Written by  :  Tomer Gabel (4642)
Written on  :  Oct 11, 2000
Platform  :  Windows

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Compared to Quake 3, this game just doesn't cut it.

The Good

While I find UT an extremely annoying game, it does have some things going for it. I'll try to sum them up.

  • Good-looking (albeit horribly slow) game engine. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are really quite good, but compared to Quake 3 the game engine is simply outdated and slow, and the only thing that truly shines is the flare effect, which is every bit as good as it was in Unreal.
  • Good assortment of weapons (my personal favorites being the ASMD and flake gun).
  • Overall good level design (although nothing matches DM17 in Q3).
  • Outright terrific music! Thumbs up to Alex and Michiel (along with the legendary Necros and Skaven). Amazing work indeed!

The Bad

I'm sorry, Unreal Tournament just isn't better than Quake 3. Not even remotely better. Almost everything said about Unreal Tournament is a complete lie. Want examples?

  • Everyone will admit that the Quake 3 engine is better, but what they will not tell you is that it is WAY better. It looks prettier, it is more responsive and it is a hell of a lot faster. Unreal Tournament crawls. On my machine (P2-350, 128mb memory, Riva TNT 1) I can run Quake 3 in 800x600 16 bits with texture and geometric detail levels set at maximum and still get 30ish frames per second. Unreal Tournament in 640x480, 16 bit and lowest texture detail will grind to a 4 fps crawl in even the most small action sequence. It is SLOW. A big battle (e.g. deathmatch in the Liandri map with 6 or 7 opponents) will run so slow you wouldn't be able to aim before you died. That sucks.
  • One of UT's most hailed features, the multitude of battle types, is complete hype. While I will admit that Domination is cool, CTF and deathmatch are just as good if not better in Quake 3, and Assault is outright CRAP. It's just no fun, especially with the computer. Furthermore, every kind of game can and has been MODed into Q3. There is even a project in place that aims to convert UT to run on the Quake 3 engine. The results look promising, and runs MUCH faster on Q3 than on the Unreal engine. So what does that say?
  • Speaking of AI, another one of the completely overhyped features in UT is its "much more advanced computer AI compared to Quake 3". Bullshit. Unreal Tournament's AI sucks every bit as much compared to Q3. Where a level increase in Q3 results in better aim and quicker reflexes, a corresponding level increase in UT would result in completely erratic behaviour by your computer opponents, which will run like hell in humanly impossible ways, dodge your bullets and release hell at you a lot faster than a human opponent can possibly click the mouse. Along those lines, the friendly AI (that is, the computer players that are on your team) get worse and worse with every level increase, which in most cases means that you will run desperately with the other team's flag, get shot at repeatedly and wonder just where the hell are your team members and why aren't they helping you. So how exactly is UT's AI code better than Q3's?!
  • UT's network code is far inferiour to Q3's. Even with an extremely low ping (in Israeli terms) of about 80ms, I still can't aim properly because there is a ridiculously long delay between me pushing the button and the shot actually being fired. With Quake 3 running on a server right next to the one I played UT on (both located in an Israeli ISP) I get the same ping and gameplay is a LOT smoother. And yes, I still use goddamn 64k ISDN dialup. Shoot me. You can't get ADSL/cable/sat. in Israel.
  • As for weapons, I think one of the chief complaints regarding Q3 was that its weapon assortment isn't as good as in UT. Huh? Where did that come from? In UT you have four chief weapons (out of ten!) you can actually DO something with (ASMD, flake cannon, rocket launcher and the Redeemer). How is that better than Quake 3, where you have Railgun, shotgun, rocket launcher, plasma cannon etc. that you can use? And in UT you even have the utterly useless impact hammer whereas in Q3 you automatically get the machine gun, with which you can still kill.

In short, Unreal Tournament is simply inferiour.

The Bottom Line

With marginally better single player action, the internet multiplayer-oriented Unreal Tournament falls completely short of Quake 3. Unreal Tournament's chief rivals looks better, plays better and is much faster. In short, Quake 3 is the better game, hands down.