Once a PS3 exclusive, the fourth game in the UT series is now on 360. The 360 version brings the downloadable Epic made maps from the PS3 and PC version along with 5 exclusive maps and a 2-player split screen mode. But loses the ability to download mods.
UT3 has 6 game modes to play online and off. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Vehicle Capture the Flag, Warfare and Dual. It also features a campaign mode, but if youíre familiar with other online shooters youíll guess the quality of the story. It even explains why you capture flags (to disable the other teamís respawners!) and why you canít carry flags in vehicles (because they mess with the electronics of course!). Itís just training for the online battles really, because all you do is fight bots on the same game types and maps, just with a loose revenge story tagged on.
The game really picks up when you take it online, itís got the trademarked Unreal Tourny fast-paced action down to a T. All your favourite weapons are here, Shock Rifle, Bio Rifle, Link Gun, Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, the mighty Redeemer and my favourite the Flak Cannon. All the weapons have a secondary fire function and some can combine the primary and secondary for good effect. Vehicle CTF and Warfare modes feature vehicles, there are small buggies, tanks, hover erm... things and a spectacular Dark Walker which is a giant War of the Worlds-style tripod walker. During the vehicle maps because of the large scale you have access to a hoverboard so you can zoom around the map. The hoverboard can grab onto vehicles so you can carry the flag back at speed. While the other modes are self-explanatory, Warfare is like a territories match on Halo 3, but with bases. You have to capture points on the map to access the enemiesí base and destroy the final capture point. The controls are handled well on console, you can adjust all the sensitivity options and youíll soon be running around at high speed strafing, turning and double jumping. The vehicles can be fiddly to control at times and feel a bit skiddy-slidey. The botsí AI for playing campaign and single player matches is very good, although on a few rare occasions I did find them driving vehicles into small walls and getting stuck. All the maps are great and I havenít found one I donít like; weapon placement seems spot on but most important of all are fun. Playing online is a breeze and is lag free, the games connect really quickly and you select a game from the list and youíre connected and playing in seconds. One draw back to this though is that every playerís model is the same as the game Ďfully loadsí while youíre playing.
The split screen mode adds the ability to bring a friend into the battle not only offline but online too, which is a feature that I used a lot in Halo 3 and I think should be in every game, so nice work Epic. This game is 18 rated but Iím not sure why, it has a gun that turns people into skeletons and bodies do explode in a cartoony way but I donít see anything that warrants the 18 rating.
Visually the game is stunning, everything is detailed and bump mapped, the maps look great and nothing is ever flat. Weapon models have some crazy detail and the effects of the weapons, explosions etc. are spot on. But the annoying texture pop that all Unreal Engine games seem to have is here so when you first jump in you get grey blocks as the textures are loading in. Sound is good, the UT theme tune is in full effect and the weapon sounds are familiar and punchy.
Overall UT3 on 360 adds some good stuff like the maps and split screen mode but loses the PC version's mods, a feature which can only extend the life of a game. Its fast pace isnít for everyone and it has mighty competition on the 360, but itís a game packed with maps and modes thatís sure to keep the shooter fans happy.