Overall, this is a fine conversion of an excellent game – and one that deserves to thrive on a new platform and with a new audience. Is it worthy of the nine Hugo bestowed on the PC version? Well, yes and no. In some ways, the biggest gripe PC gamers had about UT3 was that it felt too much like the existing Unreal Tournament games, and I can sympathise. I can understand why long-term fans were disappointed by the decision to stick with two teams, not four and the maximum player count of 32 – now 16 in the PS3 version. When we’ve been spoilt by things like Call of Duty 4’s experience system and kill-cam, or Halo 3’s Forge mode and Replay Cinema, there’s a little disappointment that Unreal Tournament 3 hasn’t innovated more. And while the single-player campaign is a huge improvement on what we’ve seen in previous UT instalments, it’s still not totally convincing.
Yet at the same time I’m glad that Epic hasn’t reinvented the series and risked losing what makes it so special: Unreal Tournament was always the fastest, most furious and most immediately fun of the competitive online FPS games, and that still holds true of UT3 on PS3. With no Halo 3, no Gears of War, no Crysis and no really strong competition outside of Resistance and Call of Duty 3 and 4, UT3 is currently the most exhilarating and fully-featured online FPS on the platform. To my mind, that makes it the best full-priced PS3 action game since Uncharted. If you really don’t enjoy the whole competitive FPS experience, UT3 still won’t change your mind, but if you do then UT3 is plain essential.
The PS3 version of UT3 is every bit as good as it was on PC, and here the lack of strong competition makes it unmissable. If you like to fight online, this is as good as it gets on Sony’s system.
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