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Near the end of last year I saw a couple of screenshots of Unreal Tournament 2003 in a magazine and I was impressed. The graphics looked amazing and I thought straight away I want this. However I soon forgot about it and never actually bought it until that is, I saw the newer Unreal Tournament 2004 in the shops earlier this year. Immediately I grabbed the box and took it to the counter and bought it. I’ve never looked back since.
The main selling point with any game for me is online play, which is certainly the strongest point of UT2004. This was the first mode I tried out after installing but unfortunately at this time my computer wasn’t good enough to run the game.
My Pentium 4 1.5ghz computer with 128mb ram and a fairly old nVidia Geforce 2 MX400 graphics card took absolutely ages to load the game. It was taking around 5 minutes to load a map and by which time the game was almost over on a number of occasions. It wasn’t until I upgraded my ram to 384mb that I was able to play the game properly although I’m sure 256mb would be enough. I recommend that before you buy this game you make sure your computer is up to scratch and make sure it meets at least the recommended specifications:
CPU: Pentium or AMD 1.2ghz or greater Memory: 256mb RAM Hard Disk Space: 5.5gb Audio System: Windows Direct X 9.0 compatible sound card. Direct X version 9.0b or later.
There are also two methods of installing the game; you can get either the CD version, which consists of quite a number of CDs (I’m not sure how many exactly as I bought the DVD version) or you can get the DVD version which consists of a single DVD which I recommend you get if you have a DVD drive.
Anyway, back to the game. When the menu screen loads up you are presented with a number of different options:
On single player mode you play through matches and earn credits if you win in order to hire teammates to help you through the game and also to pay the entry fees to matches.
This is the online mode. After clicking this you are taken to another screen with buttons along the top. Here you can chat to other players through IRC, add people to your buddies so you can see the server they are currently playing on and also select the game type and server you want to play on. I will go more deeply into the game types later on. Online play is much the same as single player except for the fact that all players are real people making it a lot more challenging and interesting and also that you can talk to the other players through voice or text in order to strategise and come out on top.
This option allows you to host your own server to play online. You can set a number of options such as the game type, maps, number of players and special “mutators” which allow you to change things to do with the game such as increase the fire rate of weapons or enable low gravity. Once you are finished customising all of the settings you can either choose to host a listen server or a dedicated server. With a listen server you get to play on the server and host it at the same time but with a dedicated server you only host it and cannot play on it unless you have a second pc. This means that the server will be less laggy since it is dedicated to hosting.
This mode allows you to set up an offline game and play it instantly. You can set most of the same options you would be able to on host game but all players are computer controlled apart from you.
This is basically a link to the Atari community website where you can post messages on the forums for help with the game or any other reason you may want to post.
This lets you adjust the game to your preferences. You can set things such as graphics quality and resolution which will allow you to make the game run better depending on your computers specifications and also let you set your name and character for online play. There is a lot more you can do here but it would be better for you to look yourself if you buy it.
As I mentioned before there is a number of game types available to you in all modes. You have your standard death match and team death match modes as well as capture the flag and a number of more unusual modes. However there is two game types which stand out above the others, Onslaught and Assault.
In onslaught mode each team has a power core that is protected by an energy shield. Your aim is to power up the power nodes scattered around the map and create a “dot to dot” all the way to your enemy’s power core. This will disable their energy shield around their power core leaving it vulnerable to your attack. The first team to destroy the enemy’s power core is the winner. This mode is by far the most popular of all the modes. You are able to drive and even fly vehicles, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. From tanks to the flying raptors, you will have to use them in order to win.
Assault mode is another great mode on UT2004. Each match consists of two rounds in the first one team is attacking and the other is defending. The attackers must complete a number of objectives such as destroy gates, fix vehicles and even destroy the force field generators of a space station while flying space fighters. The defenders on the other hand must prevent the attackers from completing their objectives. After the first round the teams switch round so the team who was originally attacking is now defending. The team who completes the most objectives or who completes all of the objectives in the fastest time is the winner.
In UT2004 you will have a massive arsenal of weapons at your disposal. You will be able to charge into battle with a mini gun or rocket launcher or stand your ground with a sniper or lightning gun picking off the enemy from afar. There is however a number of super weapons such as the Redeemer, which is a small nuclear missile that you can pilot via remote control to get to directly on target.
Overall UT2004 has great graphics, sound and amazing fast paced game play. It’s not worth buying this game unless your computer meets the recommended specs but I think it’s worth considering an upgrade just for this game, I know I did. Online mode is great, but again, if you don’t have broadband you wont be able to get the full experience from it. Being new to the Unreal games and first person shooter games in general, I have found this game very fun and I can’t stop playing it. Although you may die a lot at first it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it if you stick in and I’m sure you will like this game as much as I do.