Product: Unreal Tournament 3
Company: Midway
Date: 07/18/2007
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Originally going by the name Unreal Tournament 2007, Unreal Tournament III is finally winding down development and will soon hit store shelves. Midway showed off the game at E3 this year and made a few surprise announcements as well.

Although Unreal Tournament III is very much an online experience, it will feature more of a single-player experience than other versions, though it will mostly fill in the backstory behind the game rather than lead players through a long, involving storyline. In the single-player game, you’ll play as a young man who sets out to destroy one of the galaxy’s mega-corporations. Your quest for revenge is interrupted, however, when the Necris invade the galaxy.

Multiplayer matches will put the Necris against the mega corporations that rule the galaxy. Each faction will have access to specialized vehicles. The corporations will use the Axon vehicles from Unreal Tournament 2004. These include the hoverbike, jeep-like Hellbender and heavy Goliath tank. The Necris will use a set of new vehicles; a hoverbike, the Nemesis tank and Dark-Walker, a tripod walker.

Out of the box, UT3 will include 40 maps and support up to 24 players online. That number will include real players as well as spawned A.I. bots. You and your friends will be able to take on the bots as a group or split up and fight each other with A.I. allies. The A.I. has been beefed up considerably, so even if you have friends, you will still have a tough time. Several multiplayer match types will be included, many from Unreal Tournament 2004.

Unreal Tournament III will include eleven different weapons, each with primary and alternate fire modes. Although none of the weapons are new to the series, all have been tweaked and modified, giving them better functionality or new uses. For example, the Biogun will now disintegrate opponents. Other weapons include a flak cannon, link gun and the ever-popular rocket launcher.

Any mention of UT3, or really anything from Epic, can’t go without at least a passing remark about how stellar the visuals look. The Unreal Engine has been used in a number of next-gen games, including Gears of War, and UT3 manages to outstripe them all. Character and vehicle models are intricately detailed and look incredible. Landscapes share the same level of detail and the entire thing looks to run smoothly – though computer specs will play a big part in just how great and smooth the game runs. As always, Epic will include the ability to scale performance and visuals in the PC version. By comparision, the PS3 version looks equally as sharp and will make you glad you got that second mortgage for that sweet 1080p HDTV.

One of the bigger announcements at E3 involving the PS3 version of UT3 is that PS3 players will be able to download mods from the PC version and play them on their PS3. Players will be able to download mods onto memory sticks and load them into the game. This function will be exclusive to the PS3 (and, obviously, the PC) and will not appear in the 360 version.

The PS3 version will include some console-specific functions. The SIXAXIS’s tilt functions can be used to steer vehicles, like the hoverboard, or the Redeemer missle. Controls and other functions are also being tweaked to better support the gamepad.

Both the PC and PS3 versions will be available this November. Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until early next year due to the game being recently announced as a console timed-exclusive for the PS3.

Starscream aka Ricky Tucker

GameVortex PSIllustrated