Unreal Tournament 3 is a tactical shooter. No, I am not wrong. Yes, you are an asshole for thinking otherwise. No, Iím not just saying that. Okay, actually, youíre not an asshole for thinking otherwise; that was rude of me. Every person whoís ever reviewed the game is an asshole for thinking otherwise- itís not our fault we took their word for it. The reason UT3 didnít do so well in the reviews isnít because the gaming journalism community is comprised of illiterate frat boys foaming at the mouth- if anything, thatís part of the problem.
Also, I know that this is a little late. I bought the game in November when it came out, but after seeing the final bit of reviews come out for it, I felt like I should give it the proper review it deserved.
UT3 is an amazing game. It manages to look fantastic, satisfy simple people with simple and fun game modes, but manages to strategically rip your fucking face off in duel or clan play. UT3 is like that guy at the party thatís unrealistically handsome, seems very modest, and fun to talk to- except he is fluent in Latin and Philosophy. Youíd expect him to barely be able to form proper sentences with that chiseled jaw of his without getting flustered and pounding his chest with his fists and grunting- But no. He will make you look an idiot in a discussion of relative utilitarianistic philosophy if you let your guard down. And he had a cool name, like Dieter or Garret. Did I mention that Iím not gay?
Thatís what Unreal Tournament 3 is, incredibly strategical and intelligent- yet handsome so that women will sleep with him. It isnít bored by the usual chit-chat, or in this case, Warfare or Vehicle CTF modes; but itís still well versed in his practical mathematical relations, or Duel mode for this situation.
Unfortunately, Unreal Tournament 3 was taken for its intrinsic value by reviewers, so they completely forgot to look a little deeper into the game to see it for what it really was. They expected UT3 to be a simple, adrenaline pumped shooter with no real substance for the tactically inclined. Boy were they wrong.
The game went under most radar at release, bypassing many peopleís attention- including our beloved Destructoid. UT3 was the most significant game of the year for competitive FPS players on the PC, period. Quake 4, the successor to Quake 3, was a complete disaster- but to be fair, it wasnít the easiest act to follow. Its younger brother was the king and queen of prom, slept with all the cheerleaders, and graduated magna cum laude; all whilst giving the nerds wedgies in the bathroom and getting into Harvard after all was said and done. Quake 4 was more like the calculus teacher no one really liked- he was rather dull and boring, tried too hard to be cool, and still managed to be covered in pimples and blemishes even in old age.
So because the Quake series was such a letdown and Unreal Tournament 2004 hadnít really catered to competitive gamers, UT3 had a lot to satisfy with its latest iteration. Iím here to tell you to forget what the reviewers said- because it definitely does satisfy.
Vehicle CTF is in my eyes, one of the greatest addition to the series for UT3. I had always found CTF a little bland due to the small nature of the maps, but all is well in this iteration of our esteemed CTF. Not only are the maps littered with vehicles and jump pads to ease your travel, but you also get hover boards. Thatís right, fucking hover boards. How cool is that? And they donít suck either- the animations and coding that go into the things make them fantastical. They move quickly, and look great too- and they arenít just for show. They definitely oil the gears that make that game mode work.
Warfare is the same dish as Onslaught was- a greasy cheeseburger that was nice, tasty, and everyone loved. So I will skip it along with all the other modes that stayed through the transition to the new game, except two. CTF and Duel.
If Warfare was a cheeseburger, then CTF is a pile of dog shit slapped in between two slices of bread. I never liked CTF to begin with, and I definitely donít like it now. Vehicle CTF is so good, that I couldnít imagine why anyone would ditch it to play the inferior version; in this case CTF. I wonít go farther than that because like I said, I liked CTF as much as I enjoyed a case of Chlamydia.
Duel then, is like an exotic assortment of Sushi. Hand crafted, measured tediously, simply perfection. Sure, to the uninformed consumer Sushi looks like some rotten fish lathered in rice and slapped together with some green stuff- but itís so much more than that. You might think Duel is just two people shooting each other violently while shouting expletives, but itís not. Iíve had the chance to play Duel mode intensively with a good friend of mine over LAN and Internet. Itís simply fantastic, thereís no other way to describe it.
Iíve never felt adrenaline from a game like I felt from Duel mode. When we werenít guessing each otherís position, anticipating each otherís next moves and weapon choice- we were moving towards key chokepoints and item spawns to gain control of the map. Each confrontation was carefully chosen to make sure the outcome was certain. There was no room for error- if you make a single misjudgment in a rocketís trajectory or your oppositionís item choice, its game over. You will die, and continue to unless you put your brain to use. Because we had so much fun with this game mode, I wrote my friend poetry for playing with me. Did I mention Iím not gay?
A lot of the gameplay depth in Duel mode stems from the fact that the game mechanics and weaponry shine through in every situation, not just Duel. The Biorifle is a great offensive weapon for tipping the scale when youíre losing the match in a 1vs1- but in Deathmatch or CTF mode, the Biorifle serves as a great disperser; people crowding around your flag or a chokepoint? Lay some goop on it. Each weapon and map is so well balanced that thereís a counter to every theoretical ďGODDAMNIT THATíS ANNOYINGĒ too.
I could go on all day about the gameplay tweaks and how the game has reverted back to its original Unreal Tournament roots. But I wonít. Instead, I will say this much- It is not like UT2004. Whoever said it was didnít play the goddamned game. Adrenaline, the armor system, and weapon differences have all been either removed or changed. If you liked any game in not just the series, but any FPS game on the PC, you will find some mode of enjoyment here to warrant your $49.99. And I donít have to create a reason for the PS3 people to buy it- you can only play Uncharted and watch Talladega Nights so many times.
I am never satisfied with graphics, but UT3 managed to shut me right the fuck up. Half-Life 2 has terrible texture resolution- Call of Duty 4 although heavily modified, is still on the Quake 3 engine. Crysis regardless of your system runs like it has Down syndrome, and anything else on DirectX 9 looks like everything was smothered with wax and then had the bloom set to Lynard Skynard. UT3 suffers from none of these, except maybe the bloom- But you can turn that off. If you have a mediocre system, turn it down and itíll look pretty good. If you have a recently built computer, then turn it all the way up and enjoy the smooth framerate- no need for a nuclear powered processor and a video card that runs on the tears of orphaned children here.
I saw a cheesy episode of Futurama once- It said god works in a way so that no one knows he really did anything, and it makes sense. If we all knew there was a god then we would have no reason to do anything, ever. I propose then that the world was created in eight days. I think that God created the world, the heavens, and everything in between in six, but then used the seventh to align the stars in such a way that Epic Games would create Unreal Tournament 3. I believe it to be a misconception that god rested on the seventh, for he was obviously busy creating a masterpiece. If Futurama is right, then Unreal Tournament 3 is a shining example that Godís work really does go unnoticed.