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Review: Unreal Tournament 3 - PC

by Nick Haywood on 24 December 2007, 09:52

Tags: Unreal Tournament III, Midway Games, PC, Xbox 360, PS3, FPS

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qakuw

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Epic ram GameSpy down your throat

I could do stuff like list the weapons and what they do, but, other than new models and skins and perhaps some tweaks to the power etc, you’ve seen them all before. I could sit here and do a breakdown of each weapon and how it’s changed from UT2k4 but really, there’s no point.. the flak cannon still sprays flak, the link gun can still be linked… you’ve seen it all before. I could mention the ‘new’ features in Unreal Tournament 3 compared with previous versions but, well, I can’t be bothered, and you want to know why? Because, and this a first for me in my games reviewing career, Unreal Tournament 3 has bored the hell out of me.

Honest to goodness it hurts me to say this. I always thought myself to be a confirmed UT fan but Unreal Tournament 3, after about 4 hours of what has to be the most contrived storyline ever shoe-horned into a game, has succeeded only in making we want to play the original UT. Unreal Tournament 3 is probably unique in being the first game where, after 30 minute’s play, you’ll just know that there are no surprises or anything new. Sure, the flak cannon is still here but in a new shape, as is the rocket launcher with its three stacking missiles. You can still pilot the Redeemer round and round the map, the sniper rifle still headshots the majority of un-armoured players and you’re still “Unstoppable” if you string several kills together without dying.

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I can’t see any point in writing about Unreal Tournament 3 as if it’s all new and wonderful because although it is dressed up in new clothes, I find it hard to come to any conclusion other than this is the same game we were playing three years ago, just running on a new engine with new levels. To present it as anything else would be irresponsible on my part. I so wanted Unreal Tournament 3 to be different as well as graphically marvellous but it’s a crushing disappointment to find that other than a spanky new engine giving me lovely new graphics, built-in Ageia physics and SpeedTree generated plants the actual gameplay has hardly changed, if at all.

To compound the frustration, Unreal Tournament 3 comes with lots of built-in ‘aides’ for the gamer, such as the tediously intrusive IGN GameSpy Comrade which, in my very humble opinion, is about as crap a bit of software as I’ll ever be forced to install on my PC short of forcing dog dirt into my card reader. I wouldn’t mind if the damn thing actually worked as it (presumably) should but so far all attempts to create a profile or log-in with an existing profile have proved frustratingly fruitless… even smashing my head on the keyboard, producing completely random character names came up with a message that the name I had chosen was already in use, (“xdsfc00200020dfshgsdfgsdfh”, I hope you’re enjoying Unreal Tournament 3, you stole my screenname!)

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So cheers, Epic, for stuffing up even the basic function creating a profile and naming my character… and Lord forbid if I ever want GameSpy Comrade to not load on start-up.

To be brutally honest, to have this stuff forced down my throat and then prevent me from naming my character for the single player game unless I sign up to GameSpy is, frankly, utterly diabolical. And why do we all have to sign up to GameSpy? I don’t know, perhaps Epic couldn’t be arsed to build a multiplayer game browser into Unreal Tournament 3, unlike most every other multiplayer game out there? Perhaps GameSpy waved big wads of cash at Epic to get in on the action? I’m not saying they did, I’m just trying to find a reason for GameSpy to be so heavily integrated as to make it impossible to have a multiplayer game without signing up to them.

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And why am I making such an issue out of it? Well, you know when you get a new bank account, you don’t expect them to force you to switch your mobile phone service provider before you can use telephone banking, do you? This is the same thing. I bought Unreal Tournament 3 to play it in its entirety on and offline. If I wanted a GameSpy account, I’d already have one, and guess what? I don’t want one. But to play multiplayer Unreal Tournament 3 it’s obligatory… and, if like me you’re waiting for password confirmation, enjoy the three day wait like I did.

So, like I said, cheers Epic!

Anyhow, where were we? Oh yes, looking at the weapons. Look, just load up UT2k4, you get it all in there and you’ll see what I mean. Now imagine that with a Gears of War graphics niceness and you’ve got Unreal Tournament 3, ok?