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Unreal Tournament 3
I like a bit of controversy every now and again so I'm going to make this review very simple. You should buy Unreal Tournament 3 now, play it, and then come back here to see why I was right telling you to do so. You won't regret it - trust me on this. Assuming you've followed those instructions, first: well done second: was I right or what?
You see, as I mentioned in my UT3 preview, I'm a bit of a fanatic for the franchise (some might say fanboy) and until I received my copy of this latest game through the post, UT2K4 still found itself subject to regular playtime even three years after release, although recently Team Fortress 2 has rather usurped it.
However I'm not here to talk about Valve's possible Game of the Year, but rather Epic Games' contender for that same title. So, let's start with what you should already know: Unreal Tournament 3 is built on the Unreal Engine 3 as used by last year's Xbox 360 hit, Gears of War and this year's PC hit Bioshock and the similarities are noticeable, and not just in terms of graphical style either.
Those familiar with the UT franchise might be shocked by one parallel between Gears and UT3: this instalment has a real, honest to goodness single player campaign with a plot. Okay so I'm pushing the definition somewhat because it's basically just a series of fights against bots interspersed with cut scenes, but nonetheless despite UT3 being primarily a multiplayer game, the story line is pretty compelling, if a little (read: a lot) similar to that of Gears.
While it sounds great in theory, and indeed the cut scenes are a joy to behold, I expect 90 per cent of people won't ever see the Campaign mode because, let's face it, you don't buy UT to play against bots. Ok, so I found myself mildly interested in our hero's plight to rid his planet of the invading Necris (yes, they're back) but not enough that I didn't give up half way through the story in order to get a quick online deathmatch fix - I think I may be an addict.
Anyhow, if you don't bother with the campaign in favour of eking out a bit more time on the multiplayer front then who can blame you? Not me, because multiplayer is exactly what makes Unreal Tournament so great and any excuse to play it should be a welcome one. Alas, some of us have to stop convincing our bosses that we really should be paid to play games and get on with the less adrenaline-inducing task of relaying that greatness to you, the reader, via that ever-so-useful medium we call the interweb.