Occupational thoughts

Covering life on the home front.

Unreal Tournament

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unreal

As I’ve already said: Unreal Tournament III was available free this weekend. And I played it, a lot, perhaps too much. It was free to play last weekend too, although my sense of moral judgment overcame me and although I had the possibility of playing it, I decided not to on the grounds that it was an 18-rated game. And therefore if I played it, it would give me Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder and make the parents unhappy. My code of ethics has a limit however, so when it was available for free the second time around, I seized the chance and downloaded it straight away. Humans are like that, don’t try to understand it.
I collected several video samples of me playing UT:3 and there’s something cool to note here: I had to play the game at 800X600 resolution with added power from an external SD card in order to use fraps at the same time as I was playing it.
Any games I have on my PC of late have been Source-Powered (minimum requirements for EP1 engine are 128 MB of RAM and a 64 MB Graphics Card) or they’re just old games (Sin, Commander Keen, Star Control II). Therefore I’ve been pretty lax with setting Anti-aliasing up to 16X, full textures/polygon count. Stuff like that. The only game so complex it forces me to tone down the graphics is Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. A game which interestingly enough uses the 3rd iteration of the Unreal Engine.
However, all this processing power isn’t going to waste. It was clear when the PysX card from Ageia came out that Unreal Tournament was one of those games which would integrate it seamlessly. It’s a game whose graphics supersede it. A little like Crysis. It means that the player-base is restricted to those who have high-spec computers. Which is probably why they ended up releasing an Xbox version.

Gameplay is restricted to it’s classic Unreal roots: It must be fun. It’s like as if some supreme being had found all the things which totally kick ass and just crammed them into a video game. The Warfare game-mode was just a blast. I was amazed at little things you could do which drastically alter gameplay. Open teleports next to strategic vehicles, defend the enemy orb so that they can’t use it to capture one of your nodes, open and close a strategically placed bridge. Despite all that, the game still manages to keep an air of simplicity about it, the aim is one of three things: kill the enemy, capture territory or go steal a flag from their base. The Greed mode is basically a variation between killing the enemy and going to their base. There are some other options called ‘mutations’ my favorite of which slow the game down after each kill so you can see your opponent die in satisfaction and a low-gravity one which effectively messes around with the physics. There are also powerups dotted around the maps which will amplify your gun’s damage/make you invulnerable/invisible. Armour comes in the form of a helmet, thighpads, breastplate or a shield belt.

minigun

The weapons are fairly standard, you have a rocket launcher, a sniper, a 1a53r gun and shotgun (flak cannon). But when used in the game they all have little twists to them. Players can be thrown from the blast of a rocket, this doesn’t lead to rocket jumping, but it is useful when you gain a near-miss on an opponent and they’re catapulted out of your way. The link gun can also heal vehicles and buildings, when you kill someone with it, their body turns to a skeleton. If you kill an opponent wielding a pistol, then you can double-wield it.

In fact very little of the game is what I’d call new content. The deep voice that announces domination, headshots, double kills, roadkill, that sort of thing, was indeed pulled straight out of Unreal Tournament 2004. The weapons, however novel are similar to those of UT: 2004. Same with the vehicles.
I know from the new aesthetic that the maps have certainly changed. They’ve taken on a new gritty dark look which seems to be the head of every design document of every game these days. But they still incorporate fairly basic devices such as one-way corridors (so that the conflicts only occur in certain areas of the map). They are still ‘ergonomic’ in the sense that the player is rewarded for exploring and finding places to hide and places which are totally open and vulnerable to any kind of attack. On city maps you can go into some buildings. I really have no gripes with the maps as there’s loads of them, 53 to be exact. It would take you a good while to get through all of them.
There’s a cultural reference to Shakespeare as one of the black characters is named ‘Othello’.
The game has aliens in it. Aliens! 
Hoverboards!
Evil Robots!

Marcus Fenix and Reaper - separated at birth.

Marcus Fenix and Reaper - separated at birth?

Oh, and I never bothered playing the story mode past the first duel. I’m just assuming that the story mode was a set of deathmatches, loosely related by a set of cutscenes which try to show the humanity of some of the characters. I don’t really go for that stuff too often. The way I see it is that a lot of big manly ultra-soldiers (and the occasional woman) have to go kill aliens, and there are some bad guys who aren’t aliens, but I just kind of ignored them.

The only thing that stops me from actually buying this game is the fact that it’s 18-rated (something to do with the box art). And that I’m seen by the family as someone who spends too much. Therefore whenever I try to buy something, the family interject with a ‘I think you spend too much’ speech, then ban me from spending anything. Which is probably the reason I’ve given up trying to earn money.

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Written by Pierre

March 19, 2009 at 18:31

Posted in gaming

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