Last year Epic announced it was creating a new Unreal Tournament game and they were going to be doing things a bit different. Instead of creating a retail copy like in past iterations, the new Unreal Tournament would be released for free and developed in the open with the community. Recently at GDC they showed off a build of Unreal Tournament running on SteamOS/Linux and after seeing how well it was running in 4K I decided to see how well it would run on my PC.

Come to find out, you can download and install the latest pre-alpha build of Unreal Tournament on Mac and Windows right now by heading over to the site and registering. Sign up is simple and one thing you will notice after you download the app is that Epic is building a games launcher similar to Steam or Battle.net. The launcher comes with the things you normally have like a friends list, list of games and news feed. The launcher worked well for me but seemed like it was missing some polish that other launchers have. I add the Epic Games Launcher to the list of game store/launchers I have beyond Steam, Battle.net, Uplay, Origin and now Epic.

The game ran pretty poorly on my Mac even at 720p. It ran at pretty low settings and it still wasn't great so I didn't spend much time playing the game there. I imagine they are nearly 100% focused on the Windows/PC market and as the game marches out of Alpha things on the Mac should get better.

After installing it on my PC the game ran like a dream. The game runs with a very high frame rate and was buttery smooth at 1080p. I maxed out the resolution on my monitor(2560x1600) and lost some frames but everything still looked good. The game started suffering when I increased my settings but I can always drop resolution to adjust.

The game feels like a refresh to the old Unreal Tournament we all love. Focusing on Deathmatch and Capture the Flag is essential for any Unreal Tournament game and those modes are done well. They are somewhat light on modifiers compared to the old games but those should come with time. The games art is also fairly light at the moment and lacks the rich textures of UT2004 and UTBlack but even with more simplified graphics, the game looks great.

I played a few bot & online matches and had fun. When I was playing there were 400 others playing too so it's a pretty active game for early alpha. I also got my ass handed to me so if you are looking for the challenge of the old Unreal Tournament this game has it.

Epic is a company like any other so one thing I was wondering about was how they are going to make money from the game releasing it for free. They have said they won't do micro transactions or the like so unless this game is charitable, some kind of money making plan is in order. In the Epic Games Launcher they have an Unreal market where players can create all manner of helmets & skins to sell. Epic takes a cut of the sale and this is how they plan to fund the game. It's a pretty solid model that works well for Valve & Blizzard and I hope Epic can make the game work with it.

If you are looking to test out the new Unreal Tournament early alpha you can head over to the site, register and download the launcher. As the game continues to advance I'll keep you all posted. I am happy to see Epic come back and give Unreal Tournament some love and hope this version lives up to the legacy of it's past.

http://www.unrealtournament.com/

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/06/2015 at 04:50am

I didn't realize it was out either, and I was coming to post this myself earlier. I'm in the process of downloading it to Mac and PC as we speak. My Mac technically meets the system requirements but I bet the Intel graphics are going to make it unplayable. I'm going to try it, at least! Borderlands 2 does well, as do some other new games, so why not?

rettisawesome wrote on 03/06/2015 at 04:03pm

omg. UT is the best LAN party game ever. many hour of CtF and of course CAR BALL! (google it if you must)
this looks amazing. not sure if my comp is up to the task. but imma try anyways. good find!

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/07/2015 at 05:38am

Your computer is up to the task, I'd almost bet on it.

I just played around with my Mac and PC, and my Mac has fairly meager specs for gaming, with Intel integrated graphics. It autodetects your hardware at first launch, and while it didn't look pretty, it was very smooth.

My gaming PC is much better, though. I could hike all the graphics settings to high (but not epic) and get smooth fps.

This feels just like the original UT with some polish. The controls handle beautifully, and my favorite weapon, the flak cannon, is still as satisfying and chaotic as ever. The bot AI is also still as dumb as ever. Maybe dumber. But this is an alpha, and that can change.

Overall it's definitely worth a look.

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