Unreal Tournament 3 Beta Impressions

Written by Joe Martin

October 25, 2007 | 07:10

Tags: #marcus #multiplayer #physics #physx #rein #team #team-fortress #tf2 #ue3 #unreal-tournament #ut3

Companies: #epic #midway #unreal

How does she handle?

First thing's first. Fans and n00bs alike will be pleased to know that UT3 handles like a well-oiled dream about something incredibly dirty and that the immediate play mechanics are super streamlined. Movement is easily as fluid as it was in previous games from the series.

The controls are built so that they are incredibly simple to learn, but woefully difficult to master.

Let’s illustrate this by looking at the most basic example possible; jumping. You’ve got the standard jump which will get you over most obstacles and is utterly n00b friendly because the reaction is swift, consistent and mobile – by which I mean you can control your descent by using the move keys. It’s bog standard and exactly what you’d expect from a computer game.

However, for gamers who a little more quick with their fingers and thumbs, there are some extra jumping moves available, like double jumping. Simply press jump again at the peak of your current jump and you’ll do a flip in that direction. It’s been a standard move in the series for a while now.

Unreal Tournament 3 Beta Impressions Handling Unreal Tournament 3 Beta Impressions Handling
Nobody calls me chicken!

For the more advanced players, this can get more complex still and by jumping into a wall and then jumping again once you make contact you can kick off from the surface you’re hitting – perfect for evading sniper fire. Again, it’s been in the series for a while, but it isn’t really something immediately obvious to n00bs.

It’s this excellent layering of elements that are built for different skill levels and has made the game awesomely accessible. This has proved to be one of the building blocks of Unreal’s success. It’s also something which has been added to and re-incorporated into the new game.

The hoverboard is a new feature to the game and illustrates these layered mechanics beautifully.

The hoverboard is available to players at any point in the game just by pressing ‘Q’, which instantly puts them on the board without any set-up – the camera just switches to third-person and away you go! The hoverboard has both advantages and disadvantages though, so learning to use it correctly can prove critical to winning or losing a match.

Unreal Tournament 3 Beta Impressions Handling Unreal Tournament 3 Beta Impressions Handling
Click to enlarge

At its base level, the hoverboard is just a faster way to move about the level and lets players zip about faster than usual. Players can’t shoot when they’re on the board, which means it’s very much a method of transportation and not a viable means of assault. You can still jump around on the hoverboard and it’s a great way to fling yourself back into a skirmish if you end up respawning far away from the battle. Just be careful when you do – one single shot will knock you off the hoverboard and leave you lying on the floor for a moment, stunned and vulnerable.

What makes the hoverboard so fun though is the more advanced moves that it can do if used correctly. Expert players will be able to use the hoverboard to great effect and will be able to grapple on to passing vehicles and hitch a lift on either land or airborne allies. It makes for some great Back to the Future style moments, with players whizzing around like Marty McFly would have if he were taking part in a futuristic interstellar gladiatorial arena.
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