Unreal Tournament 2003

Review

posted 10/10/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Unreal Tournament is a game that received a whole lot of lovin’ from the guys around the Gaming Nexus offices. Featuring perhaps the most addicting gameplay of any First Person Shooter on the market, Epic had an amazing title on their hands that took the world by storm. Sure it never quite matched up the mighty Quake 3 juggernaut, but it lingered around long enough to garner a following. Epic and Infogrames, proving that their respective mothers didn’t raise no fools, were wise enough to milk their product for everything it was worth. Packaging it with high-profile sound cards, re-packaging the product in the “Game of the Year” format, and adding more subsequent upgrades. By the time that the company was finished with it, nearly everyone and their mother had come in contact with the game and from the looks of it, they liked what they saw.

After building up a solid fanbase, and hooking thousands on their proverbial crack, they were wise enough to produce a sequel for the game. Many were hasty to proclaim the title a one hit wonder, especially after the numerous delays that pushed back the title’s release date. Now the title is out on store shelves and if you’re a skeptic, you certainly won’t be one for much longer. This game is amazing and is a worthy successor to the original, the only thing keeping it from perfection are the horrible design choices that seriously dampen the experience.

This time around, Digital Extremes (the developer of the first UT) tried to address the issues that players had with last year’s game. One of the areas where the original was heavily lacking in was the Single player department.They responded by adding a ladder mode where you can recruit and build up your own team of AI players. While this is no match for the unpredictability of a living, breathing combatant, it’s a very nice addition that is definitely worth a look.

There were some interesting design choices made in UT2003, on the one hand we have the inclusion of the intense and addictive ‘Bombing Run’ mode (more on that later) but on the other hand, we have the absence of the excellent Assault and Domination modes. Though the Bombing Run mode is a suitable substitute to the Assault mode, it still baffles me as to why the guys at Epic would decide to remove some of the more popular modes in the game.

As it stands though, Bombing Run is a more than capable substitute for Assault. In BR mode, you’ll play what is essentially rugby with deathmatch rules. There is one ball that must either be run through or thrown through the opposing team’s goal. The team with the most points at the end of the round is of course designated as the winner. This most emphasizes perhaps what the hardcore audience wanted the most, teamwork, for without teamwork you’ll find yourself on the losing end every time. It’s simple really, and genius at that, the ball carrier cannot fire his weapon so he must rely on his teammates to protect him as he makes a run at the opponent’s goal. So obviously, you have to work as a team or the whole operation will fall apart. You’ll also have to rely on some of your teammates to sit back and protect the goal from opposing ball carrier. So you’ll have to organize your team and co-ordinate your plan of attack wisely if you hope to be successful. As you play through this mode you’ll find that the more selfless and cohesive teams will always prevail. Out of all the modes in this year’s game this is definitely my favorite, and judging by the number of players online, I'm not alone.
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