Unreal Tournament 2004 (PC) review
"The adrenaline pumps through your veins as you make your way through the damp cement hallway alongside 5 other burly, grungy, generally unpleasant looking folk. If you met them on the street you'd probably tuck your valuables a little further into your pockets, but here they are your team and before you lies the field. The din of thousands of screaming fans beckons you onward. You are Michael Jordan, or Barry Sanders. And you have a rocket launcher. "
The adrenaline pumps through your veins as you make your way through the damp cement hallway alongside 5 other burly, grungy, generally unpleasant looking folk. If you met them on the street you'd probably tuck your valuables a little further into your pockets, but here they are your team and before you lies the field. The din of thousands of screaming fans beckons you onward. You are Michael Jordan, or Barry Sanders. And you have a rocket launcher.
Of course, the stomping grounds of the modern world's most popular competitive sport transcend mere 'fields', and generally are more akin to ruined buildings, or the insides of delicate fusion power plants. Derelict wastelands full of twisted metal stand next to pristine forest scenery as arenas chosen for the tournament. There are low gravity environments to satisfy extreme sports enthusiasts. Sometimes the arenas have objective based play, providing those seeking a more coordinated method to their mayhem an experience that they can enjoy. Sometimes, the enemy's flag is your only goal. We aren't picky. All are beautifully designed and cleverly laid out, providing nearly endless breathtaking scenery. In the end, though, it doesn't change the basic rules of the game. Kill everyone that isn't helping you kill everyone.
The good fans who fill the stands at this one of a kind spectacle provide a sufficient flow of money to make sure that the tournament technology far outpaces even military hardware. New entries will find that adapting to the rules and weaponry used in the game is easy. Anyone who has fired a weapon before will be able to utilize any of the nearly 20 weapons with little fuss. Over the years, we have adapted the arenas and mechanics to near perfection. Jumping, dodging and returning fire is smooth and effortless. Sports are only for fun, but in the competitive world of arena deathmatch, a player is only as good as his equipment. Opponents melt just the same under acid or plasma, but having both couldn't hurt. There's no harm to firepower, after all. That's probably the reason some of the funds have even been put towards a fly by wire thermonuclear missile launcher.
New to the tournament this year is vehicle based play. The previous tournament has yielded sufficient profit to allow for military surplus to be acquired. Everything from tanks to aircraft to small space fighters will be appearing in matches for the new season, lending firepower that infantry weapons cannot. All have been placed in newly acquired levels with objective based play where the goal is to create a link to the opposing team's base, and then destroying their power core. This new dimension of gameplay adds a spark of new life to an already outstanding game. Anything for the fans.
As if that weren't enough, the tournament includes amazingly flexible rule sets, allowing for players to subject themselves to any number of interesting twists. Is a ground game too mundane? Lower the gravity and soar through the air, raining fire upon opponents. Enter combat with high powered weapons that will destroy targets with a single well placed shot. The options are as bottomless as the clip for your shield gun, ensuring nary a dull moment from the beginning to the end.
Tournament hopefuls need little but quick reflexes, quicker trigger fingers, and the will to survive. The game provides everything that could be reasonably desired in a modern sport. Make no mistake, the arena is no place for second thoughts or second guesses. Kill or be killed. The fans demand it.
Community review by dragoon_of_infinity (November 11, 2005)
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