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  Quake III Arena vs. Unreal Tournament - Comparison

Game Play

Q3A: 40% / UT: 60%

Q3A was obviously designed for pure deathmatching madness, and you can't argue that it is second to none. It's more frantic, and a lot bloodier than UT. The term "Die Hard" would well describe a Q3A deathmatch. Not to say UT isn't a worthy platform, but if this category was based solely on deathmatching, I'd likely give the nod to Q3A.

BUT!... That's not the case. UT is much more than just a fragfest. Both games have a Capture the Flag mode, but UT adds Domination, Assault, and Last Man Standing to the equation. Add to that the fantastic bot AI, great maps, and the Mutators, and you basically have several quality, highly configurable, games... straight out of the box.

Winner - UT: Q3A is the frantic more intense deathmatch, but UT has the better overall gameplay out of the box.

 

Maps

Q3A: 30% / UT: 70%

I don't think too many folks will disagree with me here. Not only does UT have about 40% more maps, but they are some of the most creative, balanced, and beautiful playing fields ever to be fragged upon. Among the 50+ maps included on the CD, you can find yourself battling on a spaceship speeding by the stars, in a castle atop a mountain peak, or on the deck of a galleon. Too cool!

Not that Q3A's maps are bad, but a large majority of them share a generic, "dungeon with bounce pads" design to them, and the classic Doom/Quake color palette of reds, browns, yellows, and grays has gotten a bit tired. Both games utilize "transportals" and bounce pads, although you'll see A LOT of bounce pads in Q3A. It's obvious, however, that Epic took their time, and dare I say it again, polished the maps to perfection.

Winner - UT all the way: However, it remains to be seen which title will gain more quality maps from the gaming community. Quake has an army of map and mod makers out there, but UT is grabbing a lot of attention, and provides useful map and mod tools, packed right onto the CD.

 

Weapons

Q3A: 45% / UT: 55%

This is a touchy subject. Many people enjoy simple, powerful, destructiveness when it comes to weapons. Many complained that the weapons in the original Unreal were too "wimpy". When I think about weapons, I want 3 qualities: variety, usefulness, and balance.

Variety: UT obviously wins this round. It has more weapons with more diverse effects, and the alternate-fire capability basically doubles the arsenal.

Usefulness: What's the point of having lots of weapons if most of them are worthless. There's nothing like scrounging around for a weapon, only to find one that sucks so bad, you're forced to continue searching for a better one. I've only found one weapon for each game that I could do without. For UT, it's the Bio-Rifle. Although it does considerable damage, the range is horrid, and is easily avoided unless you are in VERY tight quarters. For Q3A, the grenade launcher. The grenades take WAY too long to detonate, and if you actually manage to hit another player with a grenade, it was probably because they accidentally ran into it. No clear winner here.

Balance: Contrary to popular belief, UT's "eight-ball" and Q3A's rocket launcher are NOT the end-of-all weapons. Almost every weapon, in both games, is quite deadly if used properly. Both id and Epic did a great job with weapon balancing, save for the Bio-Rifle and Grenade Launcher. However, Epic deserves a little extra credit, because they not only had to balance a wider array of weapons, but their alternate effects as well. A VERY slight edge to UT on this one.

Winner - UT by a nose: Q3A has a certain cool "feel" and power to it's arsenal, but UT has a wider array of weapons, plus the alternate-fire effects - all of it balanced to near-perfection.

 

Bots

Q3A: 30% / UT: 70%

Anyone who says Q3A's bots are better than UT's is likely to be either an id loyalist or simply hasn't really played UT. Although Q3A's bots are a step up from other games, UT's bots are almost suspiciously human-like. They'll make mistakes, and when low on health, they'll flee and search for health power-ups. They know little tricks, like making good use of the Translocator Device and performing the Impact Hammer Jump. The bots are also highly modifiable. You can adjust their accuracy or their "jumpiness", make them a "camper", give them a preferred weapon, or have them automatically adjust to your skill level while you play. Not only that, but when you are playing a team-based game, you can even give them orders that they will understand and obey. They'll even return verbal confirmations when they've received the order and when they've complied to that order!

The Q3A bots aren't by any means worthless, but I notice that as you turn the skill level up, they seem to develop a ridiculous X-Ray vision. This is clearly apparent when you can hear the bots firing into walls, even though they are not in visual range. Bummer! On an good note, however, the Q3A bots have a large plethora of some very humorous comments. That is, if you actually have time to read them... :-) It's been brought to my attention that it is possible to configure Q3A's bots, similar to how you can configure UT's. However, the process involves actually editing certain game files, which would be a pain, to say the least.

Winner - UT: Unreal Tournament sets a new standard with it's bots. "Die bitch!"

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