By Philip Dunkley
Unreal is a franchise that brings up a lot of sentiment for me and many other gamers out there. From the humble beginnings of the original Unreal, through the various stages and paths the franchise took, on various platforms, it was always the PC gamer’s game. I remember plenty of LAN tournaments taking place, and the frantic rush to upgrade my PC every time a new version was being launched. Ah the good old days.
Now it returns, still on PC, but also on console, and not just as a quick way to cash in on the market, but as a flagship title for the PS3. And I begin to wonder to myself, why. I know it’s a good game and all, and the multiplayer is frighteningly addictive, but how on earth can this game be taken seriously on a Sixaxis Controller.
So my story begins late at night. I put the game into the console, have a quick installation to go through, and wham, Unreal Tournament III is ready to rock and roll. I begin the single player campaign, because I need to hone my skills at this, I haven’t done it for a while. I find the controls surprisingly easy with the controller, and though it’s not nearly as fast as a keyboard and mouse combination, it works just fine.
The story is weak, very weak, but then again, all it’s there for is to string together the vast array of maps that the game has lined up for me, and I was not expecting any Oblivion like story to it.
Playing the game was great, and the campaign allows you to come to grips with the various modes the game has to offer, and get used to the different game mechanics that you will face online.
It’s the same over the top Sci-Fi arenas that have captured many fans worldwide for years, just this time they look better than ever before. The graphics are amazing. No argument whatsoever. Obviously Epic is going to use the Unreal Engine rather effectively on an Unreal game, and this game shows off exactly what this engine is capable of, and it runs as smooth as glass.
From an audio perspective, the game is good, except for a few irritating voices that kept reminding me what was going on over and over again. Surround works a treat, but seems to go a bit too deep, not giving off an accurate location of my enemy.
So I continue playing, and decide, right, I’m ready for online and off I go. Then I notice an option on one of the server selection screens that you can turn off something called Keyboard and Mouse, so that no servers with this option enabled will be shown. It dawns on me. How could I have missed this? Why did I not read the manual (Ah, we don’t get manuals with press copies of the game, that’s why).
I rush to my study, grab a spare Keyboard and Mouse, and plug it in to my PS3.
Now a famous loud mouthed English motor car journalist once made a comment like this: This car has all the niceties and smoothness that one would expect from this manufacturer, but the moment the sports mode button is pushed, it turns into a raging beast that surpasses all expectations. This is what happened with Unreal Tournament III. This little addition which had so eluded me, turned this game from a good game to an excellent game, allowing me to really feel what I had been missing all these years, and it worked really well with great response.
Now I was ready to play, and although I had some Lag issues (I’m getting more and more of these lately), multiplayer was a blast, and I just could not put the game down.
It’s multiplayer gaming to its core, and it makes me wonder why so many games have tried to change the online formula, when the original fast paced action has always been such a great thing.
I enjoyed every moment I played this game, and yes it’s not the greatest single player experience on the market, but it’s still fun to practice against some pretty decent AI Bots, but the multiplayer is where this game shines, and the fun that can be had either LAN or Online, is fantastic.
Thank you for not messing with the formula. Thank you for making a great looking game. And thank you for making it very playable on a Hardware Platform that we as gamers are embracing more and more by the day. For the moment, PC Gamers and PS3 owners are very lucky to be playing this, but it’s shortly coming to the XBOX360, so everyone will be able to experience a masterpiece of gaming.
Enjoy it, and I’ll see you online!!!!
Thanks to Ster Kinekor Games for providing us with a copy of the game, we really appreciate it.
Graphics – 90%
Playability – 90%
Sound – 80%
Tilt Factor – 85%
Overall – 87% (Excellent, a must buy)
Last Updated: March 12, 2008