An Unreal experience

User Rating: 9.4 | Unreal Tournament (Best of) PC
Unreal Tournament is getting all sorts of different editions and sequels these days: the incredible 2003, the great 2004, and the Xbox-exclusive Championships, but actually the original is the best. Nobody can explain why, or how, or when, or who, or where, it just IS. Like you can't explain why Sony is an evil corporation that wants to kill Nintendo and Microsoft, they just ARE. Like you can't explain why the Earth is round. It just IS. Like you can't explain how overrated the Grand Theft Auto series are. Its just something that IS. This game's just so unbelievable and satisfying, that it outclasses the other ones and stands tall in a class of its bloody own, repeating the same words: 'I am the best PC game ever created. I am better than Half-Life 2.'

This game's brutal, in a word. And the whole point of the Tournament isn't a very good idea: it's just a series of matches where everyone tries to win eternal life or something. Speaking of life, your life will be lost a few million times over the course of this game. People will exploderize you with oversized rocket launchers, compress you in pressure chambers, decapitate you with a well-aimed spinning blade... the possibilities to see the red splashes are endless.

And all those possibilities are open to you. YOU can shred people up in a rain of shrapnel. YOU can electrify people with shock rifles. YOU can bathe people in radioactive goo. The game's just so simple and basic that it's unbelievable. The matches are just a chaotic free-for-all where everybody frantically tries to kill each other.

There are six types of match to be had in this game, though sadly four of them feature in the core single-player. Seven difficulties are available, ranging from pipsqueak [Novice] to impossible [Godlike] with a bunch of other assorted ones bunged in the middle: Average, Experienced, Skilled, Adept, Masterful, and Inhuman. There are customizable bots that allow you to create your own set of cannon fodder. And you can make yourself look cool and intimidating. The matches are Deathmatch, a selfexplanatory trip round arenas trying to kill the most people and hit the score limit, Team Deathmatch, which sets you down in the same manner with a bunch of allies accompanying you, Capture The Flag, where you nick the enemy's flag and take it to yours to score, Last Man Standing, where if you lose all your lives you're out, Domination, where you and your team have to control specific points by touching them, and Assault, where you have to infiltrate the enemy stronghold and complete a set of objectives. Each match category has its own unique varying set of arenas, some better than others. Some are admittedly crap.

The graphics on these different arenas are good even by today's standards, they're very detailed and actually deliver you into the place. Some, like the CTF match Facing Worlds, where you're on a faraway asteroid with two huge towers on either end, are stunning. Even today, and we're talking old here.

The audio is great too, the music tags along in the background amidst all the futuristic gunfire without ever getting annoying.

The gameplay is mindblowing. It's a fast-paced blend of shooting, shooting, shooting and more shooting. It's even better with a huge amount of players in on a fairly hard difficulty, where the tension is unbearable and the bots really make you work hard to hit the score limit or touch their flag. The guns are satisfying and they're all different.

The Impact Hammer is your bog-standard melee weapon that never runs out of ammo and is always there to provide one last stand. This can be altered to the Chainsaw. And everyone loves a bloodsoaked Chainsaw.

The Enforcer is aso a bit boring, a single-shot pistol. But you can dual-wield with them Lara Croft-style, and on lower difficulties, this can do surprising damage.

The BioRifle is a bit on the crappy side too. It spurts out green lumps of radioactiveness that are a bit useless when enemies are the jumpy sort that strafe around a lot. Alternate fire is a bit better in the more cramped arenas: hold down rightmouse and release a bigger wad of green goo that explodes on contact with a surface and blobs of it go everywhere.

The Shock Rifle bolts out forward shots of lightning that can knock enemies backwards and at least slow their progress. Alternate fire releases a sphere of plasma that does a bit more damage but moves a hell of a lot slower. Because of this, these two can be combined to create a mega-explosion that absolutely pulverizes anyone near it. EAT THAT, YOU DUMBASS!

The Pulse Gun mincemeats enemies. It's kind of like a machinegun that emits spinning balls of lightning at enemies. Rightclick activates a laser-style weapon.

The Ripper is cool. It releases spinning, razor-sharp circular blades that can decapitate people. In cramped levels, this can earn you streams of headshots. The other fire releases explosive blades.

The Minigun is the minigun of the game and quite boring next to the more unique guns, but it's still a powerful rapidfire weapon that doesn't seem to overheat.

The Flak Cannon is my alltime favourite. There's nothing more satisfying in the game by going upclose to someone and ripping them apart with whitehot shrapnel. It's a bit like a shotgun, but can also spit out bombs.

The Rocket Launcher is a bit like any other rocket launcher, unleashing those explosive projectiles. Only this one can fire up to six at a time.

The Sniper Rifle is just a sniper rifle.

The Redeemer can easily turn the tide of any battle. This fires a small nuclear weapon that explodes and emits a pulverizing wave that implodes anyone unfortunate enough to be near it. Alt-fire lets you control it and fire it up the ass of your least favourite person in the match. That is so fun online, when you laugh at all the people who type in threatening messages to you.

But that's enough now. This review's already longwinded, but to do this game the justice it deserves it'd have to be double this length. Buy it now. It's a satisfying blast that is easily the most amazing game known to man. On PC, anyway.

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