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Tycho / on Mon, Feb 16 2004 at 6:16 am

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One Man’s Heaven

Despite anything we might have said in the strip, Unreal Tournament 2004 is pretty good even if you decide to settle for human company.  I don’t retreat from any of the things I said regarding the balkanized community their many gametypes and options automatically creates.  However, I firmly believe that the path en route to that inevitable implosion will be fantastic!

If you don’t already have the demo, there’s just no reason not to download it from the official site - they have Linux, Mac and PC versions, so no matter where you work you can play it right there on the webserver.  I’m of the opinion that the network code feels a little cleaner, a little tighter - the “best case” scenario feels more solid to me that UT2k3, though I will be the first to admit that “feel” is not the most scientific term.  I’ve read bad reports about the lag and whatnot, but I always leave “Sodomite’s BITCH KILLER” server at the first sign of trouble, I don’t wait around to see my worst fears about network performance validated.  I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, at least as it relates to server quality.  I don’t know which one of those is the good one.             

It will hit with over a hundred maps built in, as it includes the content from the previous version.  It will warm my heart to see actual humans and not just psychotic robot butchers populating my favorite maps again.  Judging by the server lists I’ve seen, the new Onslaught gametype - a vehicle oriented capture point mode - has really seized the imagination, and we can expect nine maps right out the gate.  Assault - a mission oriented mode that always had a strong following - hits with six maps, which seems anemic to me.  They’re easily the most elaborate sort of map to produce, as they include a whole point by point mission flyby and tend to have elaborate “fiction” that describes them, so six probably isn’t terrible out the gate.  About other companies, maybe you couldn’t say it - but Epic and Digital Extremes keep the content coming, loads of it, well after release - it is almost inconceivable to me that we wouldn’t see those six maps expanded through their now legendary Bonus Packs.  No other game has this kind of history, where the things any other company would shake you down for they give away free.   

And also, I have to say - we haven’t seen the fanciest of the updated content with this demo.  There’s an Assault map, for example, where one team flies spaceships to breach a base in the initial phase.  There’s a ton of new features, too - they’re just cool ideas.  Text to speech, for example.  And, at any moment, you can hit a button and receive a helpful trail that will lead you to either base.  Voice support.  Not just voice support for online games, but also voice recognition for ordering around your bots - “kill them, my robots,” etc.  For me, voice support isn’t the biggest deal for a PC game because I’m typically playing with other people using Teamspeak.  More often than not, unfettered access to a voice channel leads to people saying shit like “Macaroni,” and then giggling.  But I know the kids like it.   

When’s it ship, though - sixteenth of March?  I’ll probably have to get that.   

(CW)TB out.

it’s almost entirely window dressing

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