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XBox Reviews: Unreal Championship


Unreal Championship Screenshots

The Final Say!

Unreal Championship
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 16 February 2003
Review Score: 9.6/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:

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
  • System Link
  • Voice Communicator
  • Over 25 Levels
  • Dolby Digital

Wanna Be The Champion? Now Available:
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 options!

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

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com