The long-awaited sequel to one of
the most popular arena-style FPSs is on the horizon, even if no firm release date has been
established. Unreal Tournament 2003 is definitely the most stylish UT to date, but
graphics alone dont make this game. Theres also a selection of 48 characters
within five different themes, new weapons, and a new team-based game thats destined
to become a clan favorite.
New character sets range from the dignified Egyptian-style royalty
to the harsh punks of the Allerian penal colony, while the Nightmare class threatens to
unseat the Aliens as the best dressed. Robots round out the bunch, though they lack the
horns or bones to truly be considered badass.
matter which character you choose, however, the Unreal Warfare engine will make you and
the world you blast apart look gorgeous. The graphics in UT2k3 are simply the best the
industry can offer. The shadows of tree leaves sway across the green, green grass, while
water becomes agitated as characters run through it, the reflections of overhead cliffs
distorting and then realigning. A new particle system makes gunfire bright and
dynamicparticularly notable is the new rippling plasma stream of the pulse gun.
pulse gun is even more notable, however, for a new feature: aim the green stream at an
ally and that stream turns yellow, feeding your ally its power. That extra power helps the
allys shots rip harder into enemies. The effect is cumulative, so that a whole team
can feed power to one player, who can then fire some kind of super bullet. If that
doesnt have you drooling, consider this: in addition to the good old Redeemer, UT2k3
presents a homing gun that calls in an air strike from an orbiting ion canon satellite,
ripping the flesh from your enemies bones and making you smile. The impact hammer
has been updated to a short-range plasma hammer that can also form a shield for short
durations--a defensive component sure to throw a wrench into currently fashionable UT
strategy. Also mixing things up is a new feature of the translocater, which can only fire
five times before needing a recharge, though to compensate the homing disc fires farther
and can be used as a remote camera.
match, team death match, and capture the flag are all intact. Domination has become
double-domination, in which the two teams begin equidistant from two points that must both
be tagged and held for ten seconds in order to score a point. A brand new game is bombing
run, in which two teams race to grab a bomb-ball at the center of the map and get it
through a loop in the enemys base. The ball can be shot through the loop or, for
maximum points, carried in a dramatic leap.
even greater degree of support for mods and maps in this installment. To speed up
mapmaking, as well as shorten the overall learning curve, players can add high polygon
prefabricated items and structures that will ship with the game. Other touches will invite
creative input from the playing community, continuing this seasons trend of taking
the interactive capabilities of all games to the next level.
fans of UT, this title is an obvious must-buy. But theres plenty here to attract
newcomers and turn them into hardcore fans. The hardware system requirements arent
even scheduled to be prohibitiveminimum graphics requirements will be in the TNT2
range. Because true artistry cannot be rushed, Infogrames wont commit to any hard
release date. The best bet is, ahem, some time in 2003.