It’s been a good while since the release of UT2008 and I bought this game during the same week of its release, the Special Edition Tin-Can version. I enjoy that it’ll start without the disc in the drive and the graphics look very good on my system. But I have some “issues” with this version of UT that still bother me even after the 1.3 patch.
A quick history: I bought my first true 3D graphics card because of the original Unreal game in 1998 (I paid $125 for a Voodoo1 card, 640x480x16bit color), I bought Unreal, UT, Unreal2 (which was good – I would like an Unreal 3 game), UT2003 and UT2004. Me an my clan played UT well past UT2003 because… well, UT2003 kind of sucked. The menu interface was horrible, network play was bad, it was hard on the hardware, game play wasn’t well tweaked. 70% of the clan bought UT2003, and after 30mins or so of playing some maps – we’d go back to our UT server and play for 3+ hours. Its not JUST graphics that makes a game.
The UT2004 game was SO MUCH better. The Menu GUI was very good, game play issues tweaked it included 125 maps out of the box, with GOOD MAPS too. It was compatible with UT2003 maps too, but I don’t recall many custom maps. With UT2004, I had quit playing UT Classic within a week… Onslaught was very fun and demanded team-work play, it was fast and fairly simple to play. Voice-chat on UT2004 worked good too. Look at the competing game HALO, its single player was very good (except for some maps) and its multi-player was fun – yet silly. But HALO had only 3 playable maps and many aspects of the game just plain sucked (such as all players looking exactly the same)… Halo PC was so bad, that I think that the demo version IS STILL more played than the full version.
I have about 800+ maps for UT Classic and over 500+ maps for UT2004. The previews of UT3 (an improved name over UT2007 looked great. The jeep driving through the city was amazing, the battle sequence of following Malcolm into battle looked intense with explosions and raptors flying overhead. I’ve also bought Gears of War for PC, which was fun in its own right (I thought it was a UT3 advert when I first saw it). And hope to never see something like SecuROM7 on Epic games – as I and others are boycotting all EA games. BioShock, Mirrors Edge, Crysis WarHead and others are off my list.
Now to my opinions and perhaps fact issues I have with my favorite franchise game. The single player was pretty good, the multiplayer is… not there, still. First of all, considering that UT3 has been out for over a year, the menu GUI is still the horrible mess since day one. It looks nice, but it’s so horrible to work with on a PC. The GUI has been improved in some areas, fixing some very glaring errors… like the ability to ADD a Favorites Server (there wasn’t) and as of now, its still not easy – compared to UT2004. With the 3+ years of UT2004 being out in public, dropping the ball in this area has NO GOOD excuse. Please have a screen shot or video window to allow previews of a selected map – when having dozens or hundreds of maps, most names mean nothing.
Renaming Onslaught to Warfare…? I thought Warfare was going to be HUGE. Instead we ended up with a bit more complicated ONS. At least we have it… as this was the MOST played game type for UT2004. Of my 500+ maps, 80% were ONS. Assault was a good game type, but not easy to customize and required a lot of work to be playable, the loss of it is kind of understandable. I still remember good times with some UT Classic Assault maps. Overall, ONS should have stayed, WAR should have been something more like Assault but without the turn-based system… and larger in scale in general.
Remember me talking about Halo? Or how about UT2003? When Epic released a whole new game tech, the ball was dropped on this baby big time, especially with WAR maps. Total maps included with UT3 = About 35 (give or take some variants). Included with WAR was about 8 maps… out of those 8, only 3 were playable the rest were a nightmare… such as that Chinese map, as beautiful as it is – two good teams can spend 2-3 hours playing that same lame map. People would leave the server soon after it was voted on yelling “Nooooooooooo!” People beg to let it end, let someone score a single point.
UT3 should have included 75~100 maps off the bat. With its new tech, it will allow players to play many maps while non-pro designers learned the new engine and how to make good maps. UT3 became boring… with only a few playable maps. Only lately is the list growing… but with server drops, slow downloading and worse – incompatibility of support files (Still a problem since UT99?!) has made life difficult. Map Developers MUST put revisions numbers on their files.
If UT3 included 75+ maps, with at least 50 of them being very playable, it would helped UT3 market share.
Game Play & Weapons:
For the most part, I’ll give you guys a 10. The look and feel of characters, the weapons are excellent (Still miss the RazorJacks, fun for spamming a room of hidden baddies), Lighting, effects etc are good. I’d like to see a bit less color with team play. You brought back fake-death, it was handy and fun... some of us used it for tactics, or to make a quick break to the fridge or bathroom.
Huh? UT4’s HUD was very customizable… where is here? We could move and adjust the size on the ONS/WAR map. Select the size of our HUD info, the amount of text lines for TEXT CHATS and time… something VERY BADLY missing on UT3! Text flies off the screen, requiring pressing a Function Key to view what was said. We have PCs, make these things functional.
Voice Chat just isn’t functional like UT2004. I don’t know why as it was built into UT2004 and worked well, but its not popular with UT3.
When in TEXT TYPING mode, UT2004 did it right in that the CHARACTER would ANIMATE as if talking into an ear-piece. Why not in UT3? This helps to prevent TYPE-KILLS. Or when looking at a team-mate “typing” you may pause and look out for them… but yeah, many of us have honor to know that a person is NOT in a fighting position and to NOT KILL them. Maybe shoot them in the leg
They looked great, everything is an improvement. I even like the hover board which is SO handy nowadays for those times when bots or users grab VECs and speed across a big map, leaving people behind. But control functionality, I’ll give UT3 development team A BIG F!
1 – No user custom controls. Not everyone uses ASDW controls, or have the same mouse or right handed. Every VEC function NEEDS to have A USER CUSTOM SETTING.
2 – Where is the VEC Zoom Control?! Anyone who doesn’t know what I mean go to www.unreal.com and download the UT2004 demo and play Torlan ONS map. Using the mouse wheel, you can change your view of a VEC from inside to outside to wide outside to various degrees. This worked on Tanks, Raptors, Mantas, Wheeled Vecs and gun turrets.
How many of you fellow players are trying to control a Raptor – a big Grayish blob that takes up 1/3rd of the screen! If you’re tying to shoot ground targets in front, you have to guess it or angle the ship in a way that’ll allow you to SEE YOUR TARGETS! With the zoom control (with the mouse wheel), you can zoom to cockpit pit view for certain situations… and ZOOM out is important, especially for UT3 so you can see enemy flying vecs around you AND if you have fellow team-mates attached to you for a lift! There we are, flying around and discover that our team-mate with the magnetic grappling gun isn’t there… or we sit there and wait for them to type “GO!” “ready” because we can’t see behind us! The tank in UT3 has this ZOOM function to a large degree, so adding it to Raptors, Mantas and other vecs IS VERY VERY VERY EASY and SIMPLE TO DO. Epic, do it for the next release patch – please. Frustration IS not fun nor challenging.
So Epic / UT3 developers… play UT2004 and see HOW THIS IS DONE.
3 – Raptor looks like a lump of poo when destroyed. Aircraft is thin materials, re-do the damage to something more interesting.
4 – We really could use a fun flying Troop transport. I had recommended this a long time ago for UT2004 and before UT3 came out. A variant of the CICADA would do… I’ve seen a customized version that was made BIGGER and deadlier. I forgot what I called it – but my posts are on the old UT2004 forum… so lets call it Vulture… or “Rabid Hen”. The concept is that it flies like a Cicada, but because its larger – you have to WALK into the ship and there are 3 “entry” points. Pilot and Gunners Left and Right. Use the chain-gun turret attached to each side. The pilot controls the ship and can shoot like a raptor. Secondary fire = landing lights (to light up ground and to mark LZ for players to jump off to or to get picked up. The gunners can shoot down forward and back – like WWII plains or helicopters. Secondary fire can drop a chaff like a cicada is optional. Destruction of craft kills pilot, but not other players. Give them a chance to eject.
Cargo hold of craft can hold a Jeep and some players or up to 6 or so players. Players in cargo hold can SHOOT out the back with their weapons. (Imagine THAT FUN!) A raptor gets behind the Vulture and finds 3-4 guys shooting out its rear….
With 32~64 player servers and huge map abilities, especially like those seen in UT2004 in which the worlds got bigger as GPUs & CPUs got better… so far, UT3 maps feel… small and cramped… I’ve only seen a few “large maps”… when I say large for UT2004, it would honestly take about 7~10 mins to cross an entire map on foot!
Damage a Vulture can handle is the same as a Cicada.
UT3 is kind of like Vista (not a vista war), it has many things done nicely – but it could have been more.
I don’t play UT3 much because of a low-end PC, I have a quad-core CPU and a good video card in which I play almost ALL my games in 1920x1200, including Gears of War and UT3. I’ll post about my tech issue with UT3 next.
* Menu GUI = bad, but fixable. Need more options.
* Vehicles Controls and zoom abilities = BAD, but easy to fix… like VERY easy.
* HUD options = needs improvements
* Map bugs and incompatibilities hurt. Need to educate designers to NOT expect their custom textures /meshes etcs to work. Ie: have MAP-AA require texture AA, but server has MAP-AB, but player has texture-AA which creates an error “wrong version” because Texture-AB can’t be downloaded into client. Then if player goes to another server, the problem is reversed.
The best chance for UT3 and UT4 to be successful is if the game is FUN and works well. I see nothing in UT3 that isn’t fixable. Frustration is the problem… UT2004 is still MORE fun to play than UT3 – but it looks old. UT2003 wasn’t fun to play. But what it took to fix it made all the difference in the world.
I see a post for an upcoming 2.0 patch… I look forward to it and everyone should be getting it. UT has always improved with age. I’d really like to see VEC Zoom and HUD options included. This would be the PERFECT time to get that UT2004 ZOOM functionality put in there… it requires little work and would make a 2.0 patch worthy of such a revision number.
Thanks for the good time,