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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Atari / Infogrames

 

Developer

Digital Extremes / Epic

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- It’s Xbox Live compatible

- Great multiplayer gaming that Unreal is known for

- Generally great selection of weaponry

 

 

- Online frame-rate can get scrambled at times

- Not-as fun as a single-player game

- No keyboard and mouse many FPS veterans prefer

 

 

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

Review: Unreal Tournament (PC)

Review: Halo (XB)

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Unreal Championship

Score 8.7 / 10

The Xbox has seen its share of mighty impressive first-person shooters since its release. Starting with the instantly-classic Halo, and including Serious Sam, Time Splitters 2, and Medal of Honor: Frontline there’s plenty of great FPS action to be had. But up until now, they all have been lacking one feature that PC FPS’s possess: online multiplayer gaming. The Xbox-exclusive Unreal Championship takes care of that by not only being another high-quality FPS, but with its online compatibility, offers the chance to play some marvelous online Unreal multiplayer mayhem (and at a great price, too).

 

unreal championship xbox review          unreal championship xbox review

 

Unreal Championship isn’t just a port of previous Unreal Tournament games. It was specifically created to harness the power of the Xbox, and the result is a spectacular creation. The same great Unreal game-engine makes the gameplay and visuals rather impressive. Unreal Championship is a real looker, and the level and character designs are top-notch. The only problem is that the frame-rate may be too fast at times, making it difficult and vertigo inducing trying to track down a kill.

 

Also making it to the championship round is the superb selection of game modes and weaponry that Unreal is famous for. Got a deathwish? Join in some vicious “every man (or species; there’s more than human characters to choose from) for himself” Deathmatch (or if you prefer, Team Deathmatch with a few of your fellow bloodthirsty compatriots). Capture the Flag, Bombing Run, Survival, and Double Domination increase the gameplay options to the ultimate max.

 

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Big-ass guns are of course a requisite for FPS fighting, and there’s no shortage of weaponry to unleash some serious hurt. Some are much better than others, like the Shock Rifle and Flak Cannon 3.0, but each has its advantages. Another plus is Unreal Championship’s control setup. I’ve said it before; I think the Xbox controller is perfectly suited for FPS gaming. Unreal Championship has tight and responsive controls right in line with Halo.

 

Single-player Unreal Championship isn’t quite as fun to play. There’s a 

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thin story behind the action, where you put together a team in quest for the Unreal Championship, but it all boils down to you squaring off with weapons of mass destruction against opposition hell-bent on taking you out before you take them out. The single-player mode is really nothing more than a training exercise to learn and become a pro at the gameplay mechanics before heading online. There is a tough challenge presented by the CPU-controlled forces you fight against in single-player gaming, but nowhere near the level you’ll find online. There’s just no substitute for human competitors.

 

Xbox Live compatibility is Unreal Championship’s strongest feature. Having the ability to enjoy a little classic PC-style FPS bloodfest on a home console is an absolute blast. Even better, the game performs and controls relatively awesome online, even without the standard keyboard and mouse set-up of PC shooters. Making the experience unbelievably rapturous is the Xbox Live headset communicator. Instead of typing messages (or pushing hotkeys) for communicating or taunting, all you have to do is speak right into the headset communicator, keeping your hands free for creating all the carnage you can handle.

 

unreal championship xbox review          unreal championship xbox review

 

The only issue with Xbox Live and Unreal Championship is that you will sometimes run into extremely laggy connections and schizophrenic frame-rate issues, making playing an entirely psychotic and headache-inducing undertaking. It doesn’t happen very often, though. For the majority of your Unreal Championship playing connected through Xbox Live you can expect a smooth frame-rate with nary a trace of lag, disconnect or general broadband-related disruption to be found. The development team did such an amazing job it’s almost impossible to tell the difference in the gameplay quality between single-player offline and multiplayer online games.

 

Unreal Championship brings traditional PC-style FPS multiplayer butchery to your Xbox and except for some minor jumpy frame-rate issues during some online matches, delivers a great online experience. (Just another example of why Xbox Live was a great decision on Microsoft’s part. Really, a game this great does nothing but enhance the chance for home console online gaming, now in its infancy, to succeed in a big way. Not too deep as a single-player game, but if you have Xbox Live, then by all means make buying Unreal Championship a necessity.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(March 29, 2003)

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