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March 12, 2008
Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3 Review Page 1
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
15/11/2007Red AntMidwayEpic Games12-16
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc228MB720pDD5.1YesMA15+

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UT3 is a great looking title.
Unreal Tournament is a series that to any PC gamer needs no introduction. Released in 1999, the original Unreal Tournament was planned to be a multiplayer add-on pack to the already successful game Unreal, but eventually the scope of the project grew large enough to release it as a full title. Over the years we've seen a few different incarnations on PC and even a small number of vastly unsuccessful releases on different consoles from the UT series, but Unreal Tournament 3 is the first time that the franchise has been developed in unison for console and PC. The results are, in a word, beautiful.

An online-focussed shooter, you'd probably expect there to be no plot to this game in the single-player bot-match based mode. However, unlike previous UT games, where the entire game has been explained with a tournament (hence the games' title), this UT game actually has a story to it. Now let me say this straight off the bat it's not deep, it's not a life-changing plot, but it does serve its purpose and it is reasonably interesting. You play Reaper; a freelance soldier who recently was stationed on a world where the Necris invaded, killing off all the civilians and almost killing Reaper himself. However, your cohorts (the other three members of your unit that you lead) returned to the burning ashes and recovered your body just in time to be able to nurse you back to health. Of course, being the gun-blazing action-loving gung-ho character you are, you want revenge.

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Levels can get pretty busy!
Before long you discover that the force that attacked the world you were on was lead by a Necris who goes by the name Akasha. In order to get to her though you're going to have to join forces with the local Axon forces and help them in their war on the Krall until the Necris get involved and you can take them on. The story is told through a handful of beautifully rendered cut-scenes and voice-over's between levels. These are strung together with offline bot-matches, where you will play a combination of the UT3 game modes.

And there are plenty of those to choose from here. Being multiplayer-focussed, we have the usual Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes. However, on top of that you also another 3 game modes to play! Vehicle CTF is a great twist to the UT CTF mode where levels contain spawn points for a combination of different vehicles (there's 15 vehicles that show up in the game!) and players also have a hoverboard which can be activated at request, but also lose the translocator (a kind of personal teleporter available in normal CTF) as a trade-off.

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Weapons are also varied.
Warfare mode is a node-based match type where teams must link up the nodes from their base until they have a clear run through to the enemy base, then take it down. The catch is that if any of the nodes are reclaimed by the enemy, then their core is once again shielded. Some levels also have special 'countdown' nodes that, if you hold them long enough, will start to overcharge the enemy's core, or something along those lines. Warfare also sports many vehicles in its levels that add to the tactical nature of the game. Finally there is Duel mode, where players play one-on-one in a level. When a player wins, they stay in and the next player takes the place of the loser, building the perfect basis for a tournament styled competition.

One thing you simply must be aware of before firing up this game for the first time is that the Unreal Tournament series is about as far removed from reality as possible without replacing the characters with laser-toting banana-men who run around screaming freedom and try to liberate the homeland form a potato overlord. Everything about Unreal Tournament 3 screams over-the-top power, insane speed and crazy moves. Oh, and none of the speed from the PC version is lost in the translation to PS3. Expect enemies to double jump, wall jump, shoot nuclear warheads from a portable rocket launcher, and so on. Unlike other online FPS games, the focus here ISN'T about staying alive; it's about blowing up as many people as possible before you die, either through their shots or your own (and you WILL be suiciding plenty of times). There is no delay though, so once you die, you are instantly back in the game shooting away. It's the breakneck insane "unreal" gameplay we've come to expect from the franchise.

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Levels look quite spectacular.
Now, if you have followed my reviews for a little while, particularly some of the PS3 games, you may have gathered that I am a fairly big PC gamer. I spend perhaps about the same amount of time gaming on my computer as I do on my PS3 these days and every time a game like Unreal Tournament 3 is set to come to console, I do tend to worry. However, I will happily go on record as saying that the PS3 release of this game is 98% the game that the PC release is. Controls feel absolutely perfect even without the added precision of a mouse, but for those who can't abandon the mouse and keys; you can hook them up for your fragfest! For those who don't want to have the disadvantage of using a controller against mouse-aided opponents, many servers run with the option of only using the SIXAXIS controller and whenever you make your own server you can choose this also.

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OK, so they're not human.
There is one other massive area that has come directly from PC gaming that I have to mention and that is user-created content. Whether you play Resistance: Fall of Man, Call of Duty, Halo 3, Gears of War, or any other shooter-based game on console, any additional game content, such as levels, weapons, mods, etc. comes from the developer. Not only that, but you are usually required to pay for it.

This has rarely been the case in PC-land due to user-created content. Unreal Tournament 3 is a ground-breaking release for the console world in that all user created content from the PC realms for UT3 is able to be played on the PS3. It takes a small process to prepare it (called cooking' the content) but there are heaps of mutators, mods, levels, vehicles, weapons and so on already available and the catalogue is only going to grow bigger and bigger. All it takes is a USB stick and an internet connection and you can put them onto your PS3 and away you go! It is a wonderful move and we can only hope more developers look at this and try to adopt a similar approach.

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