So a while ago I downloaded the Unreal 3 Demo for PC. I’ve read a decent bit about what people thought of it, and figured it was time to try it out. Today I finally got around to taking a crack at it. Needless to say, I won’t be supporting it in any fashion. Here’s how it went:
1. First of all, I tried playing the demo a few weeks ago when I didn’t have an internet connection. Nope – no go. It requires you to register an account, even to play single player. Seriously – for a game that is supposed to be pick-up-and-play, it requires an awful lot of hassle, even to play single player.
2. When I did go to play it today, here’s a brief synapsis of what happened:
- I click to run the Unreal 3 Demo from the start menu. I wait a good while before anything appears on the screen. When the splash screen does appear, my harddrive starts to thrash like mad, intermittantly. I’m fine with that – it’s loading, right?
- Despite the intermittant harddrive thrashing, it does eventually load. Something saying what is being loaded might be nice. The game begins…(well, not quite).
- I am then confronted by a series of advertisements. Yes, I call them advertisements. Do I really care if the game is made by Midway, or that it’s powered by “Unreal Technology”? Gee, is it called UNREAL Tournament? Why Do I need to be confronted with a short video of an animated NVidia logo, especially when I already run an NVidia card? If your product is good enough that I bought it the first time, maybe you should thank me for buying an NVidia card, rather than forcing more advertising down my digital throat.
- I then get to the main menu, and go through the hassle of registration. Strangely enough, I have to use my secondary email account, as it appears my first was already registered. Is this Unreal Tournament that I am registering for, or is it GameSpy? Make it clear! Tell me exactly what’s going, preferably in as few words as possible.
- I manage to navigate through the menus to try some instant action. The menu layout could be more consistant – you have me click in the middle of the screen on a list of things several times in a row, then prevent me from doing so on the next menu. Oh, wait – there’s Previous and Next buttons down at the bottom now. I guess I will have to use those now instead. A bit counter intuitive, but I am willing to overlook stuff like that if it is a good game
- Now the crap really hits the fan. After a very brief loading screen, I get my first glimpse of the game. It looks pretty grainy, and really doesn’t look any better than Unreal 2004. From what I could figure, it was either running at 640×480 or 800×600, with no antialiasing. Not very pretty. Whatever.
- Click to begin the match. I do. It completely explodes. I am running a dual monitor setup. My right monitor (the one that wasn’t displaying the game at the time) goes nuts. Everything goes back into what looks like 8 bit color. Uh, ok. Maybe it’s just loading, right? Nope. The game sound dies, the harddrive starts thrashing and Unreal hangs. Not only does it hang, but it turns off my left monitor. (A sign to me that it was trying to switch to a resolution that the monitor doesn’t support. Not uncommon, but not something that I would expect when a program is already running).
- Okay, I can deal with this. I’ll just Ctrl+alt+delete and end the application, right? Uh, small problem there. It’s turned off my primary monitor. I can’t see the Task Manager window. Brilliant. How about the start button? Nope, can’t see it either. Alt+Tab to another program? Nope, nothing there either. The primary monitor is still off. Luckily, I happen to be running a nice little multi-monitor tool called Multimon. I press Ctrl+Alt+Right arrow to swing the current window from my left monitor (which is still turned off) to the right monitor (which looks like it is still in 8 bit color mode). I am finally able to kill the offending application, which I do. The right monitor still doesn’t turn on. Looks like I will need to reboot.
- I reboot, expecting things to be back to normal. They aren’t. My start menu and Taskbar are on my right monitor, when normally they are on the left. Also, the Multimon taskbar (which provides a second task bar on the secondary monitor) are also on the right hand monitor. Uh oh, something is definitely wrong.
- After a bunch of screwing around, I am finally able to get my taskbar back on my left monitor where it should be, and keep my Multimon taskbar on the right monitor where it was.
So, I will let you take one guess what I did after that. Did you guess yet? Yup, I uninstalled it. I don’t like running software that screws up my machine so badly that it makes me reboot, and have to mess around with my settings until I get my machine back the way it was before running it.
So, my opinion of my brief experience with the Unreal 3 PC demo can be summed up in one picture:
Make that Epic Fail.