Unreal Tournament 2004 was released late last week and Iíve had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the game. Last time I played an Unreal Tournament demo, I came out very excited, only to be somewhat disappointed by the finished product for a variety of niggling reasons. The UT2K4 demo, however, is more frustrating yet for one specific reason: I lag.
Now Iím not the only one, mind you, nor is the experience uncommon, but it seems that the majority of people are able to enjoy a bot-free, l33tg4m3r-full multiplayer experience with absolutely no worries about lag. Iíve managed a few decent sessions, nothing to brag home about, but they were likely comparable to what a 28.8K modem player sees. So please keep this in mind, as it may have tainted my experience.
The first thing youíll notice about the 209MB demo is that itís packed with content, quite literally bursting at the seams. Every game mode is playable, and they all have unique maps, except for deathmatch and team deathmatch, which share DM-Rankin. Now believe you me, UT2K4 does not lack for different game modes.
In addition to deathmatch and TDM, as well as carry-overs from UT2K3 like CTF and Bombing Run, this Unreal Tournament demo also features the return of Assault, and a completely new game mode, Onslaught. Missing from the demo are Double Domination, Last Man Standing, Invasion and Mutant modes. The demoís seemingly impressive five maps pale in comparison to the 105
that the full game will ship with.
An interesting and welcome twist is that not every mode has the same weapons. Spider mines, for example, appear only in Onslaught as far as we can tell. Sniper rifles (not the lightning gun) seem exclusive to assault. The translocator is permitted only for CTF and Bombing Run. These choices make sense for the most part, though we wonder why thereís a sniper rifle at all with the lightning gun around.
Deathmatch and TDM donít seem to be the focus of UT2K4 as they were in UT2K3. Almost the entire online crowd focuses on onslaught, with a few assault and CTF servers here and there. While weíre on the subject, Iíd like to take the opportunity to retract some of the disparaging statements Iíd made about UT2K3 deathmatch. Itís still not the definitive skill-defining experience, but itís much better than I gave it credit for.
Come discuss the review and the demo on your friendly neighborhood FiringSquad Forums!