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UT3's Place in the Unreal Universe - An Unreal Voyage

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    UT3's Place in the Unreal Universe - An Unreal Voyage

    Hi friends,

    I, like many of you, had some serious misgivings about this game when I first got it. In addition to stability and UI problems, I was initially turned off by the general feel of the game, and I was confused about how it fit overall into the Unreal universe. UT3 is beautiful and fast paced, but is it UNREAL? Therefore, I decided to use the free copy of the Unreal Anthology that was provided with UT3 and play through the entire Unreal series for what felt like the 8,000th time. Here are some of my reflections:

    Unreal - I love this game and it will forever be my favorite. It had such a big impact on me when it was first released in the late 90s. I'll never forget the first time my character climbed out of the Vortex Rikers, to be mystified by a sweeping valley landscape peppered with nali huts and waterfalls. Unreal revolutionized open space FPS games with an amazing single player campaign, but it also had depth. Each new level began where the last left off, giving you the distinct feeling that you were engrossed in a technological sci fi art project. My problem with most single player oriented games released these days is that I complete them too quickly. Unreal 1 had meat. I go from a valley to a spaceship to a city in the sky to an underground tomb to a lost temple to a nali torture chamber to an industrial goo plant to a massive castle and so on. It always takes a while to power through, but that ending sequence with the shuttle escape is totally worth it.

    UT99 - It felt like a multi-player version of Unreal1. Essentially, I could play capture the flag within the diverse world that entranced me in Unreal. The weapons were great, the movement was great, the maps were great, the music was unbelievable, and the community was amazing. There was always traffic, and winning on the top of each game was like crack. Playing through this game again made me think about how many hours of my life have been consumed playing UT99. It doesn't take me long to conclude that it was worth it.

    Unreal 2 - I think we can all agree that this is the weakest of the series. It was too slow, and I felt that I spent more time killing USoldiers than interesting aliens. Ok, it is true that there was one cool level where you go deep into the stomach of a living organism taking over an entire planet, but the coolness of that level was not outweighed by the pure hell that was walking around the spaceship asking stupid questions in between every level. Thumbs down.

    UT2003/2004 - In reality, I shouldn't combine these two, since they truly are different. Regardless, they both seemed to be a departure from the Unreal/UT99 feeling. UT2kx is FAST and decidedly cartoonish. I love them, and they are great games, but they are a departure. Onslaught is pretty rad, and UT2kx CTF has produced some of the most intense video game experiences of my life. There are a lot more cheaters, but the community is also a lot larger. I can't overstate UT2kx's diversity, but the fact that there is a UT2k4 map emulating the light world from Zelda, as well as 4 million gametypes should give you an idea of what I'm talking about. In the end, UT2kx blew up because it was the game of the hour as online multiplayer gaminig became massively popular around the world. It existed after the dial-up, but before WoW. It had a great moment.

    UT3 - Now, here I am again at UT3. After playing through the entire series, I have a much better appreciation for this game. The movement seems like a total return to the Unreal/UT99 era. The weapons and action get my blood pumping but they are way more "in your face," like a constant DM-Peak match in UT99. I am disappointed by the lack of variety. As a CTF player, 6 maps is a little sad, but I have faith in bonus packs/community effort. I am also cognizant of the fact that UT3 incorporates popular elements from UT2k4, but it is certainly another departure. Despite the UI and stability issues, I like this game a lot, and it is growing on me the more I play it. The plot line of the single player campaign does a good job of playing on themes that originated in Unreal 2 and beyond, but I have to admit that I miss the skaarj. Regardless, the plot themes of all of the games run along a similar vein (oppression of smaller communities, infighting, resource wars, prison culture, advanced technological development, etc.). The necris are cool, and the vehicles are cool. There is still much that needs to be fixed with this game, but my Unreal voyage has brought me a lot of respect for UT3.

    If you think UT3 is an anomaly in the Unreal Universe, I suggest you embark on your own Unreal Voyage. It takes some time, but it's fun, and it may just bring you a new appreciation for a great game that really is only 3 months new.

    Peace

    #2
    An epic post like that is full of win.

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      #3
      That's one of the things that really keeps me interested in Ut3, the way it draws from nearly every Unreal title thus far in one way or another. You definitely appreciate it more if you've played the whole line.

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