Extremes / Epic Games
(content, play, rankings)
before the actual release of Xbox Live, Microsoft and Infogrames
were touting Unreal Championship as the single reason to
subscribe to MS' online service. PC-style online fragging on a
stable platform was promised, and that's exactly what Infogrames
delivered. It isn't revolutionary by any means, but Unreal
Championship is definitely worth picking up for any online
get this straight right now: those of you who do not own Xbox Live
shouldn't even consider this game. There is a single-player mode,
but there are other FPS titles that do single-player much better
than this one. There's no storyline to speak of, and playing against
computer A.I. doesn't hold a candle to playing against real people
online. There are four basic single-player games, including Team
Deathmatch, Survival, Capture the Flag, Bombing Run, and Domination.
These are mostly self-explanatory, and should be familiar to any FPS
fan. The only two that might not be are Bombing Run and Double
Domination. In Double Domination, a team must hold two points on a
map for 12 seconds simultaneously. Each time this is accomplished,
that team earns a point - and the first team to reach a specified
number of points wins. In Bombing Run, two teams try to advance the
ball through the other team's goal. The trick though is that the
ball is actually inside a gun, thus the player holding the ball
cannot shoot at all.
is really where the Unreal experience shines however, and as a
result Unreal Championship is one of the best Xbox Live
titles currently available. Basically, players run around an arena,
pick up a number of different weapons and items, and blast each
other into oblivion. Multiplayer modes include Deathmatch, Team
Deathmatch, Survival, Capture the Flag, Bombing Run, and Double
Domination. Not only can these be played online, but also via
standard split-screen and System Link play. It's not just the sheer
number of multiplayer modes available that make this a great online
title however, it's also the frantic pace at which the game takes
place. Everything moves extremely fast, and any lapse in
concentration or reflexes can spell doom. And of course, the
addition of voice chat adds a lot (of sometimes-unprintable
taunting) to the experience as well.
also features a few extras, most notably downloadable content and an
online ranking system. These have helped to establish a very solid
player base for the game, and even now (as of April 10, 2003) new
players won't have any trouble finding other contenders to match
Unreal Championship is a beautiful game…even online. Arenas
are brimming with detail and complex architecture, weapons fire
gives off unique multi-colored particle effects and beams, and
various environment effects really help to immerse the player in the
action. There is also a large number of character types available to
choose from, making the online experience a bit more personalized.
The framerate is somewhat inconsistent however, usually averaging
around 30fps but dipping below that whenever a lot is going
on-screen at once. Nothing too bad that it interferes with gameplay,
but still worth mentioning.
is done well also. Weapons fire with impressive booms, and there are
a variety of character taunts to spice up the action. The music is
pretty standard for the genre however, unobtrusive and sparse but
getting the job done nevertheless.
graphics, especially for an online title.
content and player rankings are excellent additions to the Xbox
variety of playable online modes.
only $24.99 now...even cheaper if you look around.
decent single-player mode, but not nearly as good as most other
FPS titles currently available on Xbox.
framerate at times.
gets old after a while, but after a brief break you'll come back
isn't the end-all that some reviews have made it out to be, but it
is still to this day the best online twitch shooter on Xbox.
Single-player gamers shouldn't bother, but Xbox Live subscribers
should pick this one up if they haven't already.