Unreal Tournament — 3Q2014 issue

An unreal icon for consoles

As some­one who has never really got­ten into the Unreal series or PC shoot­ers in gen­eral, learn­ing to run and gun with one of the sem­i­nal shoot­ers of our time was and has been a chal­lenge. It’s a chal­lenge in patience and in equi­lib­rium, mostly because I can’t play older first-person shoot­ers with­out migraines and vom­it­ing. So, if a game could per­suade me to sit down and enjoy the fruits of its mur­der­ous labor, then more power to it. Unreal Tour­na­ment didn’t have to try to hard to work that mag­i­cal feat.

Unreal Tour­na­ment is a patch­work of ideas found com­monly in mod­ern shoot­ers. It’s arena-based play that requires you to hunt down and elim­i­nate the com­pe­ti­tion. That’s not that hard of a con­cept, actu­ally. You’re given an arse­nal with which to com­plete your reign of car­nage and help­ful items such as health and armor boosts. While the con­cept is easy, the num­ber of con­trol options offered can eas­ily over­whelm even a sea­soned shooter vet­eran. Mostly, you’re just look­ing for a way to aim and shoot, but there’s about 15 dif­fer­ent ways to set up your gun­ning exploits in UT. There’s a wealth of modes offered, too, and you can’t go wrong with pick­ing any of them. It’s nice to be able to prac­tice before jump­ing into the main story mode, or play a good Cap­ture The Flag match.

Despite the vari­ety of modes to run through, the char­ac­ter selec­tion isn’t all that var­ied. Stal­warts, like Mal­colm from the orig­i­nal Unreal, are avail­able but beyond that the char­ac­ter selec­tion is a lit­tle blah. There are some to be unlocked but the ques­tion remains: Do you want to go through the trou­ble of unlock­ing a char­ac­ter that you aren’t going to care about?

The sound­track is decent, with a few stand­out tracks so there’s some­thing to spice up the dis­ap­point­ment of the char­ac­ter selec­tion. The graph­ics are OK, but like that dearth of char­ac­ters, there isn’t much to get excited about. For the trans­la­tion to PlaySta­tion 2, the game plays and looks OK. It’s noth­ing spe­cial but it isn’t ter­ri­ble, either. Just don’t expect super impres­sive PC quality.

Unreal Tour­na­ment is an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment. It’s a PC jug­ger­naut that tries its hand at acces­si­bil­ity in the home mar­ket and doesn’t fail mis­er­ably yet doesn’t entirely inno­vate, either. If you were won­der­ing what the hype was all about for the PC dar­ling, the PS2 ver­sion is just the right ver­sion to intro­duce you to the world of Unreal.

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