BeyondUnreal Hits UK Unreal Tournament 3 Launch Party

It’s not often that twice in the same year I get to go to two special events in two different cities. First, it was the Evening with Epic Games & Autodesk in London where I got to meet Chris Wells from Epic Games. Next, I was in Birmingham actually getting to play UT3.

To start things off... a quick thanks to Midway, Epic, and Omega Sektor who put on the event. Omega Sektor was an amazing venue with loads of PCs set up with UT3, loads of banners, red lights, and the UT soundtrack playing over the speakers to set the mood.

There was a great trailer that showed off the main Unreal Tournament characters. Malcolm looked good! Renders are one thing, but in-game he looks even better. The scenes shown during the trailer point out what is going on in the world of UT3 and how the attacks came about and it leaves you wanting more. I would have loved to have a good hour or two to play the single-player game to see what's going on… but I had blood to spill - Impact Hammer Style!

The event started off with a quick word or two from Mark Rein who gave a quick overview for the plans for the day, including news of a playable version on the PS3. I was told they are still aiming for a PS3 release in 2007.

Wow, today was amazing! Playing the complete Unreal Tournament 3 game I noticed loads of updates since the beta demo only a few weeks ago. It feels complete. I was asked to look out for user interface (UI) changes made since the beta demo… and there are a few. I'm still not a huge fan of the UI as it feels far more like a console rather than a PC. It is annoying to have to scroll through options and menus (I want UWindows Back!). The voting system was good but plagued with the aforementioned scrolling interface. I got tired of waiting for the line highlight to catch up with my mouse.

The server browser is okay in my opinion. The UT2004 browser was much better as there are too many hurdles to jump to actually get there to find a server. I didn't ask but listen servers have very few controls easily accessible for server management. I don't know if WebAdmin is in as there weren't any server options to enable it when browsing through settings and options.

The HUD options are a bit off. During a ten minute game I was unable to get the countdown box to appear, even after setting everything back to default. The layout hasn't changed since the demo and the weapons boxes along the bottom don't give enough detail on ammo left etc.

The game itself looks good. I played a fair number of hours that afternoon and although there were a couple of bugs in that version, it seemed very complete. It’s fast paced with loads of gibs flying everywhere and people attacking from all sides. It feels much like UT should – and has in the past - and I can't wait for its release.

All game types were there, though I only had a chance to play some Deathmatch and, Vehicle Capture the Flag. I did see some Warfare going on in Torlan, but didn’t play.

I was able to jump around like a crazy person in all the DM maps from the demo, including a few new levels:

  • DM-Arsenal
  • DM-RisingSun
  • DM-CarbonFire
  • DM-Deck
  • DM-Defiance
  • DM-Deimos
  • DM-Diesel
  • DM-Biohazard
  • DM-Gateway
  • DM-Fearless
  • DM-Sentinel
  • DM-Sanctuary


  • vCTF-Kargo

Deck is back and it looks good. Like the level in UT2004, the Flak corridor wraps around to the BioRifle and ShockRifle.

DM-Gateway was another great map, providing players with portals linked to three themed areas: snow, jungle and space. Each area has different effects on the player. Space has low gravity, snow has some impressive wind effects, and the jungle has a river running through it. The lack of gravity in space obviously affects the game play, as I found myself on the wrong end of several shock combos and rockets in mid air. It was my favourite map of the day as it showed exactly what we can expect from Unreal Engine 3. Yes, we’ve all seen Gears of War and how pretty it looks, but being able to have three different areas in the same map with smooth transfer between them is even better.

Vehicle CTF is a good laugh, and being able to scoot round on a hover board can make up for some of the distance between flags and weapons. I got the feeling a few people had been playing far too much of the demo as over and over those maps kept popping up, when all I wanted to do was see new things and try new maps.

Don’t worry; the obvious bugs have disappeared from what we saw. Rumour was we weren’t playing the Gold version, but rather a late-release client which was a much later build than that of the beta demo.

The tournaments were pretty amazing, with the top two of each group going on to a final game, the winners of which received various prizes supplied by sponsors of the event.

The PS3 version was displayed on a 42" Samsung LCD TV. It looked good and from the brief parts I saw in action it played pretty well. The UI seems to work well on the pad but it may be annoying when typing names and passwords. Compared to the PC version the looks are there but the polish is not. There are a number of bugs to still sort out, such as the Rocket Launcher firing a dud on every first shot. It is worth waiting for if you are a PS3 owner but if not, the PC version is the way to go.