Hands-on: Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3 is a game that a lot of people, myself included, have been looking forward to for a very long time — and after some hands-on time with the recently released beta demo it looks like this is a game that is going to deliver, and deliver well.

Now the first thing that a lot of people will want to know about is the performance of the game. From the very start, developer Epic Games were touting the engine as being extremely scalable, being able to run on a huge range of hardware, from the latest and greatest rigs to older computers with 2nd or 3rd generation graphics cards and processors. Well, I’ve got to say, I think they nailed it.

On my rig (AMD Athlon 64 4600+ X2 Dual-Core, with 2GB of RAM and an 8800GTS 320MB) I was able to run the game on full settings with a very impressive framerate, only dropping noticeable during sequences of heavy fighting with multiple vehicles and opponents.


UT3 Beta Demo

But enough about the performance; what really matters is the game. The beta demo features 3 maps, 2 Deathmatch (DM) and 1 Capture The Flag (CTF). The two DM maps can be played using the DM gametype, the Team DM gametype and a new gametype called Duel, but more on that later. The CTF map can only be played using the Vehicle CTF gametype, but rest assure the full game will feature vanilla CTF sans vehicles.

The two DM maps (HeatRay and ShangriLa) are extremely well made, both graphically and gameplay-wise, with a great flow. Once the game gets going you’ll find that you hardly ever stand still. Now that, of course, may have something to do with the people and the shooting and the "oh god it hurts!" but no matter, the levels still flow perfectly and have a great balance of open areas and tight rooms and hallways.

Besides vanilla DM and TDM, the DM maps can also be played with the Duel gametype, a one on one gametype. It uses a queuing system, with the winner of the previous 1v1 staying alive, and the loser dropping to the back to the end of the queue and the next player spawning to challenge the winner. Any number of rounds can take place in the allotted time, making for some great fast-paced 1v1 action.


UT3 Beta Demo

The CTF map (Suspense) is a lot more open than the DM maps, but there are still some tight little hallways and areas that make for some great fight sequences. The main difference is the vehicles, which were an fun to use, adding another layer of combat to the game. I had an absolute blast flying around the level, duking it out with opposing vehicles and players.

One of the newest additions to the series is the Hoverboard. Found in the demo via the VCTF gametype, the Hoverboard is accessible by pressing the Q key and is an excellent tool for quickly moving around the map, with the ability to latch on to vehicles and snag a ride. The downside is that 1 hit from any enemy will send you flying off the board, flat on your face and open to attack.

Most of the staple UT weapons have returned, with a few exceptions such as the grenade launcher and the mine layer; but these aren’t really missed and the rocket launcher’s secondary fire can be used to fire grenades. The BioRifle is finally a useful weapon again, after being nerfed in UT2k4, and is a great asset in DM matches.


UT3 Beta Demo

If the rest of the maps in the full game are anywhere near as fun and action packed as the demo, then UT3 is going to be a truly great game. They demo didn’t even include Warfare, the new gametype to replace Assault and Onslaught, and it’s still amazing. The game is just a perfect mix of UT99 and UT2k4, with the best parts from both being brought together to create a nerdgasmic experience of the highest order.

Unreal Tournament 3 on PC is still on track for a November 2007 release, with the PS3 version following closely in early 2008 and the Xbox 360 version coming some time later in 2008.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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