shooters in terms of gameplay.

Singleplayer: 6.5/10
- The singleplayer campaign is really just the multiplayer with bots, tied together with a loose story. Its fun, but that has nothing to do with the SP's package.

Multiplayer: 8/10
- Package the fast paced gameplay in a simple, yet addictive MP. Throw in some co-op, and you have a wonderful MP mode. There are no unlockables and there is no progression, which is a mixed blessing.

Technical: 8/10
- UT3 is a great looking game, vehicles are fun, and the controls are wonderful. Only problem is the maps are very hit-and-miss in terms of quality.

Overall: 8/10
- Unreal Tournament 3 is still the king of Arcade shooters and this is undisputed in my eyes. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced shooter without alot of strings attached like MP ranking and other bullshit. Only problem is this is not a game those die-hard Tactical shooter fans will flock to, and this game is not good enough for me to recommend to people who aren't fans of shooters.