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18 Reviews

Unreal Tournament III

Wisely not counting UT2003

Page 3 of 4

Mind you, perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky to be privy to such dark secrets as our own ping in the first place, because in-game, the scoreboard shows no such thing. In fact, there's a bizarre trend towards hiding information you have a basic gamer's right to know: outside of regular Deathmatch, there aren't even any death reports in UT3. That means you never find out how you died in Warfare or CTF.

When a dozen different things can kill you instantaneously, it'd be mighty nice to at least be told the instrument of your destruction. When did that become a luxury? While games like Call of Duty and Team Fortress 2 are showing what a fantastic improvement it is to be shown precisely why you died, it's bizarre that UT won't even tell you how.

I'm ranting pretty hard about this because I'm amazed that such accomplished developers could make such schoolboy errors, but it's worth bearing in mind that much of it may be fixed. Death messages in particular must be controlled by an ini file setting somewhere, and there's a good chance they'll patch in the ability to see your own ping.

Zoom

With a command to tell bots to drop the Orb, or defend a specific node in Warfare mode, you can add a whole 1% onto the score you're going to find at the end of this review. It doesn't sound like much, but you'll see - it's a particularly big 1%.

So we've eaten our greens, let's get to dessert: the good stuff. The good stuff is extraordinary. You've seen the Necris Dark Walker, right? It's like a Strider, only a bit more War of the Worlds, and it walks like a squid learning to tap-dance.

Let's skim over the fact that 'Necris' is the worst name for a faction since the Decepticons, and that 'Nanoblack' is the worst name for an evil technology since the All-Spark - the guys do at least know how to bolt tentacles onto things. Here are three interesting facts about the Dark Walker: 1) it's ridiculously overpowered, 2) it's every bit as awesome as it looks, and 3) it's the worst Necris vehicle.

The best is the Scavenger, which has nothing to do with scavenging. It's a sphere with three thin tentacles, and it scampers along at ground level rather than standing upright on them. It's horrific enough just watching it move, but it can also send out a hovering attack drone to zap you, or tuck its legs into its chassis and roll around like a boulder.

Controlling that mode is like playing Marble Madness on UT3's maps, swerving up hills to pick up momentum to squish more people.

The other best is the Viper, a large, sleek hoverbike that fires a torrent of bouncing energy shuriken. It's a grisly thrill to swing its heavy yet frictionless form sideways into a trio of enemies for a triple vehicular manslaughter multikill, and it's one of the few things fast enough to reliably avoid the gaze of a Dark Walker's killer laser-eyes.

But the Viper's ultimate trick, in both senses of the word, only occurs when it jumps. Its fins tilt backwards, and for the briefest moment an urgent beep indicates that the self-destruct function is primed.

Hit the right mouse button, with your bike pointed at something important, and you eject powerfully into the air while your ride-turned-missile smashes into its target. Aiming that payload at the torso of a mighty Dark Walker and blowing it in twain is pure glory.

The final best - apart from the Nightshade - is the Fury. It's a flying metal octopus with four synchronised death-beams, with the unusual drawback of strictly limited range. It's the shotgun of flying vehicles, and a lurching boost ability makes it perfect for risky ground-strafes.

It also makes it the perfect flag-carrier, but that part will take a bit of explaining.
As you'll know if you've played the demo, UT now has Vehicle CTF. You're capturing the flag, with vehicles. Except that you can't capture the flag with vehicles, because you're not allowed get in one while you're carrying it.

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