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Unreal Tournament 3 (PC, PS3) – PC Version Reviewed.

System Requirements:
2GHz cpu
512MB RAM
8GB HDD space
Nvidia 6200+ or ATI 9600+
Rated M for violence, gore, language

Unreal Tournament 3 is the latest installment of the Unreal series. Unreal Tournament games are known for their fast paced First Person Shooting (FPS) action and eye-candy graphics. If you haven’t played any games in the Unreal series you can pick up the Unreal Anthology for $15 or less. These games are rated mature for the blood, gore and swearing so this isn’t a series to be played by or around young children.

Game types

Along with the typical team and single player death match modes, there is capture the flag (with and without vehicles), duel (one on one death match), and warfare as well. In warfare, you have to link together nodes to make your enemy’s power core vulnerable to attack, similar to UT2004’s Onslaught. They also added orbs in Warfare that allow you to take an enemy node instantly, but you cannot use a vehicle while carrying one. If you destroy their core, you win. I miss the football style Bombing Run from UT2003/2004, but there is a mod in the works to bring it back!

So what’s new in UT3?


Along with some of the classic UT characters like Lauren, Malcolm, and Bishop, you’ll be meeting some new enemies called Necris. They have some pretty cool vehicles that remind me a lot of those seen in Halo and Half-Life 2. The hover board is a fantastic addition to any game mode with vehicles. Capture the flag without vehicles still uses the translocator. In the single player campaign, you get to save the world (and get revenge) from the Necris invasion. The story surrounding the campaign isn’t bad; it just doesn’t quite align with the game style and maps being played. I do recommend playing the campaign to get familiar with the maps and game play modes. Just don’t expect a deep story or plot.

Single Player

The basic story is that you are injured by a Necris high priestess, and once you get back on your feet, you want revenge. The single player mode has five chapters, and after each chapter, you’ll get a card unlocked and see some story cut scenes. The cards can be played once and will offer things such as heavy armor, insta-gib mode, reducing the enemy count by two, and adding two bots to your team. You can adjust the difficulty before you play a map, which is nice.   Single player campaign is nothing special as it’s just a series of tournaments against bots. The maps are no different from multiplayer mode.   On a positive note, the campaign does help you get familiar with the maps and power-up/weapon locations.

Multiplayer

UT3 is best played online or at a LAN party. The online server browser is VERY limited. You have to search for servers by game types. There are some filters to specify pure and dedicated servers. I wish there was an option to join a server via an IP address search. If you’re thinking about running a dedicated server, it needs a lot of hard drive space and a decent graphics and sound card installed. There is also the ability to go coop on the single player campaign mode, so you can help out a friend in need against the bots.

Power-ups

As you’re running for your life, you’ll come across health packs, weapons, ammo, armor and damage boosters. The adrenaline pills from UT2004/2004 are gone, and are not missed.

Weapons and vehicles

For those who are familiar with the Unreal games will see all the weapons they love and cherish like the rocket launcher, chain gun, sniper rifle, bio-shock rifle, flak-canon and the mighty redeemer. There’s a long bow avril that’s very good at taking down heavily armored vehicles and tanks. There’s hover crafts, tanks, jeeps and your trusty hover board. The alien vehicles are fun to use;  their vehicles are spider like and have powerful beams. The vehicles are pretty well balanced but I found the alien ones more fun. Especially the Dark Walker which looks similar to a Half-Life 2 stilt strider.
Mods and Map Packs

The Unreal engine is known for its mod friendliness. There’s quite a mod community and many promising mods in the making. I’m looking forward to the Bombing Run mod. There’s also a mod in the works for bringing back the Command and Conquer Renegade online play style. There was a map pack recently released with some classic maps ported over. The future looks promising for UT3.

Graphics

The latest Unreal Engine is gorgeous. It supports Direct X 10 and Direct X 9 for those who haven’t jumped on to the Vista bandwagon just yet. The characters look life-like, and the enemies look fearsome. The maps and textures look great. The building structures and surroundings are very detailed. There’s a variety of map locales from abandoned temples to space stations, and there’s plenty of eye candy. The enemy vehicles, especially the Necris ones, look fantastic.

Sound

The sound effects for the weapons and vehicles fit nicely. The voice acting is well done, and there are some funny taunts. The background music has some similarities to the previous titles, but nothing memorable or getting stuck in my head. The only sound stuttering I heard in the game was during the mission re-cap while loading levels. Once the mission began, the game ran flawlessly.

Stability

There are some patches available. This game did not crash on me, just stuttered while loading levels.

Appropriateness

Violence is a given and it is nice that the gore level can be adjusted. During the single player campaign every swear word imaginable is used. Taunts can be disabled but the single player cursing cannot be avoided. The armor for both sexes is big and bulky and accentuates certain body parts. Lastly there are taunting gestures that are sexual in nature.

Final Thoughts


I find that though there is less overall content than UT2004, they did a great job rebalancing the game and returning the feel of the game to its roots. It’s extremely fast paced, and they removed some arguably unnecessary additions like adrenaline. To me, it feels a lot like UT99, and I would say that’s a very good thing. I’m anxious to see what the modding community has to offer. With all that said, this game deserves every bit of the mature rating it got. 

Final Ratings

 

Game Play 19/20
Graphics 10/10
Sound 8/10
Stability 4/5
Controls 5/5
Game Play Score: 45/50 (90%)

 

Appropriateness
-5 for killing for sport
-1.5 for blood +1 for allowing it to be disabled
-5 for foul language
-3.5 for sexual references
Appropriateness Score: 36/50 (72%)

 

Final Score 81%

 

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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