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"In 2291, in an attempt to control violence among deep space miners, the Liandri Mining Corporation established a series of leagues and bloody public exhibitions. For fifty years the fights' popularity grew with their brutality. Then... the war came."
—Trailer of the game.
The game was an attempt to introduce some serious changes and additions to the gameplay, trying to reunite the already Broken Base of both Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2004, another major graphics update, and new maps.
The single-player campaign has a plot! It's also the first Unreal game where you don't actually compete in the Unreal Tournament. Instead, you play as Reaper, the leader of the Ronin team, who were rescued by and hired for the Izanagi corporation after the Krall invasion of the Twin Souls colony, while the three corporations face against each other for controlling different universes, and at the same time fight against the Necris race, who wants to infest and assimilate all the worlds they can. The team (called Ronin) was put under the command of Malcolm, a former Tournament champion and the series' face.
Its real endurance lies in the almost limitless potential for modding, though, but the single-player campaign is a fun ride in itself, and multi-player... oh boy, the multi-player.
It should also be noted that, like previous installments of the UT franchise, this one's Game Engine has been very popular amongst developers and their games. Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Mass Effect franchise, Mirror's Edge, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the Medal of Honor franchise, the Star Trek preboot's tie-in ("Star Trek DAC"), and even Infinity Blade for iOS are just a few of the titles which utilize this game's underpinnings.
Bear in mind that tropes which also apply to past games may apply here as well.
- Abandoned Area: DM-Arsenal:
"The Arsenal is a former Liandri munitions plant whose remote location was intended to reduce collateral damage in case of an accident. As Hyperion expanded and modern plants came into operation, the Arsenal fell on hard times. All human colonists were pulled from the plant over a decade ago, and all robotics about a year later."
- Action Girl: All the females.
- Adobe Flash: Ported by Epic to Flash 11, to show Unreal Engine's support for this technology.
- Alien Blood: The Necris have nanoblood.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Necrification process, which uses Nanoblack as its technology.
- Arrow Cam:
- The Redeemer's secondary fire allows you to take control of the missile, and guide it around until it explodes. You are left vulnerable, since you can't see what's happening around you in this mode, though.
- Being gibbed at any point leads the player to a "head bouncing around-cam" shot.
- There's also the SP MA, short for Self Propelled Mobile Artillery. The second fire of the main seat lets you take control of a small missile which acts as both a satellite-like cam (where you choose where to shoot your next swarm of missiles) and a projectile. While it's shooting, you can follow said projectile's trajectory. It has the same drawback as the Redeemer, though.
- Ascended Extra: The Krall were just Mooks in the original Unreal. In UT3, they're a playable race.
- Ascended Fanfic: Unreal Tournament III: Black Edition (a.k.a. UT3 + Titan Pack) has the Greed mode, which started as a gametype mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. Needless to say, its creator was hired by Epic Games.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Whenever you play with the official Titan mutator and become a Behemoth. It lasts 30 seconds, though.
- Back from the Dead / Was Once a Man: The Necris race.
- Badass Crew: Take your pick.
- Beam Spam: The Link Gun. Also, an Instagib match with many players, or, for that matter, just about any high-level play. Shock Rifle beams everywhere!
- BFG: The Redeemer, natch.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Big Bad is killed...
"She's dead. The bitch is dead."
- It's also implied that, in case of survival, he's still wanted by the Phayder Corporation for space invasion, has no way to go back to his home planet, and he hasn't Izanagi (or Axon or Liandri, for that matter) backing him anymore due to the actions of his team during the campaign.
- And if that wasn't enough, the series mascot/hero Malcolm turns out to be the big asshole, but that much was obvious from about halfway through the game.
"A real disposable asset. Tough break, kid."
- Bowdlerization: Shortly after the retail release, (a full week before the official shipping in USA/rest of Europe) a special version was made for Germany, which didn't have blood. However, the blood was later restored as of the first patch, which was out about a month after launch and several workarounds.
- Capture the Flag
- Car Fu: Quite frequent with vehicles in the Warfare and Vehicle CTF modes. Vehicles kill dismounted enemies, regardless of how much health they have. Upon collision, vehicles damage players based on the momentum of the vehicle. However, due to the fact that most vehicle use is usually at the maximum possible speed (actually controlling the speed of the vehicle is a non-trivial task), this generally results in vehicle OHK Os.
- Character Customization: Aside from being able to do this via modding, the game allows you to choose several stuff for your character such as chests, goggles, helmets, etc.
- Charged Attack: All of them of the Hold variety:
- Among the weapons, the Impact Hammer's both fires, the Biorifle's secondary fire, and the Rocket Launcher's secondary fire.
- Among the vehicles, the Hellbender's second seat's primary fire, and the Cicada's first seat's primary fire.
- It's subverted with the deployed Leviathan's first seat's primary fire. It only requires a single click, though it has a significant delay between the press action and the fire action, which could have been used as a Charge Attack, hence the subversion.
"Kill enemies to fill the pot for your team. Kill your teammates to get the pot for yourself."
- Cleavage Window: The Iron Guard females.
- Competitive Multiplayer: It even has everything for all the flavors, some depending of the game.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Just one example of many: when playing Warfare, the computer's team gets two orbs. If you are very (un)lucky, you might even see both of them.
- Condemned Contestant: Still around, though this time none of them are mentioned.
- Conveyor Belt O' Doom: The maps DM-CarbonFire and DM-Shaft, the latter from the Titan Pack.
- Cool Boat: DM-KBarge, from the Titan Pack.
- Cool Mask: Some of the default player customization packs which came with the game allows the use of such masks.
- Coup De Grace Cutscene: The final match ends with Reaper smashing Akasha's head with his Rocket Launcher.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Some weapons and vehicles have functions in cutscenes that they lack in-game.
- Deadly Upgrade: By using the Titan mutator, you can become a Titan, a big hulking bud who has just two (very deadly) weapons and can't complete objectives such as capturing flags and taking nodes, skulls, and orbs. Later, while in Titan mode, the user also can become a Behemoth, which has the same weapons with more damage, its bigger than everything... but has 30 seconds of duration. When time runs over, the player will explode in the same manner as the Redeemer's missile.
- Death From Above:
- Death Is Not Permanent: Justified Trope in-universe. It's explained several times in the campaign that the Respawner technology has such limit, and, in order to make the Ronin' enemies to retreat, they must wear off their respawner charges.
- Defeat Means Playable: The Necris and the team leaders.
- Difficult but Awesome: dual-wielding Enforcers. The reason it's difficult is that bots only drop the gun they're currently using, and they're programmed to switch away from starting weapons the instant they have something better. The reason it's awesome is that dual Enforcers are one of the best weapons in the game, combining Hit Scan accuracy with high rate of damage.
- Doomed Hometown: Twin Souls colony, which leads Reaper into a big Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which ends worse.
- Double Jump: Partially toned down for this game, compared to UT200X.
- Downer Beginning: The intro of the Campaign shows the Krall invasion of the Twin Souls colony. It's implied that, after Reaper was rescued by Jester and Othello and brought to the Izanagi medical center, the entirety of the colony was overran, thus kickstarting the plot and Reaper's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Downloadable Content: The Play Station 3 version had, aside of user-created content for the console, two official Bonus Packs, but again, all the content from the first Bonus Pack and the Xbox360 exclusive maps were included in the second pack, the "Titan Pack", which is also the biggest pack to the date. Needless to say, this pack is also available for the PC version.
- Dual Mode Unit: The Leviathan.
- Emergency Weapon: The Impact Hammer. It also has the ability to hijack vehicles and steal enemies' powerups.
- The Empire: The Necris.
- Faceless Goons: The Izanagi troopers who aren't Ronin, though they're actually the "good" guys.
- Fragile Speedster: The Raptor is incredibly fast, can kill enemies on foot in a matter of seconds, and can deal incredible damage to most vehicles with its missiles. It's also only durable enough to survive maybe two AVRiL rockets, and getting hit with most other weapons sends it spinning out of control. Same with the Manta and the Viper, which are just as fast and is almost tailored specifically towards crushing anyone who isn't in a vehicle, but has even less armor than the Raptor.
- Fun with Acronyms: The FLaG Generators, for Capture the Flag matches, stands for "Field Lattice Generator". Lampshaded in CTF-Reflection, in Act II:
Othello: We have the flag, let's bring it home.
- Game Mod: The series it's known for this, but in this installment you can even do your own stuff for the Play Station 3 version of the game, as long as you don't use materials which don't come with the game. There's even a site dedicated to collect PS3 mods.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Respawning is accomplished with advanced alien technology. It wears out after a certain number of respawns, though, so the deathmatch system, where you have to kill a certain number of enemies in order to break their system, was created. And these are the basic models for Deathmatch: in CTF/VCTF, respawners are fueled by the FLaG devices, and in Warfare, your Power Core provides the energy needed to keep your respawners rolling. All that's left is to explain what's the source on Betrayal and Greed.
- Gangsta Style: The Enforcer's alternative fire replaces this with burst-fire, though keeping the crosshair on an opponent for about two seconds causes you to fire this way.
- Gateless Ghetto: WAR-Downtown..
- Gatling Good: The Minigun.
- Grimy Water: Several stages have pools with different water colors.
- Ground Pound: Doable with both Titans and Behemoths when playing with the Titan mutator.
- Gundamjack: Only with vehicles the enemy team has used. Especially counts for the Darkwalker.
- Have a Nice Death:
"X was X'd by X."
- High Altitude Battle: CTF-FacingWorlds.
- Hold the Line: With the lack of an Assault gametype, many Warfare maps of the Attack-versus-defense variety end up being this, such as WAR-Islander, where a team starts with vehicles and the other team has turrets, (with WAR-Islander_Necris inverting the teams) and WAR-Hostile, where the Red team has access to a countdown node which can destroy the Blue core in a single hit.
- Hover Board with a built in Tractor Beam allowing you to be towed by vehicles, including the flying ones.
- Improvised Weapon: The Impact Hammer and the Stinger Minigun are both stated to be former mining tools.
- In Vehicle Invulnerability: With the exceptions of the Manta, Viper, and Leviathan turrets.
- Invincibility Power-Up: The Invulnerability item, found in DM-Fearless.
- Ironic Echo: In the Act II intro, almost at the beginning of the game, Reaper meets Malcolm. He says that the Ronin team is a valuable asset, something which Reaper replies with "A real disposable asset". It's subverted at first, in the beginning of the final chapter, when Malcolm praises the Ronin team, and the Ronin team decides to continue their hunting of Akasha. And before the final fight against Akasha, Malcolm, after talking of business with a Phayder executive, says "A real disposable asset. Tough break, kid". Cue Reaper's teammates being killed while Reaper fights against Akasha. "A real disposable asset", indeed.
- It's Raining Krall!: The intro sequence to the campaign.
- Invisible Wall: You'll find these pretty much in any open level.
- Loading Screen: The game offer useful in-game tips while loading matches. One of these, however, is about online chivalry:
"Practice good sportsmanship. You were a n00b once, too."
- Meaningful Name: Sometimes overlapping with Captain Obvious.
- DM-HeatRay features the Darkwalker. Put the Darkwalker out of that map, and the name loses its meaning.
- DM-DarkMatch is a match in a factory where the energy system is malfunctioning, aside of being a long Continuity Nod towards Unreal, which featured a map in this mode.
- WAR-FloodGate has a special countdown node which, when reaching 0, sunk the affected core and damaged it with water.
- The Missingno: The Demoguy. May cross with Urban Legend of Zelda.
- Mordor: Omicron 6.
- More Dakka: The minigun.
- Nanomachines: The nanoblack used to create Necris.
- Nitro Boost: The Scorpion and the Viper.
- There are allow speed boost pads on some levels.
- Nostalgia Levels: Aside from those mentioned on the CMoA page for the series, Epic also ported some not-so-remembered old levels, such as Koos Galleon and Turbine.
- No OSHA Compliance: Where do we start?
- Obvious Beta: Shortly after the first retail release, there was a "GUI Breaking Bug" which made the players unable to connect or find to any server, in most cases. This was later addressed on one of the first patches, but made a big impact on the game's reception. Plus, the GUI was incomplete, without Favorites. There was also a bug where the game didn't saved your progress on the campaign. Both of them were fixed as of now.
- Playing Possum: The game allows the player to feign death. It can be incredibly useful if used correctly, and it's more believable, thanks to Ragdoll Physics.
- Playing Tennis With the Boss: The Impact Hammer can reflect rockets.
- Real Is Brown: Though not to the extent of most other modern games, and the result is actually quite stylistic and... unreal. The other games in the series are otherwise very colorful. Maybe it has something to do with that other main franchise from Epic.
- Retcon: The Necris. In UT, they are explicitly described as aliens who have "declared a kind of guerilla war against Earth". In this game, they are humans resurrected using nanoblack, something already known from UC2.
- The Phayder corporation isn't fully explained in the first UT, but appears to be some sort of military unit or assassin's guild. In this game, Phayder is the corporation that creates and raises the Necris.
- Roboteching: The Cicada. Also the AVRiL.
- Scenery Porn: UT3 has many gorgeously looking maps. Facing Worlds, for example.
- Secret Character: The Necris, and the Team Leaders.
- Shangri La: DM-RisingSun, DM-ShangriLa and CTF-Reflection, among others.
- Shout-Out: Check the page.
- Shows Damage: Appliable to the vehicles. The Link Gun tries to "repair" this as well.
- Sixth Ranger: Lauren and Matrix.
- Spider Tank: The Scavenger.
- Standard FPS Guns: Largely averted. Most of the weaponry has a different feel to it, and one of UT's selling points is that its weapons invariably have some function attached to the alt-fire button. How weapons differ:
- The Impact Hammer returns from UT1, replacing the Shield Gun. Unlike other FPS where melee usually consists of a punching or stabbing motion, this item you charge up and run into people with; it can also be used to Rocket Jump. Alt-Fire will release an EMP burst that does significant damage to vehicles and will knock Power Ups out of on-foot enemies.
- The Enforcer returns from UT1, replacing the Assault Rifle. The alt-fire gives you a three-round burst instead of Gangsta Style; instead, your player will automatically tilt the gun sideways if you keep your crosshairs on a target for long enough. Can be dual-wielded.
- The Bio-Rifle remains unchanged.
- The Shock Rifle remains unchanged.
- The Link Gun remains unchanged.
- The Tarydium Minigun is replaces the standard gatler seen in the first two games. Instead of bullets, it fires shards of the local Phlebotinum; the longer you hold down the trigger, the higher the rate of fire. Alt-fire reduces your output but gives you semi-homing shots that impart physical momentum and push the victim around.
- The Flak Cannon remains unchanged.
- The Rocket Launcher remains unchanged.
- The Sniper Rifle returns from UT1, replacing the Lightning Gun.
- The Redeemer remains unchanged.
- The AVRiL remains unchanged.
- Step Three: Profit: The intro to WAR-TankCrossing, in Act II:
"So Job One: Get the tank. Job Two: Hold the drawbridge and get the tank across. Job Three: Protect the tank while we take out the core. Job Four? Watch the fireworks."
- Storming the Castle: The last act invokes this with the Ronin team going on to Omicron-6 (Necris' planet) in order to finish Akasha.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Delivered by Reaper in the fifth act intro, right in the greedy eyes of Malcolm.
Reaper: You're not listening. THAT. IS. IT. We are leaving, right now, to do what we should have done from the start.
- Updated Rerelease: Unreal Tournament III: Black Edition => UT3 + Titan Pack. It's only sold at Steam, and had many Free Weekends, where the people could download the ENTIRE game for free on a determined weekend and tried it.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Par for the course, but this time you have several extra tools to accomplish more creative and sadistic killing.