GameBlitz

UNREAL TOURNAMENT


Unreal DM across vast levels

By WILL BARKER

If there’s one thing to look forward to in the new year, apart from microwaves being able to iron your clothes, it would have to the be abundance of classy death-match games.

What’s more is the fact that all this competition is of a very high quality and we are seeing some of the most amazingly cool shooters ever.

After playing both Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament it’s really hard for a gamer to decide which to play. Both are in the same genre, but there are slight differences that will appeal to various gamers.

Firstly, it must be said that the bots in UT are terrifically cunning. They’ll hunt you down, use your own tactics against you, but like a more human player they even get greedy and go for weapons, and often it leads to an easy kill.

The traits they possess are very life-like and, as a result, the single-player game is huge success.

Add to this even more game modes than those found in Q3 and it looks like UT has taken the lead.

Presently there is normal death match, which is the most primal, basic way to hone your skills. Point and shoot, or turn and run, whichever is your preferred tactic.

For me, the gung-ho approach works best and although it will see me getting gibbed a fair bit, it also yields high results.

The other modes include domination, which is a little like that found in Tribes. It involves two teams, and three touch-sensitive nodes. Essentially, whichever team controls the nodes for the longest period of time will win. Sounds simple, but this is far from a cake walk.

Next we have capture the flag, which most people will recognise. This is my least favourite game type but even then it still manages to be entertaining.

Lastly there are the assault levels, where certain scripted tasks need to be achieved, such as gaining access to the control carriage of a military train. This would have to be one of my favourite game types. It adds a whole new meaning to teamwork and the levels themselves are impressive to say the least.

Gameplay wise and things have been tweaked to perfection here. The game is just as fast as Q3, though my only gripe here is rocket launcher. In Q3 it’s quick, responsive and very deadly. The reload and firing time, plus the speed of the warhead is quite sluggish in UT, and whilst still a classy weapon I would have liked it to feel a little more, erm – responsive.

All in all though, the weapon range and use of dual-firing modes makes playing a game very captivating. Even the dodgy weapons (1, 2, 3 etc ...) are quite powerful and one has to see the Redeemer to believe it.

The level architecture is quite astounding as well (geez, don’t I say anything negative here??) with some huge and expansive areas to be explored. A far cry from the tight and corridor ridden levels of Q3. Not that there’s anything wrong with the arcade-style of gameplay found in the latter, it’s just that fighting across a huge oil-rig or naval vessel is a very cool experience.

The only slightly neglected area in the game is the player skins, which whilst containing high-res textures and smooth motion-capture, they don’t give off the same impression as seeing an eyeball walking on two hands toting a gun on its head. The only player model present in UT is the humanoid one, with various skins pasted on. Q3 contains aliens, skeletons and a whole bevy of very remarkable characters, adding more charm to the game than one would initially think.

Though I have already stated that I prefer the fast-paced gameplay and style of Q3, if it's diversity you’re after then check this title out first. I won’t limit myself to just one death match game, however, as there are plenty of cool ones out there and the Q3 vs UT argument should change to ‘Q3 and UT – the King and Queen of DM’.

UT is a cracker of a game and should be played regardless of preference. If this is a sign of things to come, I want more!

 

ORIGINALITY 95%
SOUND/GRAPHICS 95%
PLAYABILITY 80%
ADDICTION 90%
ENJOYMENT 95%