Unreal Tournament 3 isn’t in fact the third game in the series, it’s actually the 4th – and it also came out on the PC late last year. So does this make the PS3 version UT4.5? Maybe I’m thinking too hard about this.
Anyway, there are plenty of online game modes to try out in this one and, just like on the PC as well, a new single player campaign if you want a bit of story and don’t just want to run around playing with lasers and firing Redeemers at each other’s bottoms. Game modes vary from Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Vehicle Capture The Flag, Warfare and Duel. The latter modes being objective based and capturing certain nodes around the arena so you can get access to and destroy your opposing team’s core and 1 and 1 combat.
However, in the single player game, if you’re expecting a seamless single-player experience where you travel from A to B to C in a continuous adventure, think again. In essence it’s still arena combat, just linked together with some story and reasons to be fighting in those arenas instead of just being given a menu screen with a list of objectives.
The plot’s pretty basic, you’re team of humans defending against an alien invasion from a race called the Necris. You play a geezer called Reaper, and fight to the death with your sister Jester and your wing man Othello. They look like they missed the boat to be in Gears of War so made their own game instead. It’s so similar in looks you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you booted up the wrong console when you first get into the campaign.
Once you’re in, as you’d expect from an Unreal Tournament game, the action’s fast and furious. All the colours are a bit washed out and grey and textures take some time to load in but it zips along at a cracking pace, even though from the first-person perspective you’d think you jumped into the body of a Munchkin. The low perspective in this game does take a bit of getting used to. If of course you want to speed up load times and have those textures available right away you can install the game to the hard drive in the settings menu. Matt’s handy hint of the day.
Online is also incredibly smooth and not as jerky or difficult to connect to servers I expected it to be. You just pick your server (best to go for the lowest ping you can) and connect to the game of your choice – you can also just quick connect if you want instant action. I tried that and immediately ended up in a classic map called Deck 16 which I know like the back of my hand, and immediately finished in the top 5 out of 20 players. Usually if you connect online to an FPS you get owned the first time so that made a very nice change.
Vehicles aren’t a new concept in Unreal games but you also have a hoverboard to use in this one so you can go all Marty McFly, only a lot more deadly. As far as the guns go, they’re all almost exactly the same as before, only with a facelift to make them look a bit more chunky and ‘real’ if that’s actually possible, and there’s a cool new effect which slows down time in a certain radius like people are moving through treacle. Cool stuff!
Also, to help you navigate some handy arrows show you the way to your next objective in campaign mode which helps a lot – you don’t have to follow the path it tells you but if you’re new to the game you’ll find it a great help.
In all, there’s a lot to do here. You can plough through the single player campaign, jump into some instant action with some bots and of course take on real people round the world in the multiplayer mode. AND it’s worth mentioning you can play this over a LAN if you do have some mates who don’t mind bringing over their PS3s and TVs to your gaff. Good luck there.
This is possibly the best online shooter yet for the PS3 so it has to get an excellent 8 out of 10.