|System: PC, X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Epic Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Midway||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q3/Q4 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: TBA||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
It's been almost three years since the last Unreal game, and fans can expect a good reason for the long wait. Following Unreal Tournament 2004, the sequel will have enough changes that it deserves a completely different title.
Originally titled Unreal Tournament 2007, Midway announced in 2005 that the highly anticipated first-person shooter would be released sometime early 2007 for PC and PS3. However, it wasn't until this January when Midway announced the game will actually be titled Unreal Tournament 3 and will also be available on Xbox 360 sometime during the latter part of 2007. Of course, being a PC title, it will be released on PC first, which could happen closer to the middle of this year with a demo available sometime sooner. Why such a long wait? Well, Midway has announced what they've been working on and says fans won't be disappointed.
The reason for the name change is very fitting. Using the spankin' new Unreal Engine 3.0, its developer, Epic, promises a whole new and very realistic look to Unreal. Specifically designed for DirectX 9/10 PC's and next-gen consoles, the engine focuses on improved lighting effects and high definition range rendering. Its per-pixel lighting and dynamic shadows will give the game a 3D feel, as Epic also used the Unreal Engine 3.0 for the 360's Gears of War release. Screenshots of UT3 have been available since 2005, when it was still known as UT2007, and they do look splendid.
In 2005, Midway chief marketing officer Steve Allison stated in a press release, "UT2007 will be a major evolution for the Unreal series. Fans will be blown away by the next generation gameplay, modifiability, and visuals that Epic's Unreal Engine 3 technology will bring to the franchise. Without question this will be the most visually stunning and in-depth Unreal Tournament game to-date."
Midway says Unreal Tournament 3 will also focus more on the single-player experience, with a concentrated storyline and character development, without compromising its competitive Deathmatch and one-on-one multiplayer modes that have made the game so popular. While past Unreal single-player modes simply mimicked the multiplayer mode with a few subtle differences, UT3 promises to have a completely revamped single-player experience.
The game will feature most of the game modes from previous UT releases, however the previous Assault mode has been replaced by a new game mode known as Unreal Warfare. With similar objectives featured in Assault mode, Warfare will feature huge battlegrounds, with maps up to three times the size of those in the game's Onslaught mode. Unreal Warfare will also feature a bunch of new vehicles and better accommodate a large number of players. UT3 will also feature the Onslaught, Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch modes, plus a Capture the Flag mode that will allow the use of vehicles. Left out are Bombing Run and Double Domination as featured on previous Unreal games.
Weaponry will be upped a notch as well, with over two-dozen tools of destruction to choose from. Expect a fleet of new vehicles as well, including revamped versions of the nine machines featured on UT2004's Axon team. There will be nine new vehicles created for UT3's Necris team, including a hovertank, a heavy walker, an aircraft that uses jellyfish-like motion, and a hoverboard that can be used to latch onto other vehicles.
Midway's decision to postpone the release and change the name of Unreal 3 may be frustrating to fans patiently waiting for it, but from the looks of things thus far the wait may be well worth the outcome.
CCC Freelance Writer