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Unreal Tournament III

Developer: Epic Games | Publisher: Midway
Players: 1 to 16 Player Game | Release Date: 12/07/07 | Genre: FPS

unrealtournamentiii.jpgIt has been a long time since the original Unreal came out. Back then, games that pushed the limits of technology were only found on the PC and the 3D card was just beginning to be installed by a few. The original Unreal didn't even require a 3D card and the graphics looked so good at the time that players couldn't really tell the difference with and without the extra hardware. But as the series matured, Epic turned the franchise into an online shooter and kept the emphasis on multiplayer gameplay. Now in the third installment of the Unreal Tournament franchise, the long-awaited shooter, powered by the Unreal III Engine, has finally arrived on both the PlayStation 3 and PC. But does it live up to the hype?

Unless you been living under a rock, you should have heard about the Unreal III Engine. As the name suggests, this is the engine that powers Unreal Tournament III and a whole slew of titles on the market. Epic creates a new game engine for each generation and then sells licenses to third parties for use in their games. In the past, they competed with id Software over which engine was the best. However, since few developers utilized the Doom 3 game engine, it would appear, at least for time being, that Epic has become the only engine Developers and Publishers seek out for use in their games.

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As the second title Epic has developed with the Unreal III Engine (Gears of War was the first), Unreal Tournament III looks absolutely stunning on both the PC and PlayStation 3. Everything you would expect this engine to produce is seen running at a smooth and consistent frame rate. This includes very detailed textures, awesome shadow and lighting, large and realistic looking character models, and all of this with hardly any lag. While noting the lack lag may not be something the PC owners would even worry about--console FPS based on Unreal haven't always been the smoothest of experiences. In fact, Unreal Tournament III marks the first time I would choose to play the console version over the PC.

On the console side of things, the PlayStation 3 also supports in-game voice chat via a USB or Bluetooth headset and mouse and keyboard support. The addition of a headset is an absolute must and will greatly improve your gaming experience. It also should be pointed out that this does not slow down the game or cause any lag. The mouse and keyboard support is also a plus. However, it still does not control like a mouse and keyboard would on the PC. But you would be really surprised to see how well the Sixaxis controller performs. If you have the ability to play with a mouse and keyboard on your PS3, it is worth a try but I will probably stick to the controller.

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There is a brief single player campaign that plays out with you and a series of bots. This is used to get you ready for the real meat and potatoes of this game--online play While you don't have to go online to play Unreal Tournament III, the single player experience is not worth the price of admission. Once you do venture online, players will find matches with up to 16 players in traditional deathmatches, duels, capture the flag, and warfare mode. Warfare mode is probably the most fun and puts you on a team to destroy the other team's power core.
The PC has had mods and user-created content for years now. However, that type of content has never been available on consoles. This is all changing with UT3. Players will be able to make and create mods for use on the PC and PlayStation 3 platforms. While this content has to be made using a PC, Epic is working to get content up to PS3 owners as quickly as possible. The user-created content is something that Microsoft has stood against as they do not have a way to add it into Xbox Live currently. So the only way to play Unreal Tournament III, with user-generated content--even if a version gets released for the Xbox 360 later, is to buy a PlayStation 3 or play it on a PC.

Due to the shallow single player experience, Unreal Tournament III is definitely not for everyone. However, for those of you looking for a good online deathmatch and have a PC or PlayStation 3, you should definitely check out UT3. We highly recommend it.

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By Kaleb Rutherford - 02/07/08
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Screenshots for Unreal Tournament III

State of the Console: Xbox 360 2008

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