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PS3/X360/PC Preview - 'Unreal Tournament III'

by Thomas Wilde on Feb. 12, 2007 @ 3:53 a.m. PST

In UT3, you assume the role of a futuristic warrior engaged in contests of intense shooting battles against skilled opponents, controlled either by human contestants online or by A.I. These contests are fought with the most powerful sci-fi weapons and vehicles. It’s FPS action at its best!

Genre : First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Epic
Release Date: Fall 2007

You want some first impressions of Unreal Tournament III? I’ll give you a first impression: blood and terror.

Here I am, minding my own business, looking around my base for a better weapon than my single Enforcer, when – oh hi – a giant alien-looking death spider robot comes flying in like the wrath of God and vaporizes half my team. I jump in a Goliath (because that is how I roll in Unreal Tournament 2004)! Same result. I think it took six of us and about twenty deaths to destroy that damn thing, which I believe is called a Manta, and which I believe is designed to recall racial memories of alien abduction. Just seeing it is enough to ruin your day.

In other words, it’s Unreal Tournament: vaporizing futuristic warriors at the slightest provocation.

The big announcement at the Midway Gamers Day 2007, which I’d imagine you’ve seen by now, was that Unreal was undergoing a name change and was going to see a PS3 release. It was also playable on the show floor in Las Vegas, which is where I underwent about an hour’s worth of humilating CTF defeats at the hands of the bastards on the Red Team.

Thus, I feel qualified to say that Unreal Tournament III lives up to at least some of the hype. It’s made one of the shiniest and fastest-paced first-person shooters out there even shinier and faster, with a number of upgrades to the old familiar arsenal. The show floor’s demo featured several of the old standbys, like the rocket launcher, Enforcer pistol, Stinger chaingun, bio rifle, shock rifle, and that crowd-pleasing favorite, the flak cannon.

Each tournament competitor also comes factory standard with double-jumps, sideways dodges, and now, a helpful hoverboard. The hoverboard turns the game into a bizarre futuristic, deathmatchy take on a Tony Hawk game, allowing you to trade the ability to shoot for greater footspeed and the ability to go over shallow bodies of water without slowing down.

Epic, flush from the success of Gears of War, has also included a storyline for the game, involving the hardbitten Unreal Tournament competitors defending their space colonies from an alien onslaught… or something like that. I’m not sure anyone at all was paying a great deal of attention.

The larger point, then, is that Unreal Tournament is back. It’s bigger, shinier, faster, even more violent, and on more systems than ever before. This fall, deathmatch aficionados and homebrew developers both have a whole new bunch of toys to play with.

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