Unreal Championship

a game by Infogrames
Platform: XBox
Rating: 7/10

How do you successfully launch an online function for a game console? Well, a game like Unreal Championship would be a step in the right direction and may actually be more of a leap. There are few games that have the replay potential Unreal Championship has which is mainly due to its online features. With the single player options holding their own as well, there is enough variety to keep even those with short attention spans playing for some time.

For those not familiar with Unreal Championship, it's a first person shooter in a competition where one team battles another in a series of different events. These events include death match, survival, capture the flag, bombing run, and double domination. This is where it noticeably favors multiplayer games as the single player mode consists of a tournament ladder instead of any story-based options. Even lacking a story line, the amount of variation keeps the game fresh for single and multiplayer modes due to 48 individual characters spread out over six races with each character having different attributes and tendencies. Team building is also a factor and having the right balance of characters set for offense, defense, or freelance could make the different between winning and getting plastered.

Other factors like having a balanced gameplay, adds significant value, keeping one race or character from dominating the rest. You'll also be glad to know that some obvious effort was put into the AI with enemies doing more than just the given 'stand and fire.'? Often you'll see them working as a team or running when out gunned.

The actual online play will meet most expectations with only a few hiccups involving frame rate issues. You may notice some slow down but overall, the distraction is small and doesn't affect the gameplay. Of course all the functions of Xbox Live are enabled and will keep you playing for some time.

If you have Xbox Live and the 'Mature'? rating isn't an issue, Unreal Championship will disappoint few people. With graphics that are above average and audio that helps draw you into the game, only those who will play mainly in single player modes should be hesitant. Even then it's a solid first person shooter but the focus is clearly on multiplayer gaming.

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