Often when you create something out of many ingredients, the results can be muddled, resulting in a monstrous conglomeration of lots of nice parts, but lacking as a whole. Rest easy. This is not the case with Epic's Unreal Tournament 2004. The parts are pretty and the whole is a resounding success. No doubt people will find fault with a change, or a lack thereof, but such is the case with anything. Unreal Tournament 2004 should successfully pull fans of the original Tournament, fans of 2003, certainly fans of both, as well as a new type of fan... the Onslaught fan. This gametype is well thought out, flexible, and very deep. Not hyper-complex like Unreal 2's XMP, but very deep. And fun. I can't say that enough. Fun, fun, fun. It's the kind of game that will have you immersed in play, laughing out loud with joy as you play it, and thinking about it when you're not.

Assault is enjoying a very welcome return. Eventually pushed to the fringes of online popularity as flaws were discovered in the original, the new Assault looks to directly address those flaws and give us the experience we all had when playing the original for the first time. The Assault levels in Unreal Tournament provided many of the most memorable moments of that game... the rushing train, the assault on the beach, and the underwater attack. With exploits squelched, Assault could again provide those wonderfully scripted struggles as well as long term popularity. No doubt Assault maps will be most difficult of all to create well, and therein lay the challenge for this gametype. But for now, let me on that truck because I want to steal those missiles!

The returning gametypes are the tops in their class. There really isn't a better DeathMatch, Capture the Flag, or Bombing Run experience to be had in any other game. Certainly no better-looking one! The lesser played gametypes, Last Man Standing, Invasion, and Mutant provide variety and supply just about everyone with something of lasting value. The retail version promises nearly 110 maps (less than half of them are from Unreal Tournament 2003), more than a dozen weapons, 9 vehicles, loads of mutators, and customization that is unprecedented. The Tournament is back!

But this review is about the demo, isn't it? What we have here is a rather large snapshot of the package detailed above. Five quality maps, nearly all of the weapons and vehicles, and plenty of options to fiddle with, all at the low, low price of a free 210 MB download. You can't go wrong.

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