E3 '07: Unreal Tournament 3 Hands-On Preview

Ah, Unreal Tournament. Many the hours my friends and I would spend playing the series at LAN parties, customizing the match options just right in order to have our share of the fun. Long nights we spent taunting, killing one another…

That’s why I was so excited to get a chance to play Unreal Tournament 3 at E3 this year. Releasing on both the PC and PS3 (one Aussie journalist who happened to be sitting nearby watching me remarked it was odd for the Gears developers to make a PS3 game…), the game is showing a lot of promise, and making me anticipate its soon release.

In this UT, things are direr than they’ve ever been. The Necris invasion has begun, and your clan was one of the first to be slaughtered; it’s up to you to bring the fight back to them.

For the most part, you know how the UT games work; you grab a gun (or two, or three…), shoot the enemy, and depending on the gameplay mode, complete some objective to win the match. Simple stuff, but it’s fast and fun. UT3 keeps that feeling alive, but cranks it up to 11. With some newly designed favorites returning, and some completely new guns, the weapons are all unique (both secondary and primary fire), and a blast.

On the PS3, Sixaxis controls are used, but thankfully it’s tastefully. When firing the Redeemer, the secondary function shoots out a missile you have control over; tilt the controller, and that’s how you drive that puppy and bring it to your favorite camping spawner. ("The point of this is basically to kill that jerk who’s been camping," said Epic Games’ associate producer Tanya Jessen.)

Other than some new secondary fires and guns, UT3 features a new gameplay mode (Warfare, which offers you a few nice new features longtime fans of UT will love) and some new vehicles. The Necris have one vehicle which is based on a War of the Worlds like walker robot; the legs aren’t attached, they’re hooked up via electromagnetic force, allowing for a lot of maneuverability and cool animations.

Another nice new feature is the personal hoverboard. Each player will come with the ability to use it, and doing so makes you travel a good deal faster than walking. The inclusion of this was to appease people who hate using vehicles, but really wanted to travel faster across the large maps.

UT3 will also let you customize how your character’s armor looks. Switching between a few different types of leggings, boots, chests, and arms, Tanya mentioned that aspiring designers could even create their own looks. (Oh yeah, you can also wear helmets or face masks!)

The level environments stay true to the UT feel, but have some nice new touches. For starters, rather than an overabundance of blues and reds, the areas are just blu-ish and reddish. It’s mostly done by lighting, faded colors, etc.; it’s very subtle, but you can easily tell if you’re in human or Necris territory.

Perhaps the best news, though, is that people playing on the PS3 version will be able to download all user-created content (except possibly armor) from the PC game to their PS3. As Tanya said: "The modding community is a strong driving force behind the Unreal games’ success, so we wanted to reward fans who don’t have the PC power to compare to what the PS3 offers a chance to still get that additional content."

I spent a while playing the game (and ended up with quite a crowd admiring my 1337 skills at one point), but no matter how many words I write, nothing could do it as much justice as this simple 13-word phrase: Unreal Tournament 3 offers everything UT fans were hoping for, and then some.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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