Consoles have in the past never been real competitors in the arena of the first person shooter. The PC, with its ever increasing scope for graphics and processor power has always previously ruled in this fast paced hardware intensive genre. Over the years the console has enjoyed moments of clarity (Wolfenstein 3D on SNES) although most ports of PC classics and even the console specific efforts have been weak inferior attempts. In today's climate the gap between the console and the "Gamers" PC capabilities have narrowed enough to give the console programmers a chance to carve out more and more originality and supplementary satisfaction on these systems.
Unreal Championship on Xbox is basically a console version of the superb PC shooter Unreal Tournament 2003 on PC. The scenario is kind of a futuristic sport where you and your team members have the sole task of spilling more of your opponent's blood than they do of yours. How you do this is irrelevant all that's important is you kill more than you get killed!
The single player mode kicks off by offering you the option of some Instant Action all you do to get going is choose from a wide selection of bots to fight with you on your team. Once the team is assembled you choose a map and off you go. This is Instant Action of the first order and is a good way of having a quick look around the game to see how it works. Other modes available in the single player list are Capture the Flag and Deathmatch which stick to the expected format. Bombing Run is an update on Capture the flag where each team has a base with a ring for the goal. A ball appears in the middle of the map. The aim is to take the ball to the opponent's goal and chuck the ball through the goal or alternatively, jump through the ring. The player with the ball can not shoot but the ball can be passed around your team.
Something that I like about Unreal Championship and this is a feature that could be developed further is the character stats and how they affect the game-play. Each group of characters; take for instance the slow but hard juggernauts or the Egyptian/fantasy anuban characters they all have a weapon of choice (unfortunately they arsenal is not that impressive) and individual features that when you get into the game can make a huge difference and can also help you start nurturing your own fighting style and battle strategy which can make for more interesting and unique encounters.
That was single player mode but where Unreal Championship really comes alive is in multi player mode. Options for split-screen mode or playing over system link are available, but the major pulling power with Unreal Championship is Xbox Live support. With a maximum of 16 players online you can truly loose yourself in this high adrenaline team death melee. The game features the standard collection of Xbox Live options, quickstart, optimatch, voice masking and friend's list support. The game has a ranking page, letting you have a look at weekly or monthly rankings for all of the games. Online is how this game should and will be played by almost all who buy it.
On a good PC with the graphics cranked up Unreal Tournament 2003 looks great. The fogging effects, background detail and clarity of character are really impressive. Unreal Championship on Xbox doesn't look quite as crisp as it's PC counterpart but is by no means an ugly duckling. As we all know the Xbox has "got it where it counts" when it comes to graphics and Unreal Championship does a very good job of making the machine work. The characters, maps and even menus are all designed well and help to realise the game and suck you into the futuristic world of violence.