Everything I expected it to be; awesome game, but still has that been there/done that feel to it.
Unreal Tournament veterans won't have any problems jumping into the new installment. It plays very similar to previous installments, albeit a few mode changes and additions. The modes included in Unreal Tournament 3 are deathmatch , team deathmatch, capture the flag, vehicle capture the flag (same as capture the flag but with bigger maps that encourage the use of vehicles), warfare (team-based gameplay; take control of nodes scattered around the map to destroy the opposing team's main node), and duel (a one-on-one match with other plays simply acting as spectators). The mode that I have the biggest gripe over is the warfare mode. Perhaps it's simply because I suck at online FPS games, but it's extremely hectic and can get overly complex at times. Nevertheless, the online experience is the meat of the game, and if you really want to get your money's worth you'd do good to play it online.
The game's campaign mode (as always) only serves to train you for online play. Odds are good that most Unreal Tournament veterans will skip the campaign mode altogether, which would be a bit of a shame. Instead of being a simple tournament, the campaign mode now has a story about a war going on that you're caught up in the middle of. Throughout the course of the campaign mode there are branches where you can start doing missions in the order that you want to do them in. Really, though, once you look past the superficial story you're still playing the same campaign you played before. Even at that, the direction they took the campaign drastically improves the presentation of it if nothing else. The other cool addition to the campaign mode is that you'll get cards as you play through the campaign. These cards will allow you to do certain things (lower enemy count by two, for example) on missions of your choice. This is an interesting way to give the player a handicap if there's a mission they just can't get beyond. The interesting thing about the campaign mode is that you now play it online with other people, which is a pretty awesome addition if you and a buddy want to team up on those bots.
Visually Unreal Tournament 3 is a treat. Even on mid-range machines the game will run at a solid 45-50FPS on medium detail, and medium detail looks good. The game has a gritty, war-torn look to it as opposed to the more metallic, arena look of previous games. Even where there were ten or more characters on screen with bullets flying every which way, the framerate never dropped.
The audio for Unreal Tournament 3 is pretty much what it's been in the past. The interesting thing about this type of game is how it seems they all use the same sound bytes. The game does lack much in the way of ambient sound, but it doesn't matter because you'd never have the time to enjoy it if it was present. You'd be too busy shooting.
Really I don't know what bad thing I can say about Unreal Tournament 3. It's everything I expected it would be. I never felt disappointed with any aspect of the game (except the fact that I'm no good at it online). Still, I can't really quite say it's perfect either. There's no flaws per se, but the game does have a kind of "been there, done that" feel to it. The few risks that Epic made paid off, but not in a big enough of a way that I really felt like it was a new game. More like a fresh coat of paint on an old game. Still, for $20 (for the PC version) there's no reason not to buy it if you're a fan of the FPS genre, even if you (like me) are no good at playing them online. It doesn't matter, because you'll have a damn good time losing.
Fun Factor: 10.0