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PS3 Review – Unreal Tournament III

April 16, 2009 Written by Paulmichael Contreras

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Unreal Tournament is a series that has been around since 1999 on the PC, 2000 on the PlayStation 2 and 2001 on the Dreamcast. I remember losing hours of my time to this game with a bunch of friends huddled around the television. Being deemed “Godlike” with everyone around to see how skilled you are is so satisfying.

This popular series finally made its way over to the PlayStation 3 back in December of 2007 in the form of Unreal Tournament III (3), one of the few games that came out on the system before releasing on the Xbox 360. While it was a good game when it released and had mod and online support, there was no splitscreen and trophies were not even a consideration at the time. If I had reviewed it when it first came out, I’d have given it a 3/5. But with the recent Titan/2.0 patch and DLC content, this game is seeing a lot more playtime on my PlayStation 3.

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First, the offline options. You can play through the campaign, which has a basic story included. But like most first-person shooters it is not the main draw of the title. Prior to the Titan/2.0 patch, there was no option for splitscreen options. With the Titan update, however, you can duel it out in splitscreen mode. This allows for only two players at any given time, which is a bit of a disappointment but better than the alternative. So while the glory days of 4-way split screen are gone in this installment, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with two people and some clever bots thrown in for good measure.

There are so many vehicles it's not even funny.

There are so many vehicles it's not even funny.

Graphically and acoustically, the game holds up nicely. It obviously utilizes the Unreal Engine 3, with high-definition texture and shader maps, and nice surround-sound audio that really adds to the game. Nothing really stands out, but at the same time nothing looks or sounds bad either. Regardless, the vehicles here are creative and fun to drive and maim people with.

If this game were judged solely on its single-player component, you’d have a pretty bare-bones title. The original Unreal Tournament was designed for multiplayer, and so was this iteration. Firefights can contain up to 16 players in one game, which is plenty most of the time. However some of the maps are incredibly large, and even with a completely filled server you can still occasionally find yourself alone for a good deal of time. When things get hectic, however, there is usually little to no discernible lag (Of course your mileage may vary according to network conditions, internet connection speed, etcetera) and games progress at a frantic pace that can really get your pulse pounding.

Time to get your trophies!

47 Trophies can be yours!

The recent Titan/2.0 patch has really pushed this game over the edge. You now have trophies galore, a ton of built-in maps, split-screen support and even some new game modes. All of this for free as well! I’m not completely sure why the price of this game is so low given how fun it is, but it is definitely worth (more than!) what it’s selling for! It’s also worth noting that mod support is exclusive to the PlayStation 3 in terms of console versions, and can completely change the way you play the game. The Titan/2.0 patch also made the process of installing these mods easier, with an in-game mod browser/downloader.

The two things really holding this game back are a lack of custom soundtrack support and “only” 2-player split-screen support. While the game is not perfect, I feel those two small blemishes fail to take away from what is ultimately an extremely fun, easy to drop into fragfest which I know I will be playing until Unreal Tournament 4 drops years from now (Between Killzone 2 sessions, of course).

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


Good graphics supported by solid framerate.

Mod support means countless free levels.

Mixes frantic, old-school gunplay with next-gen perks.

9 out of 10

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