And so it begins…
When most people think of Unreal Tournament, they think of a solid multiplayer PC franchise but the series has console roots dating back to the launch of the Playstation 2. The original Unreal Tournament for the Playstation 2, while somewhat flawed, was one of the first solid ports of a PC first person shooter to a console. The series moved to the original XBOX a couple years later with the refined Unreal Championship and evolved into a very well regarded console shooter with the overlooked Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict. The series has now made the jump to the next generation of consoles and the Playstation 3 in particular with the release of Unreal Tournament III.
Most developers have been so focused on tapping the larger install base of the XBOX 360 that the PS3 versions either slip to a later date and/or run noticeably worse than their Microsoft counterparts. Developer Epic however has delivered a silky smooth running version of Unreal Tournament III, with very little slowdown. And thanks to an exclusive deal it has a head start of at least six month on its competition. While getting to play the game now should be enough to make PS3 owners happy, Epic has also taken advantage of the open nature of the Playstation Network and will allow Unreal Tournament III players to download unofficial user created maps. Something Microsoft’s XBOX Live is not set up to do.
Something different, something familiar
Besides being a limited time PS3 exclusive, what makes Unreal Tournament III so special that you might consider ditching Resistance or Call of Duty 4 or The Orange Box for it? In a nutshell it offers something different. Not different in the sense of -this game has changed the face of gaming kind of way- but rather in the -this is old school gameplay at its finest- kind of way. Unreal Tournament III isn’t going to shake the foundations of your gaming experience but if you like old school frag fests this is the game for you.
Visually it should come as no surprise that Unreal Tournament III looks fantastic on the PS3 as Epic uses its Unreal Engine to the fullest. Graphically it is on par with Epic’s blockbuster XBOX 360 title, Gears of War. Considering that the game runs at a smooth 30 frames per second at almost all times and the gameplay is ultra-fast paced this graphical achievement is all the more notable being as Gears was a slower moving cover based shooter. The similarities with Gears don’t end with the graphics quality though.
The character designs are done very much in the same vein as their Gears counterparts. The main character in what passes for a single player component, looks very much like Marcus Fenix and he even has a teammate that looks like “Cole” Train. The designs might annoy longtime fans of the series but the decision to try and hook some of the Gears players can only be seen as a good business decision given the massive success that Gears of War was.
No Pros and Cons at this time