| The Final Say!|
reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 16 February 2003
Not based on an average
The best first person deathmatcher on the PC makes it's unique way to the
power of the XBox. For those of you who cringe when it comes to playing a
shooter with a hand controller, rest assured that this game will have you
changing your mind in no time. Unreal Championship has been specifically
designed to make the game an exceptional play experience.
Unreal Championship Features
- Players 1- 4
Genre: First Person Shooter
- Rating: 15+
XBox Live Support
- Over 25 Levels
Wanna Be The Champion? Now
Unreal Championship Official Strategy Guide
I am sure that many players expected a
rehash of previous Tournaments when starting this game however I am here to
tell you that you are in for a surprise. The number of initiatives are
amazing and the inclusion of two new games, Double Domination and Bombing
Run add so much life and speed to the title.
One thing I should get out of the way is
that even though this title supports XBox's Live service, it is not yet
available in Australia and as such we are not going to cover it in this
review. In this review we are going to cover the single player experience
and also a bit of multiplayer against human foes.
I guess before I get too far into this,
I should clarify: A deathmatch is exactly that: a match which is played
until the death. Unreal Championship is a deathmatch with some unique
twists on the theme combined with some pretty decent AI opposition before
presented to you.
The game looks superb with crisp and
clear graphics and the effects used will leave you speechless. I found the
first few times I was in a level, I just wanted some time to explore the
land and have a good look around at what was on offer to me. Things look
that good in this game, however naturally enough, the pacing is such that
you'll never get the chance to just explore without being shot at!
The game does the right thing and works
you into the action slowly, opening up new levels as you gain in experience
and skill. You also get to hand pick a team from the characters at the
start of the game that are bots using AI in order to assist you. Bots are
quite simply programmed players that are controlled by the machine to
either assist or hinder you. In the past and in other titles such as Quake
III: Arena, these bots didn't really represent a threat, however the bots
in Unreal have always passed themselves off as proper foes to be respected.
There are a number of games modes that
will open for play in the championship and every arena and player has his
or her own story that makes them unique. For the most part you won't care
too much what they are but they do make for some reading whilst waiting
that short amount of time for the level to load up. Take the time to wander
the level in spectator mode before each game in order to work out what
strategies that you might use whilst blasting the enemy to bits.
The controller is a breeze to use in the
game and whilst you can configure it any which way you please, I found the
default setting to make the most sense for gameplay. It must be said though
that the game is fully configurable to the Nth degree, almost too many
The playable characters in the game are
all a lot of fun and it does not appear that any one character had less
though put into it than the others. For the most part I played at the
Harlequin figure so I guess that you will all end up choosing a
personal favourite. Level design has to be applauded as well in this game
as every single level played really well and seems to have been optimised
for the style of play that it contains. The game takes you from inside
bases to the great outdoors and for the most part it does not suffer for
doing so. Occasionally it appears that the frame drops a bit when there is
a ton of stuff happening on the screen but for the most part the game
hovers around roughly the same frame rate which really impressed me
considering the mayhem taking place during the game.
Whilst the challenge of playing with and
against the AI will keep this title in the machine for a long time, there
is no better thrill than playing against a human opponent and up to four
mates can get it on in a split screen melee that is sure to make you lose
track of many an hour. It's easy to get into a game, simply select Instant
Action and then all press the start button once the game has started. That
easy. It's always more satisfying beating your friends than the machine as
in some cases if you are astute enough you can actually see the routines
that the bots take and figure ways to get around it. This was especially
evident in the Bombing Run.
Weapons are a part of what makes this
series so cool and this latest instalment is not going to let anyone down
one iota. Each one has been given a lot of thought and with primary and
secondary modes to keep you amused, there is a weapon for every occasion.
My personal favourites are the rocket launcher and the flak cannon, and I
would guess that most people would agree.
In summary, Unreal Championship is one
game that by rights you cannot be without. It looks, sounds, plays and is
the goods and in my opinion is the best shooter on the XBox at this time of
writing. It is not Halo and doesn't try to be, it is quite simply a kick
ass game that you need to own if you have an XBox and like a solid first
person shooter with tons of class.
Get Unreal Championship today!
- Tory Favro
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