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System Requirements OS: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Linux CPU: 1GHz RAM: 128MB, 256MB recommended HDD: 300MB VIDEO: 32MB or better (GeForce or better for Linux) SOUND: 16 bit Direct X 9 Compatible AGE: Mature
Unreal Tournament 2003 had received mixed reviews from hard core players of the original Unreal Tournament. UT2004 has gone back to its roots and has tweaked the game so that many of the original UT fans will be pleased. There are game modifications to make it feel more like UT or UT2003. Overall this is a very well balanced game. I would say that it has the best of UT, Halo and RTCW combined into one game.

Game play

UT2004 is a tournament style first person shooter. There is no story other than staying alive. You can play against people via the Internet or on a LAN. If you have no one to play against you can do instant action against bots or play a single player campaign. The bots are quite smart and can be challenging. They have multiple difficulty settings. (Novice, Average, Experienced, Skilled, Adept, Masterful, Inhuman, Godlike) You can also have the bots auto adjust their skill to yours. The single player campaign mode is quite fun. You must first qualify in some one on one deathmatches. After that you must win first place against a few bots. When you complete that, you get to draft your team. Once drafted, you must now compete against them and win first place to begin the tournament ladder! Each team member has different attributes you must consider. (Accuracy, Aggression, Agility, Team Tactics, etc.) You can choose which team members you want in each match. You will have to complete many maps for all the different game modes to unlock the final match. Just like most sport games, you will be offered player trades. Your team members occasionally get injured and you have to treat them. I wonder if it has anything to do with being shot at all the time. Anyway, in the single player mode you will compete in Bombing Run, Double Domination, Capture the Flag and Assault. The final championship rounds have you compete against the strongest enemy team and then the leader themselves.

Game Modes

Like most first person shooters, UT2004 offers Deathmatch game play. There is Team Deathmatch as well. Last Man Standing in another form of Deathmatch where you have a limited number of respawns. Bombing Run is still there from UT2003. It?s like death match football. You basically take this bomb and put it through your enemies hoop for points. If you just shoot it into the hoop you get 3 points. To jump into the hoop you get 7 points. In Capture The Flag you can still attack while you?re holding the flag but in Bombing Run you are defenseless while carrying the bomb. So teamwork/backup is important! Double Domination remains as well. In this game mode, you have two rally points, which you must have under your control for 8 seconds. After that time, you score. When that is accomplished the goals are reset 5 seconds later and the process begins again. Games usually have a scoring limit, often 3-5 points. Many UT players will rejoice in the return of the Assault game mode. In this mode you have objectives to complete. Once you defeat the enemy you get to defend, and whoever has the lowest times, wins. Halo players will enjoy the Onslaught mode where you get land and fly in vehicles and manage power facilities. If you run out of power, you lose. So keep those power generators up and protected. Mutant is also still here from the UT2003 Bonus Pack. In this mode you are either a bottom feeder and can attack anyone or the mutant who everyone is after. The mutant becomes more powerful with each frag. Invasion is another fun mode where you must survive an alien invasion. Easier said, than done!

Weapons

Most of the weapon types remain the same. Some have made comebacks and others have been rebalanced. There are some new weapons to go along with the new Onslaught game mode. * BioRifle-Just as we remember and love the goo! * Assult Rifle-Comes with grenades, is an automatic weapon. You can carry two at a time now! * Flak Cannon-Pretty much the same * Shield Gun- Can reflect ammo when you have nothing else * Ion Painter-Very powerful and has a large radius, don\'t radiate yourself! * Mini Gun-Sprays bullets a plenty, very powerful! * Link Gun-You can combine energy streams for more power and repair items with it. * Redeemer-Still exists and is loved * Rocket Launcher-Powerful but you can only queue 3 rockets like UT2003. * Grenade launcher-New! You launch grenades ? but don?t forget to detonate them! * Shock Rifle-The same as UT2003 more or less. * Sniper Rifle- it?s back! * Lightning Gun-Another good weapon to snipe with * Avril-New! Great for taking out tanks! * Translocator-Get around fast with this * Mine Layer-New! Lays Spider mines. * Target Painter-New! Send bombs at some unfortunate soul.

So what\'s new?

The new game modes and feel of the game sold me on it. Onslaught is very popular and has MANY online servers to play on. It\'s no wonder why, with all the new vehicles, maps and weapons to play with! The single player campaign is a little different. I noticed that you could challenge other teams in bloodrites matches to keep a player of theirs. They will do this to you as well so don?t feel bad. You gain or lose credits when you compete and you have to pay your players. The money system is new, but a welcome change.

So what\'s the same?

Many of the maps from UT2003 and some of the classics from UT have been ported over. Don?t worry there are still plenty of new ones to feast you eyes on! Many of the character skins you?ll recognize as well. Again there are some new ones there too. There are also some unlockable character skins which are still being debated on how to get them all without hacking the game files.

Appropriate?

From a Christian perspective this game has violence. You are killing for a sport, nothing more. Fortunately you can turn the gore (and gibs) off. There is some mature language but again this can be disabled. Even with the mature taunts disabled, there is still a taunt that slips through that I don\'t like. \'Sit still d***it!\' There is no way to remove that taunt, so if you don\'t want others to hear that, your only option is to disable the taunts altogether. :( As usual, some of the females can use more ?armor?. Finally, one of the team logos is of a grim reaper wearing a pentagram necklace.

Bugs

Although the game ran stable for the most part, there is some room for improvement. One of the jumping maps had the bots get stuck to the side of a building instead of dying like normal. To make matters worse, those tended to be the ball carriers for Bombing Run. In order to unstick them I had to land on them and frag them in order to release the ball back into play.

Overall experienceEase of use

This game is easy to install and play. The interface is easy to use and maneuver. There is a nice installer for Linux. For controls you use your mouse and WASD keys by default. Team speak is supported in this game as well. The sound effects and music are very fitting. The music is in OGG format and sounds very similar to the original UT style. There are a wide variety of voices in the game. You have male, female tough voices, as well as monster and robot taunts. As usual there are witty taunts said when you kill a person. There is a couple recycled from the original UT but some new ones as well. One disappointing thing about the sound is the end game movie announcer is drowned out by the music, even if you have music turned off! Very disappointing. The graphics are beautiful like I expected. The maps are highly detailed as well as the characters. On the outdoor maps you can see individual blades of grass and the water reflections are gorgeous. The characters are realistic looking and there are many unique species as well. Some are easier on the eyes than others. You need a good video card to run this game with the highest details, but if you can it\'s so worth it! Finally, this game pushes the appropriateness level. Yes you can turn off swearing and blood, but what they do let slip through disappoints me. You may not want young ones within earshot if you play this game with the taunts enabled. All in all it?s a vast improvement over UT2003, even if it?s no more appropriate than its predecessor.

Final Ratings

Graphics A+ Game play A Sound B+ Interface A- Stability B+ Offensive Content F

Overall 80% B-

{gallery}ut2004{/gallery}

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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