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Publisher: Midway Games
Developer: Epic Games
System: Xbox 360
Release date: Available now
Review by: Ryan Asher
I still remember my first experience with the Unreal Tournament franchise. All the kids in school were babbling about some insanely sweet level that slightly resembled the allied landing on Utah Beach. Being a World War II nerd, I was fascinated with Normandy, so I had to get my hands on this game. I couldn’t get my D-Day fix from games such as Allied Assault or Conker’s Bad Fur Day because they hadn’t hit store shelves yet, so Unreal Tournament was the best recreation I could get, and it didn’t disappoint.
Raking in the kills and hearing the ever-so-satisfying “MULTI-KILL!” and “RAMPAGE!” for the first time as some poor saps attempted to cross the beach will forever be engrained in my gaming memory. Many gamers around the world feel the same way, which is why the Unreal Tournament franchise continues to be one of the most dominant series in online deathmatching. The PC game has spawned a multitude of sequels and ports on consoles, one of which helped kick-start online gaming on the Dreamcast’s SegaNet. This legacy continues today with Unreal Tournament 3.
The UT series has remained among the online deathmatch heavyweights by keeping pace with industry trends while not sacrificing the qualities that made it popular in the first place. Gamers who boot up UT3 that are familiar with the franchise will be comfortable from the outset, but they’ll also feel as if they’re playing a shooter that was designed with 2008, not 1998, in mind. Most of the amenities found in other major online games are here: fast transport around larger levels, several options for eviscerating an opponent when ordinary weapons won’t do (lots of vehicles and turrets), and a staggering variety of map styles and sizes.
While staying ahead of the curve, or at least on par with it, UT3 is still as frenetic and visceral as its predecessors. If you find yourself stuck in a dead spot, you need to stop camping in the corner, put on your big-boy shoes and head to the nearest node, flag or hot zone; you’re sure to find some action, or more likely, some action is sure to find you. If this tried-and-true theme doesn’t convince you that this is the Unreal Tournament experience you’ve known and loved, then the gibfest you’re bound to encounter once you’re actually in-game surely will.
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