Gaming Today Reviews Unreal Tournament III (PC)

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The Unreal series isn’t really considered the grand-daddy of gaming; in fact, it’s more like the middle-aged uncle. But as some of you may know, a middle-aged uncle (who, in my case, lives out in the backwoods and has a surplus of guns and fireworks) can still be a lot of fun. The newest installment in the franchise, Unreal Tournament III, is finally out; and while it may show of the series’ age with its simple FPS gameplay, it can still provide an endless source of entertainment. Full review after the break.

utiii1-1.jpg The first thing you’ll notice about UTIII is that the graphics are phenomenal. The game comes from Epic Games, the same guys who made Gears of War, and they’ve carried over that high level of detail into this game. Everything from the characters to the levels to the weapons looks sharp even in the middle of a heavy firefight. The cut scenes are just as breath-taking and also expertly directed. I actually found myself wanting to see more cut scenes just because my eyes would be glued to the screen every time. The only drawback to this is you will definitely need a pretty powerful PC to get the game to run smoothly. That and some of the art seems a little too similar to Gears of War at times, which makes it feel like you’re playing an FPS version of that game (main character, James “Reaper” Hawkins, could pass for Marcus Fenix’s long lost brother).

utiii2-1.jpgThe gameplay is typical for a run-and-gun FPS. Your goals are simple: grab bigger guns, grab armor and health packs, and shoot anything that moves. With UTIII though, all of this is executed perfectly. No two weapons are alike, and some of them are pretty inventive. Each one has a secondary fire mode as well, which is usually more powerful, but require more skill. Also, the weapons feel very well-balanced, so even if you have only the standard pistol and are up against someone with a rocket launcher, you still have a chance. Returning to the Unreal world are vehicles, which control quite smoothly. They all have their strengths and weaknesses too, so one skilled person in a vehicle won’t necessarily dominate the opposition. For example, the Axon SPMA can rain artillery down on foes from halfway across the map; but it has to be deployed in a fully stationary mode to do so, which leaves it almost a sitting duck. Some maps will also let you have at your disposal either a hoverboard — which lets you move around the map faster — and a “translocater.” The translocater lets you shoot a disc out and then teleport to where it lands, so you can reach high places and move across the map at a much faster rate.

The single-player campaign is more robust this time around, though in kind of a superficial way. Instead of playing a string of random tournaments for no apparent reason, now there’s a backstory about an alien conflict (also reminiscent of Gears of War) to piece these battles together. Through some clever, almost tongue-in-cheek story elements, everything from respawning to capturing a flag is explained as somehow being related to the new futuristic way of fighting wars. At certain points, you’ll get to choose between different missions. Winning certain side tournaments can earn you card, which can be redeemed to give yourself an edge in the next mission. The AI for your enemies and teammates is pretty solid for the most part, but you’ll find yourself questioning their actions at times; like when one of them grabs the enemy and then lingers for awhile collecting nearby ammo rather than running back to your base. That and the banter from them will get old pretty quickly, especially when your one sterotypically black teammate yells out, “Oh yeah! Clench those cheeks!” Thankfully, this can be remedied by allowing other people to join in the campaign with you at any time over the internet, since the game supports online co-op.

utiii3-1.jpgBut the main meat of the game is the online multiplayer. UTIII offers a ridiculous amount of maps to choose from, which will hold your attention for quite awhile. Some are wide and expansive, while others are compact. There are also plenty of different game modes to choose from, like team deathmatch, capture the flag, and the new “warfare” mode, where you struggle for control points on the map that give you access to other vehicles and weapons. Good luck finding enough people to play anything other than a standard deathmatch though. Take note too: if you’re used to more realistic games, like Call of Duty 4, you will most likely get your ass handed to you at first. Stick with it though, and you’ll start to adjust. The game also comes packaged with the Unreal 3 Engine Editor, so expect to see even more maps and such from the modding community at some point.

About the only thing I can downgrade the game for is not bringing enough innovation to the table. Maybe I’ve gotten too used to FPS’s like Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 that require you to keep track of a whole lot of things and work on specific strategies, but just running around and blasting everything in sight seems more like a throwback to the late 90′s. The inclusion of vehicles is about the only thing that really changes up the gameplay from past Unreal Tournaments, and the rest is mostly the same game with improved graphics and new weapons. Still, that doesn’t really make it any less fun. This is the game that has lured me away from all the other high-caliber FPS’s out there for the time being, and that alone deserves merit.

utiii4-1.jpgPresentation (9)
Unreal Tournament III delivers everything it promises: classic FPS gameplay brought into the next generation, complete with almost everything you could ask for.

Graphics (10)
The graphics are just plain amazing, though you’ll need a top-of-the-line system for the game to run correctly.

Sound (9)
Some of the voice acting can get annoying and downright ridiculous at times in the Campaign, but otherwise, everything sounds great.

Gameplay (8)
The gameplay is fast and fun, but unfortunately not all that innovative from past Unreal Tournaments.

Replayability (10)
With the abundance of maps and online modes, not to mention the included Unreal 3 Engine Editor, it will be a long time before you run out of things to do with this game.

Overall (9)
Despite its lack of innovation, Unreal Tournament III is a fun and gorgeous game. If you’re a fan of FPS’s and you’ve got the machine to run it, this game is a must-buy.

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14 Comments on Gaming Today Reviews Unreal Tournament III (PC)

Chris

On December 14, 2007 at 10:27 am

I don’t know what it is about UTIII, but I just don’t enjoy it. I don’t know if it just lacks that undefinable charm that previous UTs had or if I’ve just moved on from the series, but the game just doesn’t do it for me.

LoL

On December 14, 2007 at 11:31 am

Its probably because you only play games like CS and Battlefield and games with unique imaginative weapons such as the shock rifle in UT just can’t be grasped and enjoyed by you. You’ve been conditioned. :(

Paul

On December 14, 2007 at 11:43 am

:smile: This game is pure entertainment. Anyone who has played the only UT2004 should absolutely love the upgrade to this. I can’t get enough! The fact is even on lower spec systems this game is still beautiful, and if you have the processing power you crank it!

Just remember you can force AA via hardware even with XP.

Get this! You will not regret it. :smile: :smile: :smile:

Heru-Ur

On December 14, 2007 at 1:01 pm

“Graphics (10)
The graphics are just plain amazing, though you’ll need a top-of-the-line system for the game to run correctly.”

Say What?! Bull. I have a computer FAR from top of the line and i run this maxed out and have never had it drop below 40 FPS!

(specs: Athlon x2 3800+, 256MB Nvidia 8600 GTS, 2 GB 667Mhz RAM, X-Fi sound card)

mickey

On December 14, 2007 at 4:14 pm

You are a terrible writer.

“Unreal Tournament III, is finally out; and while it may show of the series’ age with its simple FPS gameplay, it can still provide an endless source of entertainment. Full review after the break.”

After reading your opening paragraph I opted to not wait until after the break.

Jonathan

On December 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm

@ mickey

Thank you for your totally non-constructive criticism. It really helps me ignore your comment that much more and continue writing the way I usually do. :roll:

Louie

On December 26, 2007 at 3:38 am

I love UT but don’t know whether my pc will be up to the job. What are the minimum spec req’s to run it decently?

Shawn Sines

On December 26, 2007 at 8:00 am

@louis: Well UT III plays pretty well on my laptop – which is a dual core 1.2Ghz, 2 GB ram, GeForce 7900GT… so I thin if you have a new system you’ll be fine. The stated requirements are as follows:

Minimum System Requirements

* Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista
* 2.0+ GHZ Single Core Processor
* 512 Mbytes of System RAM
* NVIDIA 6200+ or ATI Radeon 9600+ Video Card
* 8 GB of Free Hard Drive Space

Recommended System Requirements

* 2.4+ GHZ Dual Core Processor
* 1 GBytes of System RAM
* NVIDIA 7800GTX+ or ATI x1300+ Video Card
* 8 GB of Free Hard Drive Space

NOTE: UT3 does NOT require PS3.0!

Steve

On December 30, 2007 at 8:56 am

I’ll add my 2 cents here.

It runs like crap on my PC. Specs:

Windows XP SP2
2.2GHZ Athlon XP 3200+
2GB Ram
Nvidia 6800GT OC’ed (420/1200)
UT3 GUI settings on lowest detail.

My LCD display is native 1680×1050 which is a large part of the problem. I can custom res it down to 1280×800 and gain about 5 more fps, but it’s hardly where I want it to be (which is a consistent 30+ fps). Have to have 30+ fps for competitive multiplayer, imo. I only accept less for single player games.

Not to mention it looks like total ass this way.

I can run UT2k4 maxed with better framerate (I even throw aniso in there sometimes). UT2k4 maxed looks better than UT3 on rock bottom settings.

UT3 just isn’t fun unless you have some kick ass hardware to go with it. To be fair, I’m having the same problem with the Frontlines: Fuel of War. Another multiplayer UE3 engine game coming out soon.

Then again, many are arguing that UT3 just isn’t fun, period. I’d agree with that to some extent.

It (UT3) needs some serious modding and map making. Maybe the PS3 owners will keep the interest floating for a while.

13 years

On April 5, 2008 at 4:50 am

OH MY GOD…This game rules. it is the best game ever. buy it all PC Gamer…

Minimum System Requirements

* Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista
* 2.0+ GHZ Single Core Processor
* 512 Mbytes of System RAM
* NVIDIA 6200+ or ATI Radeon 9600+ Video Card
* 8 GB of Free Hard Drive Space

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

13 years

On April 5, 2008 at 4:51 am

WOOOOOOW …. NICE GAME!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

13 years

On April 5, 2008 at 4:56 am

I have NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8400M GS, 2GB RAM
Intel core 2 duo CPU T 5250 1,50 GHz….Can my PC run this game… Plzzz if you know write to me :D :mrgreen:

13 years

On April 5, 2008 at 11:40 am

PLEEEEASE…BEFORE THE GAME IS 1000 YEARS OLD

chris

On January 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm

i used to have a system similar to yours just buy a 50 dollar nvidia 9500gt or a 40 dollar 8500gt and play it on medium trust me it will run just fine as long as youre running it under windows xp.
you also might want 2gb of ram