|First Person Shooter
| Blood and Gore, Violence
| The Good
Online and multiplayer modes are a blast
Nice looking levels
Sound effects have great presence
| The Bad
Single player mode is weak
Music is repetitive at best
Instances of framerate lag
Unreal Championship takes an interesting angle on
first person shooters. Rather than offering a standard story-based
mode that gives the players events and goals, the game is
set up much like a gladiator sport. Imagine the fanfare and
competition of professional wrestling set in a futuristic
first person shooter world, where the player selects a character
and a team composed of computer controller bots to fight in
arenas in a variety of modes, including Deathmatch, Capture
the Flag and Double Domination. Completing each stage, where
you win by gaining enough points, whether it be kills or goals
completed, will unlock more stages and even different categories
to compete in.
Gameplay: Unreal Championship is purely a multiplayer
FPS at heart. Even the Single Player mode is really just a
bots-enhanced version of the multiplayer. Instant Action allows
you to jump into one of the game modes without getting into
any kind of campaign. And, on top of the various options,
you can also select from "Mutators", which can take any normal
mode and make it vastly different by employing options, including
Instagib (single-hit kills), Low Grav and Linkgun Medic (where
using the Linkgun heals your allies). On top of that, you
can use the System Link or play online with the Xbox Live
service, both of which are really the reason most people will
get this title.
You'll be given a large selection of characters to choose
from, which are from six different Species, including Automatons,
Juggernauts, Anubans and Mercenaries. While not immediately
noticeable, you'll come to find that each species have certain
bonuses, skills and limitations which gives a good balance
to the large cast. Also, each character has a preferred weapon
that they are proficient with.
Players are given a variety of weapons by which to slaughter
their opponents. Utilizing some of the more unique weapons
to their full potential takes some skill and effort, but once
you do, you'll be laying waste in no time. The default weapons
that you start battle with include the Assault Rifle (with
grenade launcher) and Shieldgun. Each weapon has a primary
and secondary fire action (default controls use the Left and
Right Triggers for these), which often gives even the most
basic weapons an extra punch. One of the more unique additions
is the Translocator, which allows the player to teleport to
other areas by shooting a camera drone and then using the
secondary fire to teleport.
Adrenaline is a nice additional feature to the standard gameplay.
Either by picking up pills or performing kills do you gain
adrenaline, and once you reach 100, you can perform one of
four D-pad combos to give your player a temporary advantage,
like regeneration, invisibility or going berserk. While these
adrenaline bonuses don't drastically alter the gameplay, they
do add something that can be used strategically.
Graphics: Unreal Tournament gives games an impressive
group of arenas to fight it out in. The levels vary in size,
but all have a fine level of detail and are well designed
for each of their objectives. One of the nicer features of
the arena design is that rather than forcing you into a corridor-heavy
arena, there are a lot of open locations and even some areas
that have both natural exterior and constructed interior aspects,
which give players a lot more room to move and fight. I give
Digital Extremes credit for really packing in a lot of detail
into the arenas. Everything, even down to the blades of grass
in the exterior locations are put together nicely.
The character designs are pretty good and for the most part
varied. Some of the Species, like the Gen Mo Kais and Juggernauts
suffer from looking too similar, but others, like the Mercenaries
and Anubans, have enough variety to keep them feeling fresh.
During the heat of battle, though, you probably won't be able
to recognize to many of the characters by their models. Luckily,
each team has different colored markers to let you know who
who to shoot and who not to shoot (at least in theory). If
you manage to get close enough to an enemy to see any of the
details and animations (which are pretty good), you're probably
about to die.
Audio: Probably the strongest part of the audio portion
is the sound effects, which have a wonderful presence. Being
heavy on the bass, the gunshots and explosions really carry
well and leave a great impression. The vocal bits from the
NPCs are decent, but you'll end up ignoring them after too
long as they serve no real purpose and can get repetitive.
Half the time, you can barely even understand what some of
the Species are even saying. The music itself is okay. It
consists of some second-rate techno/industrial tracks that
really lacks personality and tends to get very repetitive
before too long. UC could have benefited from the Custom
The Bad: In all honesty, the Single Player mode will
grow old quick. This game is really meant for multiplayer
with living players and especially those who have Xbox Live.
In fact, it's online multiplayer aspect is probably the biggest
draw to the title. When playing the game with bots, you can
throw just about any strategy out the window as the only option
to communicate strategy comes in the form of either letting
them run free or having them stick near you. Even though you
can alter your team member's "mindset" from offensive to defensive
to freelance, most of the time, your allies will just run
into the fray without much attempt at subtlety. Also, there
are some times where the framerate tends to lag, but that's
often when a lot of people are on screen or if you're playing
on Xbox Live through a slow connection.
So, the question of whether to buy or not really depends
on what you expect from this game. Want a strong story-based
Single Player mode? Skip it. Want some great multiplayer?
Definitely look into this if you play multiplayer a lot.
Got Xbox Live? You should already own this.