Although some of Unreal Tournament’s features have aged more gracefully than others, this is still one of the best first-person shooters ever released.
While many people really enjoyed the first Unreal, the game didn’t have a very compelling multiplayer mode, so a while later Epic Games released Unreal Tournament, a multiplayer-oriented title which used the same graphics engine as its predecessor. Unreal Tournament competed directly with Quake 3, one of the biggest releases at the time, and even though this was a daunting task indeed, the former had enough interesting qualities to make it a worthwhile experience.
The single-player portion of the game lets you fight against many different bots in various modes. Unlike its predecessor, in this title there isn’t an underlying plot or a complex story, instead, you are a competitor and you need to frag other players in order to move on to the next round. The game includes lots of modes like Deathmatch, Domination, Capture the flag and Assault, and once you’ve finished each mode your efforts will be rewarded with a trophy. Trophies are simple tokens which indicate that you have conquered a specific number of game types in a given difficulty. Furthermore, when you play on teams you can give orders to your teammates and tell them to defend you, attack an enemy base or patrol a certain area. The AI characters do a great job of behaving like humans and on harder difficulty settings you’ll definitely see how well bots can play.
But no matter how great AI controlled bots behave, they’ll never be able to replace human beings and fortunately, Unreal Tournament includes some pretty robust multiplayer modes. Finding internet matches is quite simple and it’s surprising to see that there are literally hundreds of servers to play in at all times. While some of these require you to get certain mods, others incorporate regular modes. In Domination, there are three control points scattered around a map and it’s your duty to hold these areas in order to get more points, so the longer you are able to maintain your position around these places, the more points your team will score. In Assault mode, a team defends their base while the opposite team attacks it. Also, the latter needs to perform additional tasks, like destroy x number of computers in certain order, pull switches to open gates and so forth. Then, once these goals have been fulfilled, the teams switch sides and the match will last the same time it took the previous team to complete the same objectives successfully. Like these descriptions indicate, you’ll definitely need to think about different kinds of strategies for each mode, especially when playing with others.
The game also features many unique weapons and items, and it’s really nice to see that these counterbalance each other. All weapons have both primary and secondary fire and discovering which one is better for certain maps is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, handling weapons is quite easy and controls are accurate and precise, so if something wrong happens during a match, you have only yourself to blame.
Unreal Tournament is still an extremely popular multiplayer game and you’ll definitely encounter some fierce competition on the online matches. Accessing these is a really quick and painless process and if for some reason when you try to do so you lack any sort of data, the game will download it for you almost instantly. It’s also really good to see that the title has such an active community and trying servers until you find one which matches your skill level is also fun, as you can get a glimpse of what types of mods and maps are currently the most popular.
Visually, the game hasn’t hold up so well. Graphics that were once gorgeous and looked vivid are now old-fashioned and rough looking. Still, Unreal Tournament supports many different graphical settings and chances are you can probably play it on any modern computer, as system requirements aren’t likely to be a problem. Also, the game offers myriad number of character models and skins to choose from and you can set both the body and face of your competitor, making him or her a little more distinctive from the rest. Something that stands out is level design and you can clearly see that developers put a lot of effort into them. During the game you’ll visit temples, castles, sanctuaries, space stations and many more bizarre places.
Sound probably represents one of the game’s best features. Music is vibrant and atmospheric and it includes many diverse compositions. Voice acting is even better as each character has a variety of taunts they can utter during combat. This simple detail is really well-accomplished and adds more personality to the gladiators. In addition, each weapon sounds superb and at times, you’ll be able to guess which weapon somebody is using based on the sound it produces when shot, even if you couldn’t see it clearly.
In conclusion, Unreal Tournament is still an amazing game even after all this years. The title is a robust and solid first-person shooter which is much more enjoyable when played online with others. Unfortunately, some of its features (like its rough-looking graphics) haven’t aged so well. In any way, if you want to play a great sci-fi first-person shooter on your PC, this seems like a great choice.