IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll admit, I am new to multiplayer games. It was Call of Duty 4 that brought me into online multiplayer gaming, so I review Unreal Tournament III with virgin eyes, having never played any previous versions on the PC. I realize that this series is dear to many people, and I ask that you understand my reviewing this game as a single entity, not as part of a series.
Let's start with the visuals. The game is smooth and looks a lot like if Gears of War. Everything is very detailed and beautifully rendered. I died many times just trying to get better looks at the environment and details. Characters look really cool, again very similar to the style of Gears of War. The vehicles look awesome and there is a nice variety of them. I can tell a lot of effort went into making the game sparkle but unfortunately, this is where the effort seems to stop.
There is a campaign mode for offline play, but it is utterly pointless. The story is so weak that I can barely remember there even being a story. An alien race attacks...the end. The campaign is basically, and I emphasize the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“BasicÃ¢â‚¬Â¯, all the multiplayer game modes with bots instead of people. These game styles just doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to support a story. Why do I need to capture a flag in order to stop an infiltrating army of lizard beasts? How many Ã¢â‚¬Å“nodesÃ¢â‚¬Â¯ can one army have that need to be destroyed? The actual gaming feels so disconnected from the story, you might as well not have the story at all. There is an instant action mode to play a quick round with bots, but this feels like practice or training for the online modes.
The online multiplayer is where the game puts in work. It is fast-paced, over the top mayhem. All the weapons are really powerful especially the coveted rocket launcher. Once you have that, life in UTIII gets much easier and much more fun. I loved the multiplayer levels. They are well designed and look great. Warping from snowy landscapes to dense jungle is way cool. The space levels are also a hoot. Jumping in zero gravity takes skill and killing people from up high is a difficult, yet rewarding task. You have the standard fare of multiplayer game types. Capture the flag with vehicles is a neat twist on the mode, but I felt the driving was cumbersome. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t drive a vehicle while holding the flag, so you can either hitch a ride on the back of a moving vehicle using your new hover board feature, or you just have to hoof it on foot back to base.
When it is all said and done though, UTIII offers nothing new. You neither gain, nor lose anything for the amount of time you play or the score you earn. I want to be rewarded for killing 50 people with flak cannon. I want to rank up, earn better weapons or abilitiesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.give me SOME reason to keep playing other than to just kill another player, ultimately getting nothing for it.
I understand that this formula has worked for Unreal in the past, but cÃ¢â‚¬â„¢mon, evolve a little will ya? Let the gameplay match the visuals in quality. It is fun for a while, but in the end you are no better off than when you started and that's depressing. If Unreal could implement some of the gameplay features seen in many other modern shooters, you would have a very strong and rewarding multiplayer experience.