OK. By now I’m guessing that you have some idea of whether you like the sound of UT3. What you really want to know is how UT3 looks and handles on Sony’s console. The answer is rather well. Epic always promised that the Unreal 3 engine would sing on the PS3 hardware, and UT3 proves this to be the case. Sure, there’s a little texture pop-in from time to time, particularly when the system is dealing with a lot of texture information at once as it loads a level, but installing the game to the hard drive minimises this effect and it’s hardly off-putting anyway. The main thing is that a game that was dripping with rich textural detail and show-stopping shaders looks as good here as it does on anything but the most high-end PC, running smoothly and without a glitch at 720p whether you’re playing online or against fifteen bots. PC owners get higher resolutions and more graphics options to switch in and out, but if you’re playing UT3 on a large HD display you’re still more likely to be dazzled than disappointed. It’s a fantastic looking game.
Of course, there’s one reason why you might want to play UT3 in front of a desktop monitor, and that’s the option to plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and move, aim and shoot using the classic FPS setup. I plugged in my Logitech setup and it worked perfectly, allowing for more rapid and precise aiming. Yet at the same time I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a huge improvement over playing with the Sixaxis controller. Personally, I’d say it’s a testament to how well Epic has implemented UT3 on the PS3, tweaking movement and rotation speeds so that at no point do you feel like you’re battling or working around the usual limitations of the Sixaxis. For once, the control feels solid, intuitive and precise. I suspect the hardcore UT3 fanatics will embrace keyboard and mouse in time, but at least the game provides options to block keyboard/mouse users from servers or filter out keyboard/mouse friendly servers when you’re trying to join a game.
While we’re on that subject, Epic has made finding and connecting to servers pretty easy, with straightforward lists for each game mode, a quick match option and a decent set of filters. I have experienced some issues hooking up to US servers, but these should hopefully be resolved by the time you read this – or very soon after. Also, watch for servers with high ping rates – in UT3 this really does equate to an awful lot of lag. While I’m moaning, it is a bit of an annoyance having to cycle through the different game types to see who’s playing what – an overall list would be long, but it would be much appreciated. All the same, Epic has got this just about right for the console audience. Kudos too, for supporting Mutators within the PS3 game. It’s a bit of a shame that some kind of browser hasn’t been built into the main game – you’ll have to find and download specially ‘baked’ PS3 versions, get them on a USB memory stick and copy them over – but it does open a lot of user-created options that console owners haven’t previously been privy to.
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