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Unreal Tournament 3 (Xbox 360) artwork

Unreal Tournament 3 (Xbox 360) review


"The Deathmatch (every-man-for-himself) and Team Deathmatch (every man on blue against everyman on red) modes still shine as UT’s greatest achievements. Space stations and other similarly futuristic locales dominate the bulk of the maps, but there are some cool departures, such as the Japanese temple-themed map, and my personal favourite: which situates the carnage in a courtyard at the foot of buildings that have seen better days. UT fans will also be pleased with the inclusion of at least one zero gravity map, where combatants can play as murderous astronauts, bouncing from rooftop-to-rooftop, raining rocket-fire like some fiery future-world precipitation."



Unreal Tournament is still my favourite FPS game. Unreal Tournament III is a worthy follow-up, all these years later, making use of the great strides which have come in gaming technology. The developers do give us a story, a war to follow, but nothing so compelling as can be found in the Halo or Half-Life games. Make no mistake about it: the UT games are about extremely frenetic, pulse-pounding Deathmatches. UTIII succeeds as a sort of re-imagining of the now aged and venerable classic, for this newer generation of gamers who might have missed it the first time around. But, realistically, it pains me to admit that as a sequel, it does precious little to advance the franchise.

The Deathmatch (every-man-for-himself) and Team Deathmatch (every man on blue against every man on red) modes still shine as UT’s greatest achievements. Space stations and other similarly futuristic locales dominate the bulk of the maps, but there are some cool departures, such as the Japanese temple-themed map, and my personal favourite: which situates the carnage in a courtyard at the foot of buildings that have seen better days. UT fans will also be pleased with the inclusion of at least one zero gravity map, where combatants can play as murderous astronauts, bouncing from rooftop-to-rooftop, raining rocket-fire like some fiery future-world precipitation.

From rocket launchers to Flak Cannons – all the weapons which made the original game so memorable are back, and newly designed, at least from a cosmetic standpoint. There are no duds in this arsenal, which helps account for the magical balancing act the game manages. The option to select between primary and secondary fire buttons on each weapon still effects vastly differing results – the Flak cannon can spray molten, ricocheting pellets; or else lob single projectile, full-bore destruction. The choice is yours.

Beyond letting loose with UT’s inimitable cache of weaponry in the Deathmatch modes, Capture the Flag makes a welcome return as well, in case you grow weary of the mindless killing (it happens) and fancy a bit of killing with an objective tied to it. In any case, every one of the play modes is good fun with a friend in split-screen, or with folks online, and they all act as suitably engaging stress-releasers in one-player mode.

Where UTIII struggles is in its campaign mode, where it tries to tell its rather pedestrian war story and has you trying to complete decidedly convoluted plans of action in order to emerge victorious and move on to the next mission. Disappointing too, was the inclusion of a ‘jive-talking’ black character, who interacts with your main character enough that his ridiculous and overplayed ‘ghetto-speak’ is downright distracting.

But as those are the only real negatives I can put my finger on, Unreal Tournament III still earns an easy recommendation from me. Don’t expect it to push the boundaries of FPS shooting, or even the boundaries of the pre-established Unreal Tournament convention – it’s really more of the same from the Unreal team. Fortunately, UT's brand of frenzied mass homicide is unique and compelling, so that more of the same is more than welcome.

Rating: 8/10

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Staff review by Marc Golding (October 31, 2008)

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