Packed in this time, in addition to traditional Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Domination modes, is the fantastic new bombing run. As with all elements of the game, it's introduced by an excellent tutorial, and even novice players will have little trouble finding their feet. Bombing Run adds a new team element, with the aim of getting the ball through the opposition goal. Think a first-person version of Speedball and you're there.
The gameplay in Unreal Tournament 2003 is far more tactical than you'd first think, although not to the detriment of those looking for a simple blast. But particularly in multiplayer mode--undoubtedly the highlight of a superb set of games--you need to think quite hard about your actions, whatever mode you're playing. It really can make the difference.
In some ways, the game hasn't evolved from its predecessor. Undoubtedly it's slicker, looks better and is more polished, yet the core of the action is still very similar. Yet it's such pure, engrossing entertainment you'd be hard pushed to grumble. In all, Unreal Tournament 2003 is an accomplished and successful marriage of the original with some very welcome new ideas. Even the weaker areas of the game are very good, but when it's doing what it does best it's utterly unmissable. Don't be without it. --Simon Brew
It's bigger, better, faster and even more addictive than before. It doesn't try to emulate games like Counter Strike or Medal of Honour in terms of recreating the gritty realism of real life war. This is a futuristic frag fest where individual skill and reflexes win over guile and precision.
The graphics as you would expect are eye poppingly good with the levels I've seen so far a class above anything out there in terms of style and atmosphere. The addition of large highly detailed outdoor arenas is a notable improvement on UT.
The game types of old are back with Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Domination (slightly modified) all present. A new addition however is Bombing Run which I had my doubts about before playing it. Having tried it out on a number of online servers I'm hooked. It's american football meets rollerball with guns! The objective is to get the ball through the oppositions goal to score points. If you're lucky enough to find a closely matched game online, you're in for a treat because it is incredibly fast paced and end to end with twists and turns in the scores all the way. And yes team work does pay off, you're even able to pass the ball between team-mates to cut open a tightly packed opposition defence - just like in real sport.
I might go so far as to say Bombing Run is more enjoyable than Capture the Flag which is saying something! Anyway, whoever thought up this addition to the game deserves a very big clap on the back because it is an instant winner.Read more ›
- The addition of the "instant action" option on the main menu makes it easy to form a new game with bots on any of the available maps.
- The graphics rival those of Halo on the XBox. Some of the new levels are simply astounding, especially the outdoor arenas which show water and grass etc in great detail.
- The bone crunching sounds when your character falls down a ravine and hits beams on the way down. These sounds are also present when you continue shooting a dead opponent and he/she slides around on the floor.
- Loss of certain game types. Assault has been replaced with Bombing Run which, sadly isn't as good.
- The AI enemy seems to be unable to use the chain gun properly. You will come across someone and wonder why they aren't firing at you. Once you've wasted them you realise that they had the chaingun. It's just a small bug and it'll probably be sorted soon.
- The sniper rifle has gone and been replaced with an inferior Electric gun. This gun takes time to reload after shots and leaves you open to attacks.
- The grav boots have gone too although there is now a double jump ability which is useful.
All in all, this game is good. I wouldn't say it is a massive improvement on its predecessor with regards to gameplay but it is still a very good FPS.
By the way, you will need a very high spec machine to run this game.
UT2003 is a really good game though. The graphics are lovely and the game plays well enough, with the various modes of play from standard deathmatch to 'bombing run' being lively and absorbing. So this is a definite buy if you don't already have the original UT, or even if you do have the original and a high spec PC and want to keep up with the crowd.
But it does lack one or two of the things that made the original so special. The sniper rifle has been replaced with the 'lightning gun' which just plain sucks. The thinking behind it was that the sniper rifle was too good. When you got taken out with a headshot the rest of your team had no idea where the shot came from so couldn't really do much about it, but that was part of the fun. You had to keep on the move and knew that you were gonna get splatted at least every now and then. Occupational hazard. The UT2003 replacement, the lightning gun, leaves a great trail across the map to show the world where you are and invites your opponents to take you out like a bug. Which they do. Easily. Which kills the fun of the weapon for both sides.
The Assault mode is missing too, and that is a total crime. The 'Overlord' map from the original UT kept me playing for ages, it was close to perfection and I loved it. It was worth the price of UT on it's own. There is just nothing in UT2003 that matches up to the fun of it. Sure most of the UT2003 maps are good, but not quite up to the 'Overlord' standard.Read more ›