Unreal Tournament III - hands-on

Oct 26, 2007

When you chat to everyone at Epic involved with Unreal Tournament III, one thing is apparent - their passion and belief in the game they're making. It's clear that the development team is working like a bunch of miners to get the game done as soon as possible - and while this looks like being November, Epic's ebullient vice president Mark Rein reiterated once again that it'll only be released "when it's done."

Unreal Tournament III is set on the planet Taryd, a distant planet from Earth ruled by three competing corporations: the cyberpunk Liandri, who actually created the tournament; the military Axon who specialize in beefy hardware; and the far-east styled Izanagi, who nab bits of technology from the Axon to continue their war effort.

In the new single-player Campaign mode, you start out playing on behalf of the latter, along with three AI-controlled teammates (or co-op with a multiplayer drop in/drop out ability) to take revenge on the person(s) who killed your dear old dad. You use a cool 3D globe map to choose which branching missions you take on next, à la Command & Conquer, and your choices will affect how the story arc progresses.

"Your choices can have huge ramifications down the line in who and where your future fights take place," says producer Jeff Morris. "The special abilities bestowed by completing optional objectives really helps flesh out the universe, and it's great fun to pull these rule breakers out when confronted with near impossible odds." So, for example, you could find yourself taking part in a mission to steal a rival faction's vehicle - if you succeed, that vehicle will be unlocked for future missions.

Partway through the campaign, the game's fourth faction - the alien Necris - invade the planet, intent on stealing precious Tarydium, infecting everywhere with the goopy nanoblack substance that runs through their veins, unleashing the reptilian race the Krall, and basically turning the human race into an exciting new kind of pie filling. This is where the choices really do have a major impact - do you stem the Necris invasion, or perhaps use it as an opportunity to increase your faction's territory at the expense of the others?

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