Cor, I'm getting proper excited about Unreal Tournament [official site] now. It's been far too long since the last time I threw flak shells and bioblobs around in a new game. As Alec reported on Tuesday, with Unreal Engine now moving to fully free for casual use, it's easy to download and play or create for the game. The first official trailer has also been released, now that Epic have something to show off and it's embedded below, along with some additional thoughts on the current build.
Despite still being pre-Alpha, everything's starting to slot into place. The movement system is there, and it's good. Real good. Learning-to-dodge-jump-in-UT2k4 good. That-first-perfect-bunny-hop good. There are proper tutorials to explain terms like slope and wall dodging, eliminating the shroud of obscurity that so often hangs over hardcore online games. Within those tutorials are challenges that help you to learn the practical aspects of guns, pickups and movement options.
Putting it all together into a match is smooth, although the online component is currently struggling under the weight of a heavy influx of players, most of whom don't know what they're doing. But when it gets going, gosh. The heavy thump of a landing, dodging out of the way of streams of lasers as you nail a perfectly lobbed flak shell - there's just nothing like it. And goodness me, just look how bloody pretty it is.
If you're the creative type the marketplace is sparse, but up and running. Maps, cosmetic items and weapons can all be custom designed and uploaded for the community's perusal. A thread on the highly active official forums is likely your best bet for feedback.
Development continues but the game is now, effectively, out. There are likely months and years yet to go before it's approaching "finished."