Unreal Tournament Review
You can't argue the fact that Unreal Tournament is without a doubt the best first person shooter available on the PC. Not even Half-Life has been able to compete against the force of Unreal Tournament and its "fragadelic" gameplay. Unreal Tournament is 'the' game to get for any PC owner with a powerful video card, a great cable/DSL connection and lots of friends who are all connected. The game's awesome visuals, lighting quick gameplay and some intense sound to keep the action fast paced and lively. To this day we here play Unreal Tournament, not over the internet but with a LAN connection as well, so when I heard that Infogrames will (who at the time has purchased GT Interactive) be publishing Unreal Tournament for PS2 I was getting pretty skeptical, since UT was a game that was meant to be played online and with numerous friends, I wanted to see what Epic would offer me in order to keep me playing this game as much as I did on the PC. As time went by, Epic said that Unreal Tournament would be two-players instead of four, which for some reason was completely false and to this day I still don't know why they made the statement. Time went by, and my discovery of the game being USB keyboard and mouse compatible rose my confidence on the game not being as bad as I would think. As more time went by, I thought to myself, finally I'm going to be seeing great PS2 ports from PC games, and to this day the only good PC to console first person port has been Quake 2 for Playstation. Well now with the enormous power of the PS2, developers are able to achieve a greater deal of visual quality in order to fully bring out the PC experience, more room to work with and thus more FPS titles will be arriving on the PS2. We've already got four first person shooters either available or coming soon to the PS2 and all of them are looking very promising especially THQ/Volition's Red faction. It's times like these that I enjoy being an editor for an online publication, I get treated to some of the best software around and then write about it. Fortunately Unreal Tournament is an example of that great software, the PS2 port of the PC wonder isn't exactly flawless, but it sure as hell gets the job done.
Visually the game can compare to the PC version. Though the textures may not be as sharp and glossy as those in the PC version, they look quite impressive for a first-generation game. The environments are the exact replicas of the PC version, nothing has been cut out so that it could be fitted on to the PS2, every nook and cranny of the arenas have been left identical to their PC counterparts. The detail of the backgrounds is exceptional, there aren't any jaggies to be seen or any flickering and on top of all that, the frame rate is crisp at 30. Unreal for PS2 has everything that you could ask for from a first person shooter, it runs smoothly at all times, even at the four player modes, the special effects are remarkable and kept true to the PC. The character detail could have been better than what it is now, the characters have a great smooth outline but are a bit on the boxy side, albeit they aren't that bad. UT also features some nice looking extras such as the splatter of blood on walls and nice looking lighting effects. Though the textures may be a bit on the blurry side of things, the visuals are still tight and thankfully pretty to look at.
With the ability to use any USB keyboard or mouse and re-create the PC experience, why shouldn't I like UT for PS2. Epic Games has been able to dig down into the PS2 and bring out what is my choice of first person shooter game to get on PS2. Don't get me wrong, TimeSplitters is an incredibly good game, but the slippery camera makes it very straining for the eyes to keep up with, therefore causing a naseous reaction, that would be the case if you weren't a freqeuent gamer of the FPS genre, and I suggest that you DON'T pick up TS if you play RPGs or racing games, and instead get Unreal Tournament, since the camera moves more fluidly and doesn't irritate the pupil as much as TS does. Though my ultimate choice would have to be Unreal as well, I see it as the better game, with more intense action, more fragging and the experience itself just seems more exciting than TS'. The multi-player modes are the same as those found in the PC version and they include; Deathmatch, Domination, Capture the Flag, and Assault. The four player modes play out smoothly and the frame rate never gets in the way, but I will tell you folks this, if you have a powerful PC with a high-speed connection, then be my guest and purchase the PC version of Unreal Tournament, chances are you may have more fun with it, but if you are one of the lucky 500,000 who has a PS2 then by all means go out and get yourself the game along with a Multi-tap you won't regret it.
Featuring over 50 levels straight from the PC, Unreal Tournament is the ultimate fragger, with its extensive showcase of guns like, Rocket Launchers, Pulse Guns, Enforcers, Shock Rifles and many more for a total of twelve weapons. Of course power-ups are present in every stage like health-packs, thigh-pads, armor, anti-gravity boots and invincibility. There is no question about it that the gameplay wouldn't be complete without the luxury of some kick ass action, and that would be the Tournament mode which takes you through 50 different areas, like Mars, a train, an acid infested area, volcano and many, many more with a different hazard in most of them. What gets me most about UT is not only the intense action, but the fact that it is unexplainably addictive, I have honestly never played an FPS title as addictive as Unreal Tournament is and I fear that I never will. The games fine camera, 50 stages, clever four-player modes and best of all the ability to plug in any USB mouse or keyboard is what makes UT my choice over TimeSplitters for the very first FPS title to own with the PS2.
I would've never thought of it, but the sound is actually a motive behind the addictive gameplay. The fast-beat techno songs inspire the hellacious action that goes on screen and you will only be craving it more and more. I'm a person who likes anything from N*Sync, to Metallica, to Moby, to Three Doors Down, all the way to Sisqo, I pretty much listen to anything that has great vocals, lyrics, harmony and most of all beats. And Unreal sports a great techno soundtrack created by the team at Epic, this style of music really pushes the adrenaline to the max factor and this is why I feel that the tracks are ideal for UT. On occasion some speech occurs where characters would taunt each other, but that's about as deep as it gets.
With the compatibility of a USB keyboard or USB mouse, the control is something to behold and really admire. Epic went through the trouble of delivering keyboard and mouse compatibility for fans of the PC version so they wouldn't feel left out, now all we need is more online gameplay, but that's a different story now is it? The Dual Shock 2 works perfectly fine with the game, and to all of you I suggest using configuration E as your premier and constant setting, it is the most comfortable for the DS2 and you'll really get the hang of it early. Big points for the keyboard and mouse, and extra points for the ten different control configurations available.
Unreal Tournament easily got my vote, the visuals may not be as pretty as those in TimeSplitters, but the gameplay sure is better and more action paced, and never sets a nausea state unlike TS' faulty camera view. UT is a four-player frag fest and is without question the ultimate frag-fest out there on any console. Some speculation has been flowing around that the next Unreal game is likely to have online gameplay with the PS2, and that is going to be extremely interesting to see how that turns out. Remember folks, if you have a high-powered PC with a high-speed internet connection, then the PC version of UT is just right for you, if you don't then you may want to check out UT for PS2, you'll be glad that you did.
10/29/2000 Arnold Katayev