Unreal Tournament 2004


Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by:
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Mature Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
System Requirements: Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP, 128mb ram, 64mb Video card, DirectX® version 8.1(included)or higher, broadband Internet connection for multi-player

     Reviewed By: Adam (Six) Birch

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 1 of 5 (extreme)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)

Unreal Tournament 2004.  Illustration copyrighted.

Unreal Tournament 2004 (Hear-after UT04) was a groundbreaking game in the first person shooter (hear-after FPS) genre that still holds its own four years after its release. The Unreal game engine has been used as the basis of many games since its release including Mass Effect, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, America’s Army, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas, Red Steel, Gears of War, BioShock, and Tactical Ops. Without a doubt this series has been incredibly influential. Epic has been revolutionizing the market with the “Unreal” games for ten years now and has never failed to deliver a solid game, UT04 is no exception.

Plot: You choose a character who is a contender in the upcoming Tournament, the most anticipated to date. Your competition is the worst scum the galaxy has to offer and your prize is fame and fortune. This game is pretty much a modern take on the Gladiatorial games it’s the same basic idea, with modern weapons. It should also be noted that while in the story it’s possible for players to be injured, killing (hear-after referred to as fragging) does not result in their death. Players “respawn” into the level upon being fragged and defeated players from previous tournaments return in this tournament. It is never actually explained why being blown up by a rocket launcher doesn’t kill you but there is assumed to be some sort of scientific advancement that makes this possible. This does require some suspension of disbelief but so does all entertainment.

Graphics: While good graphics are a boon in any game, they have never been the first priority of most FPS genre games. The emphasis is often put on gameplay; that being said, the graphics were good for their time but are quite dated right now. Most multi-player FPS game players that I know tend to turn the graphics down as much as possible to reduce lag as much as possible when playing over the internet or lan.

Unreal 2004

Gameplay: The way this game plays has remained the standard for FPS games since its release. There have been several popular multi-player FPS games made since this one, however it is this game and “Halflife: Counterstrike” (hear-after referred to as CS) that have defined the genre for many years. While both UT04 and CS have been replaced with newer, shinier, games in the series (CS2 and UT07) even these new games were compared to their predecessors when they released and while both of the new releases eclipsed their predecessors in terms of graphics and gameplay, UT04 is still worth playing, particularly because the resource requirement is minimal; this makes UT04 a great game for those with dated computers.

Violent Content: Ok so it goes without saying that this game is extremely violent. Whether or not you actually kill the people in the game, you still shoot them and there is much blood and gore. Honestly I’ve always thought that the amount of blood and gore is a but cartoonish and unrealistic but then, that is the name of the game. If you do not like blood and gore you can turn it off in this game so, that is a nice option. If you do not like violent games, this game is not for you, no matter how good it is.

Sexual Content: The focus of this game is completely on the tournament, there is nothing sexual involved in the game itself. I have, however heard of people creating character skins of nude women and using them online, so that might be something to watch out for. With the graphics the way they are and the speed of the game, you wouldn’t really have time to dwell on any of that anyway, and if it does happen (it’s never happened to me and I play this online all the time) you can always just leave the server.

Language: Online the language will probably be abysmal. You are playing with real people and the gamer sub-culture has never been known to use clean language when trash-talking. It is possible to ignore it but if this sort of thing is very offensive to you, you probably won’t want to play any game online. During single player mode characters will yell things like “Die B****!”. You won’t hear language any worse than most R-rated movies in this game.

Spiritual Content: Not too much to say here. There is no outright spiritual content in the game. If the premise of the game bothers you spiritually, don’t play it regardless of how good it may be.


Conclusion: This game is a lot of fun if you don’t mind the violence. The gameplay is phenomenal, fast paced and precise. If you are of the intended audience of 17+ and are not bothered by the violent content, I highly recommend adding this game to your collection. Please remember that it is probably not a good idea to take a game named “Unreal” too seriously.

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Year of Release — 2004

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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