Okay, I admit … I was looking forward to Unreal Tournament, but only because I thought it would take me until the release of Quake 3. Now, after two weeks of almost uninterrupted play (if someone one finds a way to get food delivered right to their computer, please drop me a line) I think I’m excited about the bad part. Unreal Tournament is the closest thing to a flawless game I’ve ever played. With its incredible game options, fantastic weapons, and unmatched performance, this is the first person shooter for the next few years. I realize that this will not be the most popular position with those of you who are fans of Quake die-hard, so let me warn you up front that this is a review of Unreal Tournament and not a comparison piece. Tal next week and I get together and put together a comparison head-to-head two games (after Quake III exam has increased).
What really makes it stand out Unreal Tournament is its large number of game options. When most other shooters in the first person release with a handful of standard deathmatch selections and ask players to start whipping mods them- same, the UT ships with a number of fresh game options each more entertaining than the next. The four basic Deathmatch games are included (which also includes Team Deathmatch), Domination, Capture the Flag and Assault. Let’s take a look at how each game works and what makes each so much fun to play …
Deathmatch – Okay, you really should know that now. You can set things up so that it is every man for himself, or you can divide the players into teams and duke things out that way. Since it is a base class, it is also a great place to discuss a second to all ‘Mutators’ cool that can be activated for each game. In addition to six different specific weapon options that can be Arena selected (Chainsaw Melee, Arena Flak, Pulse Arena, Rocket Launcher Arena Shock Arena Sniper Arena) in which players are limited to one type of weapon, there are also a number of other options, including Instagib (a one-shot, the one-kill mode that will make you very nervous), instant rockets (which prohibits the consolidation of rockets (I’ll cover later)) JumpMatch (where each player GravBoots that never wear off) low Gravity (much like the previous game, but slowly you fall too), no powerups (without damage amplifiers here) Not Redeemer ( ’nuff said) and stealth (all players are invisible – very weird). There is also a final mutator, Fatboy, who is a brilliant option that has become very popular with our crew. In Fatboy, every time a player gets shot, it becomes a little thinner. Every time he kills someone else, he gets a little bigger. That means really bad players are getting harder and harder to achieve very good players get to be easier and easier targets. Most of these modifiers are available for each type of gameplay, and when used in conjunction with one another, offer an almost endless supply of gameplay types.
Capture the Flag – Another old standby, Capture the flag is like the game you used to play as a child, but this time everyone is armed to the teeth. You have a base with a flag, the fact of the enemy. The goal is to fly the flag of the enemy and bring it to yours. If your flag is not there (it was stolen by the enemy), then you can not score until one of your team recovers. A lot of pleasure.
Domination – I got addicted to this type of game in tribes, but it works even better here. Basically, there are several symbols distributed around the level you need to capture and hold. You capture a symbol simply by touching, and for every second that you hold (keep the enemy of touch), you get a point. When a predetermined amount of points is reached the game ends. This is a high-stress game where teamwork and knowledge of the card is really profitable.
Assault – Our preferred option by IGNPC were assault cards. In games like these mission, a team must try to achieve a set of objectives (take the tower gun, open the prison door, etc.) while the other team tries to stop them. Once they have finished, the sides are reversed and the other team has to try to achieve the same objectives in less time than it took the first team. This is completely addictive, and some assault levels (such as the recreation Normandy Beach) are among the best I’ve had in a game.
In addition to what has been mentioned here, there are also other options, like how hard are the bots that you play against the Hardcore Mode (game moves faster and weapons do more damage) and the turbo mode (game moves much faster).
The next area where Unreal Tournament really excels is the weapon design. While most of the weapons are the same or have evolved from those found in the original Unreal, they are still much cooler than anything I’ve seen. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to what you can expect to find in the game and why we think it’s pretty darn cool.
Impact Hammer – Okay, every game should have a gun in his hand that does not require ammunition, but few games have one that is as badass as the impact hammer. This little beauty, like all weapons in UT, has two functions. First, is a function of load when the hammer is gaining power. When you run an enemy, charge instantly goes off and kills all that was standing in front of you. Yes, you need to be close, but it is well worth it. The second provides a quick snap (no charge power) which is a good amount of damage. It can also be used to deflect the incoming fire. Cool.
Enforcer – This staple gun weapon may not seem like much, but I’ve managed to accumulate a good number killed already. In addition to primary and secondary fire fire (as the primary fire, but it takes a little faster and a little less accuracy) mode, the Enforcer can actually be picked up twice with a player advantage fighting style John Woo.
Shock Rifle – When used in primary mode, the shock rifle sends a beam of energy that appears distant enemies instantly. the secondary mode sends a slower ball of energy who made a buttload of damage to everything it touches. This is the only weapon in the game to boast a tertiary option as well. If you send an energy ball and pull with your beam, the world will explode in a mega-explosion that should do anything in the neighborhood.
Ripper – My absolute favorite weapon in the game, the Ripper is a tool that requires an expert hand to truly master. Basically, it triggers high speed spinning razor blades that bounce from any surface they hit. This allows you to reach enemies in the corners or those who seek to hide behind the boxes. Unfortunately, if the players are stupid enough to pull directly on the wall, they will discover that it is also a very dangerous weapon for the wearer. What really makes the Ripper stand is if his instantaneous death option – if you hit an enemy (or yourself) in the neck, he decapitates them, killing them instantly. Once you do it well, the Ripper can become incredibly deadly weapon. The secondary mode adds to the lethality by offering special razors that explode on impact do splash damage.