Epic Games



Unreal Tournament Review

By: John Doe

You gotta love the intense giblet flying action of games like Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. These games are the antithesis of all that is wholesome in the video game world. Your job is to take aim and shoot and your only reason for doing so is because some one is wearing a different colored costume. Welcome to the world of the First Person Shooter. No questions asked, no remorse; just death and lots of it. Or at least that's what you'd think. UT steps away from the "lone wolf" approach and forces you to cooperate on a team. You can send commands or adhere to them; that's up to you. But ultimately, if you want to win, you'll learn how to command your team of "ragtag armed to the teeth" misfits and come out ahead. See, video games can be educational. Snicker.


I was a huge UT fan for PC and spent many a night on the servers playing against some of the best players and getting my ass kicked. Hey, it's all in fun right? I was a little skeptical about Infogrames porting this over to the PS2, as this games worth is bought and sold on-line. I mean, playing this game against bots or split screen is an insult. You've got to play UT the way it was meant to be played. And unfortunately, in this weakened PS2 port, the heart and soul of UT is MIA (missing in action).

First off, as this game originated on the PC, any gamer worth his salt will tell you that you have to play with a mouse and keyboard. Playing with a controller is like running a marathon with one leg. However, I'll say kudos to the team at Epic, the joystick configuration ain't half bad. It's still no substitute for a K & M, but again, not too shabby. The good folks at Infogrames knew this to be true, and sent us a USB mouse and Keyboard for the PS2. Have I mentioned that Sony should be commended for using USB ports on the PS2? Excellent choice! That means that you can walk into any electronics store and purchase a mouse or keyboard for the PC and plug it into the PS2. Cool. Anyway, playing the game the "correct" way will result in much more efficient "frags".

The biggest problem with UT as I see it, is the lack of true multi-player on-line fun. That and the fact that playing with bots just doesn't cut it, nor are you allowed to play with the original number of bots allowed on the PC. I thought this was the PS2? Now we have limits already? At the most you can play with up to 5 bots. Considering that on the PC you can have up to 8 people on each team, this is pretty darn unacceptable. Here is a breakdown of the games and bot limits: Deathmatch & Capture the Flag (3 bots), Domination & Assault (5 bots). Get serious. Are you telling the machine that was going to be classified as a super computer can't handle a ton of bots? What a rip off!

Now, it is truly possible to play at least 4 player multi-player over a network if you buy the USB iLink. You'll need 4 TV's, 4 PS2's and 4 copies of UT, not to mention 4 keyboards and 4 mice, if you want to play this game properly. It's not exactly feasible, unless you are Daddy Warbucks or Bill Gates.

Graphically the game is nice and runs at a fairly good clip, although it doesn't quite have the frame rate of playing on a top end 3D accelerated PC. If you've never played UT on PC, you won't notice the difference. Weapon wise, UT will satisfy all of your killer instincts. There are over 10 weapons, each with secondary features. The light sourcing on some of the weapon fire is beautiful and the violence is pretty over the top (although slightly toned downed from it's PC counterpart).

The voices and voice commands are here, which either allow you to command your various teammates or to talk trash to someone you just fragged. However, it doesn't have the same appeal when you crack wise to a bot. What good does that do? I know, when I'm playing a hot and heavy game and some kid is kicking my ass and rubbing my nose in it, it actually pisses me off. Now, that's communication!

In the end, Unreal Tournament should have waited for the PS2's on-line capability. It's just too much of an empty experience due to the whole team aspect. Games that feature strong single player modes like Half Life or No One Lives Forever will do much better in the long run. I am UT's biggest fan, and I'd say approach this one with caution. It's not that it's done poorly, quite the contrary. It's just that the experience isn't quite there. Again, for those who haven't experienced the majesty of UT on the PC, you might enjoy this one for a time. Personally, I'm not into split screen gaming anymore. I find it distracting and annoying. Without the on-line aspects, UT is kind of weak.






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