January 16th, 2008

You’re going to hate me. I get that. But I’m going to say this anyway.

Unreal Tournament III represents everything that’s wrong with video games today. Just looking at the screenshots for the latest installment in the Unreal series, I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry, or pound my head into the first available wall. Come on, industry, these are the games we pour our sweat and blood into? Come on gamers, these are the titles we work ourselves up over? And we wonder why we have such an impossible time getting video games cred as an artistic medium.

Granted, in and of itself, Unreal Tournament III is not such a terrible thing. There’s room for games like it to exist in the cheerful, diverse utopia of gaming happiness. But as it stands, Unreal and its fellow hyper-masculine, engine-obsessed first-person shooters steal the gaming spotlight (probably because their shoulders are so goddamn bulky, no one else can get near them). And as a game to represent all other games, Unreal Tournament III sure doesn’t hold up.

Instead of attention to original content, we’ve got “over-the-top carnage.” Instead of creativity, we’ve got “graphics on a whole new level.” Instead of innovation, we’re stuck in a stagnant genre, with a stagnant idea of “amazing” games as the titles that can deliver the most realistic visuals of the most possible guns. And this is our idea of a “blockbuster,” a top game. While we keep making the same shiny titles over and over, there’s a whole world of possibility passing us by…

Tags: FPSs, gripes, The "industry"

16 Responses to “Unreal Tournament 3 Is Everything Wrong with Gaming”

  1. John H. Says:

    Well said.

  2. Cybersexy Says:

    Amen!

  3. Vertiphon Says:

    I used to play UT2004 Onslaught a lot. And I do mean very often. Was rather obsessed with it. Four years on, and with UT3 on the shelves (and installed on my PC)… I just don’t have the urge to play it any more. UT3 is a very solid game, and IS fun to play, but it doesn’t innovate at all. And I hate the generic modern dark look it has now. UT2004’s shiny sci-fi is still far more endearing.

  4. DosFreak Says:

    “Unreal Tournament III represents everything that’s wrong with video games today.”

    You could say the same things about Doom,Quake 1,2,3,Unreal,UT99,2003,2004, etc,etc etc.

    Unreal gameplay really hasn’t changed that much over the years.

    Alot of people dislike that fact that Doom basically caused the downfall of adventure/RPG gaming in the DOS days.

    Some people despise Halo because it stagnated the PC FPS market due to cross-development.

    There are still plenty of “innovative” games out there but I fear that games will only get worse as they get more mainstream. Luckily there’s so many PC’s and genre’s out there that even if 99% of PC games suck there will still be a whole lot of 1% to play……not to mention the huge back catalog of games.

  5. darkpen Says:

    UT3 doesn’t innovate, is “prettier” than the last, and characters with huge shoulders and a wide array of guns. Even with the fact that the PS3 version is capable of running fan-made maps, its not innovation, but simply blurring the line between console and PC, which is blurry as it is.

    All there really is to say about the game, in response to this blog post, is that there’s an audience out there that the game caters towards, and we’re obviously not it. I have a few friends who love the aesthetic of Warhammer 40k, love the Unreal games, and love heavy metal, but that doesn’t invalidate their opinion more than mine, just because I disagree with them.

    Sure, there’s nothing new to the game, but the same could be said about Madden. I mean, really, each new Madden game is more of the same, but with a new roster.

    UT3 is everything wrong with gaming in the sense that its become a franchise, the developers were afraid of changing things up, and instead decided to polish the graphics and performance capabilities to as much of a mirror sheen as possible. Is it wrong from a gaming perspective? Yes. Is it wrong from a marketing perspective? Not necessarily.

    Several Japanese developers have spoken out about how the Japanese audience wants more of the same, how gaming, as a form of entertainment and a medium, has become something that’s passive, and in turn, has made games like Wii Fit sell like crazy. It goes against everything that games are to us, and its to no surprise that companies are relying on selling more of the same, instead of mixing it up.

  6. Chris Says:

    I agree, though I usually ignore any press about FPS games, as I just don’t play them. I have the ability to see through the burly-man shootemup weird genres that pervade gaming these days. I think as gamers we are increasingly becoming more fragmented. I can’t talk to a PC gamer about games, for example, because not only does he play on entirely different hardware than me, he plays a completely different set of games. It’s like a football fan trying to talk to a baseball fan.

  7. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    You could say the same things about Doom,Quake 1,2,3,Unreal,UT99,2003,2004, etc,etc etc.
    I agree, DosFreak. My point is just that each new title that comes out–at the moment it’s Unreal Tournament III–becomes representative of the larger issue.

    there’s an audience out there that the game caters towards, and we’re obviously not it.
    Again, darkpen, I totally agree. Like I said in the post, there’s no reason games like this can’t exist in harmony with other, more creative titles. The fact of the matter though is that this is where the industry (and the media, and the fanbase) is directing a disproportionate amount of their attention–and that’s the problem.

  8. turkmenistan Says:

    The Voice could help by reviewing more indie games. This week’s review slammed UT 3 – but why not give the space to Aquaria, instead? Game blog readers are familiar with the latest indie darlings (Knytt, Mr. Robot, etc.) but they still don’t get the recognition in the press, the mainstream press or on Metacritic that they deserve. You could make a difference on this.

  9. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    That’s actually a really good point, turkmenistan. Personally, I don’t make the decisions about what gets reviewed by Chris and Gary–but you’re right, I could write about independent games and at the least they’d go up on the Voice website. Actually, ok, seriously. I’ll talk to my editor and get back to you!

  10. turkmenistan Says:

    :) I think you’ll dig the game! Strong female heroine + retro 2-D appeal + it’ll play on your computer.

  11. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    Yeah, Aquaria is supposedly amazing. I’m impatiently waiting on the Mac version.

  12. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Oh right, I have a Mac. I love you computer, but that’s a bummer. We saw some shots of the game at GDC last year; it looked awesome.

  13. Gaming in the Media Blog » Link Round Up - 1/18/08 Says:

    […] Heroine Sheik – Unreal Tournament 3 is Everything Wrong with Gaming Unreal Tournament III represents everything that’s wrong with video games today. Just looking at the screenshots for the latest installment in the Unreal series, I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry, or pound my head into the first available wall. Come on, industry, these are the games we pour our sweat and blood into? Come on gamers, these are the titles we work ourselves up over? And we wonder why we have such an impossible time getting video games cred as an artistic medium. This entry was posted on Friday, January 18th, 2008 at 10:18 am by Latoya Peterson. It is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site. « Links – 1/15/08 […]

  14. you're posting comments to quickly please slow down Says:

    Well, at least that engine is going to do amazing things.

  15. BobM Says:

    I hated it so much that I went back to UT99….. and it still rocks. Epic just cant see what a good game that was. In this case they should just reinvent the wheel. Use the latest engine and use UT99 all the way. Will no doubt be a big hit…

  16. Madison Says:

    Very good blog post. I absolutely love this site. Keep writing!

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