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September 25 2007
Unreal Tournament III - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
15/2/2008Red AntMidwayEpic Games
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Unreal Tournament III has plenty of vehicles.
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There's no denying the gorgeous graphics.

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Levels get pretty busy.
It has been quite a while since we've seen an Unreal game on a Sony console. Indeed the last one was Unreal Tournament on the Playstation 2 way back in 2001! With the Playstation 3 now well and truly available in stores, and many developers using Unreal Engine 3, Epic Games are set to unleash Unreal Tournament III on the system in late 2007. Not only will it allow the company to push their engine on the system to more developers and prove just how powerful it is, hence making them truckloads of cash, but will also give Sony gamers what they have been shouting out for - a brilliant online FPS experience for Sony's console.

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Effects are also very impressive.
First of all we have to point out that the game does include a single-player mode which does include a storyline, as you battle between two warring factions. As you play the game you will unlock new weapons and customisation options (purely cosmetic mind you) which will carry into the multi-player game. In terms of gameplay Epic's Mark Rein has confirmed that the developers are scaling back on some of the insane moves which you can pull off in recent versions. The game will include many more vehicles this time while the physics is being powered by the Ageia Physics engine. Now, rather then simply being injured by bullets players can be hit by exploding objects.

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Check out the stunning textures!
In terms of multi-player Epic have confirmed that Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Team Capture the Flag will be included in this title, and although no player counts have been announced yet we would hope that the game supports 32-players on the PS3. The developers are including a new and improved version of Assault, which they are dubbing Assault 2.0, which will be more player friendly for those who don't know their teammates. Epic Games are also still to confirm the map count - but a number around 40 has been mentioned in the past.

The Playstation 3's Sixaxis controller is being put to good, and original, use as well. The tilt/motion sensing abilities will enable you to control the numerous vehicles as you tear around the levels. As well as the vehicles many of the maps will have a weapon called the 'redeemer' which respawns every few minutes after being used. This weapon is like a small nuclear bomb which you can also guide to a target area using the tilt controls.

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Remind you of any other FPS titles?
One aspect of Unreal Tournament III that has us most excited is the ability to used mods in the game to add new levels - and possibly new graphics and features. While there is still a big question mark over the XBox 360 version (which is due sometime in 2008) allowing gamers to include mods in the game due to Microsoft's very closed online network structure the PS3 version will allow gamers to download mods to their PS3. Epic's Mark Rein has suggested that some of the best user created levels could be sold on the Playstation Store - or that a pack with the best created levels could be provided down the line somewhere. Another option to import mods is via a Memory Stick plugged into the systems USB ports.

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Enemy design is also pretty stunning!
If you know gaming then you will know how big Unreal Engine 3.0 is becoming. At the moment there's only a couple of games using the engine on Playstation 3, but the engine will be come quite common following the release of Unreal Tournament III. This game is certain to become a benchmark for graphics on the system. Just have a look at the images around this preview to see how detailed the character models and levels are - what you can't appreciate from the static screens are the incredible lighting and effects used throughout the game. The game was shown at E3 2007 and for the most part the game looked solid, however there were some sections of slowdown and frame rate issues. Epic has promised these were due to remaining bugs and will be ironed out prior to release. Another very slight disappointment is that the game will likely only run at 720p - well below the 1080p of several other games - although, as with any FPS, frame rate is key to solid gameplay.

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Vehicles look pretty awesome.
While hardcore gamers will jump up and down and proclaim that 'FPS games can only be played properly on a PC' the great news for PS3 owners is that gamers will also be able to play the game using a USB mouse and keyboard on their system. Given the increased accuracy with the mouse/keyboard setup it will be interesting to see what Epic Games do to make the game fair for everyone - we suspect that the online modes will allow you to select to enable, or disable, this function within game.

While Epic Games are happy to wait until this game is complete before announcing a definite release date, but at this stage Australian distributors are targeting a Q'1 2008 launch date.