The New (But Very Early) Unreal Tournament Is Already Really Fun

The New (But Very Early) Unreal Tournament Is Already Really Fun

In less than 30 seconds, it all came flooding back, as my flack cannon suddenly struck gold. There’s nothing like aiming the secondary fire of Unreal Tournament’s flak cannon, sending a glob of shrapnel in the direction of your reticle, and watching someone gib into a million pieces.

In the waning months of 1999, you were either an Unreal Tournament person or a Quake III: Arena person. Me? I preferred the ridiculous flak cannons, bio riles and translocators of Unreal Tournament, and why I’m so tremendously happy the new Unreal Tournament is more of that.

There hasn’t been a new Unreal Tournament since Epic Games fumbled Unreal Tournament 3 back in 2007. In a post-Gears of War world, it wasn’t clear Unreal Tournament had a place anymore. Of course, it didn’t help Unreal Tournament wasn’t very good, but the business realities were clear. The series took a break for several years, but it’s coming back with a free-to-play version being built in real-time with the audience and community modding at center stage.

As part of announcing Unreal Engine 4 would now be free, Epic published an early version of Unreal Tournament for people to check out. As soon as it was up, I started downloading it.

Even though there’s not much to Unreal Tournament just yet, it’s absolutely worth your time. Why? Because it feels like Unreal Tournament and there’s not much like Unreal Tournament.

(Yes, Quake III: Arena is around as Quake Live, but we established Quake vs. Unreal earlier!)

What’s immediately striking is how damn fast Unreal Tournament is, underscoring how much the rise of console shooters and adoption of the game pad has slowed down the genre. It’s hard to tell if this new Unreal Tournament‘s faster or slower than previous versions, but it doesn’t matter, since it’s like piloting a dang rocket ship compared to anything else I’ve played lately. It took a few matches before I could reliably aim my gun without spinning around in circles, and that’s without making use of the game’s exceedingly useful dodge (double tap a direction).

Since I was my first time back, I wanted some comfort food. You know, a server list.

The New (But Very Early) Unreal Tournament Is Already Really Fun

Matchmaking is fantastic, but it will never replace being able to sift through everything available. How are there already people running dedicated servers in Chicago? I love you, PC shooter fans.

Side note: how much fun was it to slowly watch your old, slow modems attempt to download new maps, skins, and other stuff when you logged into a server chock-full of user modifications?

There are apparently people running servers capable of hosting 64 people at once, but the concept of playing with so many people at once seems unfathomable right now. The maps I was playing on became absolute chaos when you were nearing 32 players. I mean, look at this:

The New (But Very Early) Unreal Tournament Is Already Really Fun

For a minute, I spawned into the same location over and over, being killed before I was capable of figuring out what was happening around me. Unreal Tournament seems like nonsense when you’re first playing, but there’s a method to the madness that becomes apparent with more time. This won’t stop you from dying over and over again, but hey, I was in first place for a second!

I’ll take it. If you’d like to witness my brief moment in the sun, here’s a few matches I played:

For now, I’m patiently waiting for someone to develop a new take on the best multiplayer map ever created, Facing Worlds. You know what to do, Unreal Tournament modding community.

The New (But Very Early) Unreal Tournament Is Already Really Fun

Tick tock… tick tock.


  • Yep, game is still fun considering how early it is. Now it just needs more aussies playing it.

  • Loved UT2004 back in the day. Totally addictive LAN game, and a great wind-down after an afternoon of StarCraft strategising.

      • I can understand that logic. StarCraft is a very brain intensive game whereas for me FPS’ are zen-like in nature, physically draining but everything is relatively auto-pilot as far the brain is concerned and you just tend to flow as you play.

        And as for personal preference, I’ve always been a Quake guy but I can get behind UT because the classic arena shooter needs more love.

        • We coulda almost had it, if 3DRealms and/or Gearbox hadn’t completely cocked up the Duke 🙁

          Theres still a part of me, just a little part, that hopes one day Duke Nukem will get the game he deserves again.

  • yup downloading it now… give it a few days more people will see it and get it more aussies to frag 😀

  • In the waning months of 1999, you were either an Unreal Tournament person or a Quake III: Arena person.
    Bro, do you even Counter-Strike?

    • Well maybe so, but CS doesn’t belong with the traditional DM mode shooters.

    • Was cs not tied to a very cumbersome steam system back then? It’s been a while so I could be wrong. Q3 and ut were a lot more accessible.

  • Wait, they published without Facing worlds? It may claim to be, but that game is not an Unreal Tournament.

    • Its an alpha…You keep your ace until all the bugs get ironed out first…Facing Worlds would be probably be in a big public Beta announcement or even just kept till launch to garner hype

  • I can’t believe people have been able to play it. I’ve attempted multiple times, but can’t get ino a server, and neither could any of the other people I’ve seen in the lobby chat. I could do the tutorials though, seemed nice. Maybe servers were full after the free UE4 announcement, hope to get a game soon.

  • Did Klepek just spend 10 minutes going on about how fun the Flak Cannon was to use, then suggest that UT games didn’t have a shotgun?

  • So many school lunches spent playing UT in particular Facing Worlds in the computer lab….ahhh the memories 😀

  • spent an hour just trying to get into a match yesterday. still have not been able to get a round going =[.

    • actually got in last night. being in pre-alpha it wasn’t the best time ever but i’ll still pop my head in every now and then to see how it’s going.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!