Unreal Tournament 3 Impressions

Oct 28, 2007

I recently downloaded the demo for Unreal Tournament 3. Being a big fan of Unreal Tournament 2004, this demo particularly interested me. I've given the game a thorough testing, and here's what I think.

The Good

Gorgeous Graphics
As is to be expected, the game is incredibly nice to look at. And it runs really well on my rig, which I'm pleased about. I have a feeling that this game engine will be the defacto standard for a few years to come.
Really Fun Gameplay
Epic has retained all of the fun gameplay from UT 2004. The maps feel well balanced, the vehicles are a blast to drive (though I wish they had included the Leviathan), and the action seems a little more frantic than in past UT games.
Hoverboards
This is a really fun addition to the game, and makes getting around on the larger CTF map a lot easier. I can't wait to see what mods are released that utilize this gameplay a little more.

The Bad

Poorly Designed Menu System
The game's menu system is very difficult to navigate, and needs to be cleaned up considerably. What happened to the clean and concise menus of yesteryear? The in-game server browser is in a similarly rough state, making joining online servers more difficult than necessary.
Noticeable Lag
I noted that in every online match I played, server lag was very noticeable. Being on a cable modem connection, I expected a relatively lag-free performance, but that wasn't the case.
Unable to Bind Tab Key
For some reason, I was unable to bind the Tab key to show the score (my usual setup). I've had to stick with the default F1 key, which is hard to reach with one hand during a game.
No Score Results After a Match
In UT 2004, when a match was over, the scoreboard from the game was conveniently shown. That's not the case here (or at least I couldn't find it, short of bringing it up myself with the F1 key).
Only 3 Maps
The demo only includes 3 maps, which is a shame. There are 2 deathmatch maps, and 1 vehicular capture the flag map. I hope they haven't dropped the Onslaught game type, as that was my favorite one.

The Ugly

No In-Game Chat?
I saw that certain keys were bound to chat to other players in the game, but I never saw this used. Was this feature disabled in the demo?
I'm Out of Practice
It's been some time since I've played an online shooter like this (since UT 2004, as a matter of fact). As such, I am horribly out of practice. I used to be a fairly good online gamer (I was once globally ranked in Starsiege Tribes), but these days that isn't the case. I've found that the Skilled bot difficulty is about as much as I can take. I gave the Adept difficulty a go, but failed, finishing last against 7 bots. I usually finish in the middle of the standings when I play online, which is slightly encouraging.

Overall I've enjoyed this experience, but there are a number of rough areas that need improving before I will purchase the game (last I knew, it was slated for a November 9 release).

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