Unreal Tournament 3:
First and Last Impressions

By Shamus Posted Monday Jun 23, 2008

Filed under: Game Reviews 41 comments

I picked up UT3 a couple of weeks ago. I’d just finished it when Guild Wars fell into my hands, and I never got around to writing about it. I suppose I could save all of us a lot of time by just saying it sucks, but part of how we do business here is to catalog how things suck, a process which begins now:

Mark Twain famously took a version of his story “The Jumping Frog”, which had been translated into French, and translated it back into English. The translation from English to French to English again results in rich comedic nonsense. This is not unlike what we find with Unreal Tournament 3, which seems to have been ported from the PC to the Playstation 3 and back again.

The interface is a warren of festering idiocy. The game begins with what feels like a half dozen splash screens and ads, meaning you have to bang away at the ESC key repeatedly to get to the menu where you can log in. This is step one, meaning it happens before you decide if you’re going to play single or multi-player. You can choose not to log in, but you still have to deal with the login screen either way.

If you play the single-player campaign, you can only play the currently unlocked mission. If you go back and re-play one from earlier in the game, it will overwrite your one and only save game and you will be reset to that earlier part of the game. I should point out that UT99, the nine-year-old original in this series, could cope with replaying old missions without doing anything this stupid. Even the PS3 is no longer limited by “slots” on a memory card. We got these fancy newfangled hard-drive thingies, and there is no reason for the game to do this.

The game always, always pops up a warning about how my network might be mis-configured when I’m starting a single player game. I always have to mouse over and click “ok”.

Taking a cue from the worst parts of Vista, the game is constantly throwing up popups to the effect of, “Are you sure you want to do that thing you just did?” You cannot disable these. You just have to keep clicking “ok”. Every. Damn. Time.

The game setup options are stripped down to nothing. You can’t configure the attributes of individual bots. It doesn’t remember the settings you used from the last time you played, which is asinine considering the excessive number of clicks required to do anything with this beast. It is impossible to make a game with lopsided teams using bots. (This was one of my favorite ways of playing. I’d pit myself against superior numbers of bots and see how long I could last.)

Starting a game is like running a “New Hardware Wizard” in Windows. You have to go through several pages of options, and each page has just a few small options on it. Half the game is just gone, and the half that remains is spoon-fed to you at an infuriating pace.

This only scratches the surface of the problems with the interface. This is what PC gamers mean when they say “dumbed down” for consoles. This interface only makes sense when you’re looking at a television and holding a dual shock controller.

They have added an absurd, angsty plot to the game. Delivered through pre-rendered cutscenes, it tells a tale of a small team of mercs who have their home colony destroyed, get very angry, and then fight a war by playing capture the flag. The storytelling is lazy and infantile. The game tries so hard to convince you you’re not doing what you’re very obviously doing. Note to Epic Games: I can understand you’re suddenly embarrassed to be making a game about CTF. But you’re not fooling anyone.

It’s strange, because there are two game types that would have made a lot more sense in terms of the UT3 story: Assault and Last Man Standing. They were part of earlier entries in this series, before it had a story. They would have meshed with the “fighting a war in which soldiers can respawn” concept we have here. But those game modes are missing in UT3. Instead we have flags and the capturing thereof. We also have announcers talking about “winning the match” and saying “play” at the onset of hostilities. So which is it, Epic? Is this a war or a sport?

Spoiler alert: All the major characters die. After enduring these cutscenes of childish bravado and agonizing attempts at ghetto slang it was preposterous for the game to suddenly try to be serious and edgy. In the last moments of the game the main character – who is named (sigh) Reaper – is facing a huge crowd of foes. Then one of the foes tosses Jester (Reaper’s sister, a member of his merc team) at his feet, dead. I laughed. This game just hadn’t gotten me to take it seriously yet, and now it’s trying for Shakespearian tragedy?

Reaper is the classic cardboard bad boy, and about as exciting as a bowl of cold oatmeal. The bad guys had no motivation except to be interplanetary jerks. There was a betrayal you could see coming a mile off. The secondary characters are made entirely of catchphrases and clichés. The dialog is absurd.

The gameplay is fine, provided you want online play with internet strangers. This is very close to the frantic deathmatch feel of the original. The weapons feel great and the graphics are gorgeous. But if you’re into LAN games, the campaign mode, or fighting against bots, the game falls miserably short of the achievements of its 1999 grandsire.


From The Archives:

41 thoughts on “Unreal Tournament 3:
First and Last Impressions

  1. Doug says:

    I had no idea that people actually played the Single Player mode of Unreal Tournament.

  2. SiliconScout says:

    crap I had no idea there WAS a single player mode. I might have tried it if I did.

  3. Deoxy says:

    “Unread Tournament 3”? Is that really what you meant to title this post?

    Funny, whether on purpose or not…

  4. Benjamin O says:

    As a Unreal Tournament 2004 addict, I was excited by UT3. I thought “this looks really cool”. My machine is underpowered to play it, but still. I tried it just to see.

    Yuck. There is nothing about the game that would give me any incentive to upgrade just to play that game. Shamus has nailed it. They KILLED the interface. It’s terrible. UT2004 is a much better game in terms of interface, playability, and frankly, much more enjoyable.

    I have a good friend with a computer that handles UT3 just fine, and we now play UT2004 together. Go figure.

  5. folo4 says:

    we’re going to SEE alot of this dumbing down monstrosities as mainstream games take PC as a port-if-you-feel-like-it platform.

    Bioshock being an old example.

  6. Johan says:

    Most likely, I think… “d” isn’t really that close to “l”…

  7. Ian says:

    Aww, Shamus, why’d you have to go and spoil the award-winning storyline for me? For shame!

    I purchased UT3 a few months back and, despite being very impressed that it ran so well on my laptop (complete with a 1.73GHz Pentium M and a sluggish RADEON X300) yet still looked very pretty when maxed out, I wasn’t too impressed. The game is fun to play but the menus are basically as bad as Shamus says that they are. Actually, they’re probably worse.

    I love having to look in the corners of the screen for buttons that should be easy to spot, in the middle. Configuring my controls was a fun one. I was looking all over the menu to try and find a way to do that and, lo and behold, when you’re in the input section of the menu they place a small button in the lower-right corner, next to the OK and Cancel buttons. What a place for it! It’s as if the “Configure Controls” tab in the options menu for UT99 was way too obvious and Epic decided that the best thing to do would be to hide it.

    The gameplay is fun, yes, but Warfare mode suffers from a fatal flaw — the ability for any team to instantly take a point or instantly destroy one of yours. If players were restricted to using their feet this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but with the hoverboards it makes it way too easy for a team to blitz points that they want to control or break. It’s enough of a gameplay flaw to make me want to go back to UT2004’s Onslaught mode or just play CTF. You know, a game type that rewards the better team rather than causing them to backtrack constantly.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    I played through the first two missions of UT3 and uninstalled it. Unlike the Source engine, which may be four years old but can easily be run at maximum settings, the new Unreal engine doesn’t like my laptop.

    I found it hilarious at first, because the resolution actually defaulted to 320 by 240 as if I was running Quake on a ten year old PC! After tweaking and tweaking I found that I couldn’t get it to look as nice as Bioshock (which uses an older version of the Unreal engine), but I gave it a couple missions to justify it being on my HD anyway. Then I uninstalled it.

    I didn’t even try multiplayer online.

    I don’t consider it a waste of money, however, because I got it as part of a Steam package deal which included Unreal 1 and 2, the original UT, and UT2k4. I never played the original UT before and now I finally understand what all the UT fanboys were talking about. UT is awesome.

    When I get a more powerful PC, I’m willing to give UT3 another shot despite what Shamus and other have said. But UT really did raise the bar pretty high.

    Now I need to try UT2k4…

  9. folo4 says:

    UT2004 is basically Oblivion and UT1999 is Morrowind.

    but [email protected], I miss the days of UT2004 CHESS mod 4 years ago

  10. Dev Null says:

    I suppose I could save all of us a lot of time by just saying it sucks, but part of how we do business here is to catalog how things suck

    Empty threats Shamus – none of us really believes you could give it a 3 out of 10 and walk away…

  11. Ian says:


    I found it hilarious at first, because the resolution actually defaulted to 320 by 240 as if I was running Quake on a ten year old PC!

    Oh please, don’t insult ten-year-old PCs like that. I could run Quake smoothly at the highest resolution my monitor supported ten years ago. :P

    After tweaking and tweaking I found that I couldn't get it to look as nice as Bioshock (which uses an older version of the Unreal engine)

    BioShock and UT3 both use the same engine — Unreal Engine 3.

    The PC version of UT3 is pretty packed with detail. As far as eye-candy is concerned it definitely delivers. Though, strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to have any built-in options for anti-aliasing…at least I didn’t see it.

  12. Silfir says:

    “Name me one reason why I should play UT3 instead of UT2004.”

    “That’s easy! The h-”

    “EXCEPT the hoverboard.”


    Why did they actually leave out modes? Warfare was described as a merging of Onslaught and Assault. You know what? I hated Assault and I loved Onslaught. Don’t they want to sell this game to me or what?

  13. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    He’s a bit like Yachtzee, he dosen’t possess the bionic cyber-brain nessessary to boil down something as ephermal as a gameplay experiance into a mathematical equation, and then bludgeon that into an integer (or sometimes, if they’re feeling generous, a real number rounded off to the nearest teneth) between 0 (or 1) and 10.

  14. Rhykker says:

    Shamus, did you download the latest patch? (1.2?)

    The patch marginally improves the interface, adding a lot of missing options, and making it more PC-friendly (for instance, the ability to input digits instead of picking from a pre-specified list).

    The interface is the game’s greatest flaw. EPIC, themselves, said “[the interface] is f*cked.” Fortunately, it was set up in such a way that it can be modded – whether or not EPIC will provide a modded interface themselves, the community is working on UWindows – a remake of UT99’s interface.

    Reviewers have torn this game apart based mostly on the interface and the campaign. I find the latter somewhat unfair – sure, it’s nothing brilliant, but it was never intended as anything more than a training session for multiplayer/botmatches. The cutscenes are beautiful, the voice-acting is great (it’s not the voice-actors’ faults that they were fed these awkward catch-phrases and slang), and though it would have been nice to see a plot that actually involved a tournament, it’s better than nothing at all. Picking up an Unreal Tournament game to enjoy a fine story with character development and intrigue is akin to picking up an action movie to appreciate the realism in its depictions of fighting, explosions, and science.

    Even if you’re not an online player, the singleplayer botmatches give you a game with limitless replayability.

    You cannot yet customize individual bots, but you can select which bots to play with (they have distinct fighting styles and skill levels) and which to have on your team. Furthermore, you can have bots outnumber you using the “vs bot ratio.”

    Admittedly, UT3 gives a bad first impression, due to the menu and the numerous intro “movies” (which, with some .ini file editing, you can easily disable). Many UT2k4 players were turned off UT3 because of gameplay changes that were made to which they refuse to adapt. The gameplay returns to the roots of UT99, mixing in the best elements of UT2k4, to create an experience that exceeds both.

    Above all else, what makes UT3 one of my favorite games is the simple motto of “zero time to spectacle.” Everything is streamlined so that you’re never far off from the action. If I play UT3 for 15 minutes, I’m having fun for 15 minutes. If I play another FPS for 15 minutes, odds are I’m spending 5 of those minutes waiting to respawn or slowly making my way across the battlefield. An MMO? 10 of those minutes are likely spent waiting for the fun.

    This actually makes the game a little too intense for some people. But for its niche audience, the UT series is the pinnacle of FPS gaming.

    I’d just like to conclude by saying that Midway is largely responsible for UT3’s shortcomings – they forced EPIC to release the game before it was ready – the pre-Christmas sales-boom period. The interface was slapped together at the last minute, many obvious bugs came with the out-of-the-box game, and there were elements that EPIC just didn’t have the time to include. Nonetheless, the first patch was released within a month of the game’s release, fixing most of the bugs, and a second patch came a couple months later, followed by a bonus pack (which included a breath-taking remake of Facing Worlds, complete with an appropriate theme to fit the Necris/Asian look of the game). EPIC’s continued support of their games is something we’ve always counted on, and the community continues to produce quality maps, mutators, and mods.

  15. Shalkis says:

    UT2k4 had some nasty stalemates in some levels where all of the action was focused on just one node, so I guess the insta-captures were designed to prevent that. The respawn time for that sphere is just silly. It’s better to keep it near your base and just gib anyone trying to pick it up than to risk having an another hoverboarder pick it up and hitch a ride from one of the faster vehicles.

  16. Barron says:

    I was never a huge fan of the UT series. I played them all, and I liked them all, but the only things I _really_ enjoyed were playing the bots and assault. If I wanted to play something incredibly violent and unwind at the same time, just fill a game up with bots dialed down to “retarded” and frag away. Awesome.

    I also loved assault. It was never much fun in multiplayer, but the extra objectives just added something fun to the mix. Finding and exploring a really creative new assault map, such as the one where the player fights to restore a brewery, was also a ton of fun. Losing the assault mode took most of the fun from the game for me.

    On top of that, the campaign mode was awful for all the reasons outlined above. Even leaving it exactly like 2004 would have been great. But they could have expanded on the concept of an intergalactic blood sport and added stat tracking for your bots, unique personalities, and maybe expanded on the managerial bits, with negotiating trades and the like. Basically make it a sports game.

    I don’t even know what to say, Shamus said almost everything I was thinking. Plus they missed remakes of my two favorite maps, Morpheus and Face. wtf.

  17. Dihydrogen says:

    Yeah, the the menu system really sucked in UT3. If you download the 1.1 patch it gets a bit better, but it still feels like it was designed to be navigated with a joystick. Another thing that ticked me off about the game was that it promised Linux support on the disc and then didn’t deliver, and to this day still does not have Linux support. Supposedly the reason why it doesn’t work is that they used Gamespy for their server browser and they won’t let them make a Linux client. Gamespy is also the reason for the retarded log-in screen.

  18. Kevin says:

    I have never played and never intended to. Just the same I found your review VERY entertaining.

  19. Factoid says:

    An interesting read with some insights regarding the development of game UIs.


    To hear this guy tell it:

    1) UI Design sucks and is really monotonous
    2) It’s a task often pushed down onto junior programmers

    UI being as important as it is, I’m surprised anyone lets junior developers touch the stuff, but I guess if your studio’s culture allows for the senior developers to have their pick of programming assignments they’re always going to pick the more glamourous items like engines or AI.

    This was from Introversion, a small indy developer, and I think they only have 9 or 10 people, about half of which are non-programmer types.

  20. Derek K says:

    Sounds like UT3 would hugely benefit from a new edition.

    I played 2k4 and loved it, because it was nothing but chaotic doom and killin’. But then I got online with the big boys, and realized I had *no* business being their killfarm, and moved on. ;)

    And yeah. I cannot *stand* when any game uses character death as a plot point, if it has respawns or resurrection, unless it goes out of the way to clearly and believably (within the context of the game, that is) explain why *that* death was tragic, and the other 150 suffered prior to it were just part of the world. I can buy “He was killed by a soul sucking demon, so he can’t be brought back” or the like. I can’t buy “Oh, noes! Aeris is dead! Like, for real. Cause, you know, Sephiroth killed her. And he’s all AWESUM!!1!”

    *EVERY* time I saw that scene I got a little catch in my throat. “But…I have a phoenix down right here. Why did this have to happen!?” (Spoiler alert, I guess). I can vaguely buy that normally you’re knocked out, not killed, but still.

  21. qrter says:

    I had no idea that people actually played the Single Player mode of Unreal Tournament.

    Supposedly, about half of the people who buy UT games play against bots – that’s what Epic said, at least, when releasing UT3.

    I can see why – none of that macho bullshit you tend to get playing against “live” opponents, etc.

  22. MadTinkerer says:

    ” ‘I found it hilarious at first, because the resolution actually defaulted to 320 by 240 as if I was running Quake on a ten year old PC!’

    Oh please, don't insult ten-year-old PCs like that. I could run Quake smoothly at the highest resolution my monitor supported ten years ago. :P”

    Yeah, sorry, I should have mentioned that the PC I actually had ten years ago was five years old at the time, so I actually meant fifteen year old PC.

    On the positive side, cranking down the resolution that low made it run at 100 FPS, but still think it was very funny just how badly it underestimated my laptop. Granted, I still can’t run UT3 at anything near max settings, but it handled 800×600 with blurry textures just fine. It just didn’t give me a compelling reason to justify it’s continuing to take up disk space.

    I don’t run Bioshock at max setting either, but I can turn on maximum texture detail and a couple of the nicer shading opions without sacrificing resolution or FPS. I suspect it’s whatever they did to make UT3 run nice on PS3s that’s causing it to be so inefficient compared to Bioshock.

    “Supposedly, about half of the people who buy UT games play against bots – that's what Epic said, at least, when releasing UT3.”

    Like me. I love the UT bots!

    I like playing multiplayer online too. Just a couple nights ago I was gloating over the BLU team in TF2 complaining about the RED team having “too many damn Pyros” when only two of us were playing Pyro at the time.

    But sometimes you want to skip the social aspect and just play against bots.

  23. Ian says:

    @Factoid: The thing that’s sort of bizarre about UT3’s case is that apparently the menu system is highly customizable, probably a fairly high-level and easy-to-rearrange affair, yet they never bothered to do anything with it.

    The UI is one of the most important parts of the game. Screwing that up is definitely a bad thing. What’s worse is that UI design, in my experience, is very much a common sense issue. I’m a hobbyist programmer and I can quickly tell if I’m going in the wrong direction with the UI. You don’t need to read a book about UI design to know whether something’s going to be aggravating/painful to use.

  24. mookers says:

    @Kevin: I never play video games. Yet I always read Shamus’ reviews – they are great fun. Everything I know about the gaming industry and culture I have gleaned from this blog.

    @Factoid and @Ian: I’m surprised that any software development house, especially a game company, would treat UI design as an afterthought. Customer perception is reality, regardless of the actual merits of the software. UI is a huuuuuuge contributor to that perception. And you’d be surprised at how many programmers have no idea how to make a decent UI. Many programmers, especially inexperienced ones, think only in terms of functionality and not usability. In order to get someone to think in UI terms, you have to make them USE the software. Over. And over. Until they get really annoyed with the bad design.

  25. capital L says:

    “I had no idea that people actually played the Single Player mode of Unreal Tournament.

    Supposedly, about half of the people who buy UT games play against bots – that's what Epic said, at least, when releasing UT3.

    I can see why – none of that macho bullshit you tend to get playing against “live” opponents, etc.”

    Playing against the bots in UT99 was pretty fun, although they didn’t really take to some of the non-deathmatch game modes too well. Also the last couple levels of the single player “campaign” became exacting races for ammo and power up respawns as much as anything else. (I have frustrating memories of this one tiny level that I had to run around and around, trying to prevent the douchebag bot from getting ANYTHING…) Luckily you could always just set up your own level, with your own parameters and handicap.

    One other note about UT– the exploding ammunition mutator was just about the greatest thing ever!

  26. Laurel Raven says:

    @ Derek K:

    Quote: I can't buy “Oh, noes! Aeris is dead! Like, for real. Cause, you know, Sephiroth killed her.”

    Dangit! You spoiled the whole game for me!!!

  27. Alden says:

    UT3 didn’t work out of the box for me (due to the graphics card I have) – to get it to work, I had to track down a post on Epic’s message boards and use a text editor to tweak a setting in the INI files. Expecting a casual user to do something like that is nuts. ISn’t that why they had beta versions?

    And while I tended to play UT2k4 regularly, I haven’t played UT3 in months…

  28. Zenja says:

    All I wanted was a graphical update to the long gone classic UT99. UT2K3 was horrible, but Epic quickly released UT2K4 to salvage their reputation. I still preferred UT99. The gameplay in UT3 is good, but the interface really put me off it.

    I want the razor jack back.

  29. Nilus says:

    I am glad I skipped this game. The original Unreal tournament is still busted out when we have LAN parties. Because we love it so much and because we know every single PC in the room can run it smoothly.

    What I don’t understand is why they couldn’t just keep the storyline what it always was in Unreal Tournament. A Sci-Fi sports arena with different types of games. I am sad to here Assault is out, since I really loved the assault maps. Even playing them almost 10 years later you can find a new and different way to accomplish the mission.

  30. hotsauce says:

    Taking a cue from the worst parts of Vista, the game is constantly throwing up popups to the effect of, “Are you sure you want to do that thing you just did?”
    Mild threadjack here, so apologies, but
    a) You can turn those off in Vista
    b) You really shouldn’t, because it’s one of the best parts of Vista[1]. It’s requiring live human being interaction before allowing processes to run with administrator authority, kind of like a GUI version of Linux’s sudo, but without prompting you for a password every 15 minutes. It’s intended to make it much more difficult to hijack your computer.

    [1] Except it probably only took crackers a day to get around, but at least they’re trying

  31. ccesarano says:

    This only scratches the surface of the problems with the interface. This is what PC gamers mean when they say “dumbed down” for consoles. This interface only makes sense when you're looking at a television and holding a dual shock controller.

    I don’t know why this sort of problem persists, either, because I remember playing SNES games with more options than some games today. Hell, Street Fighter II allowed me to customize which moves mapped to which buttons. For some reason, though, companies have begun to think such a thing would take too much time for console gamers. I’m still amazed it took until the third Halo for them to offer crouch toggle.

    I don’t think the problem is navigating an interface with a controller (just look at how many options Smash Brosh. games give for customization). I think it’s more developers are treating their audience as being dumber than they really are, or more impatient than they really are. The way I see it, if you need “dumbed down for consoles” option pages, then have that as the default, and allow advanced users to find advanced options with a simple press of a button.

    In fact, I can think of a thousand different ways to easily navigate the UT2K4 options and settings pages for console: it just requires some button mapping and minor changes, but it could still work.

    I grabbed the demo for UT3, and honestly, I found it decently fun, but I didn’t think it was worth the money. The interface was horrible even for consoles (I was expecting UT2K4’s interface, not what they offered), and when I saw Assault was no longer in there, well, that made my choice clear. I typically only play UT at LANs, and my favorite modes to play are Assault and Invasion (considering that my favored form of multiplayer is co-op in military style games, it makes sense). I think I’d have more love for Onslaught if it didn’t rely so much on vehicles that control like complete shit.

    Either way, UT3 is pretty much an amputated cousin of the series in terms of gameplay, so I have no interest in it.

    The way I see it, this game probably turned out so poorly because CliffyB and the other major staff have been focusing most of their time on Gears of War. That would be my guess, at least.

  32. Doug says:

    Aftr reading all of the comments, I’m glad that I skipped buying UT3 and bought Team Fortress 2 instead. That game is like digital crack for me now.

  33. Cineris says:

    The sad thing to me is, all of these issues are immediately obvious. It’s inconceivable that the guys at Epic couldn’t have realized the problems the interface posed, or that the storyline could have been done better by a ten-year-old. It’s pretty much inexplicable how any of these things got shipped out the door, and points to either willful negligence on Epic’s part or incredibly shortsighted demands by Midway (e.g. This product must be shipped before Christmas even though that puts it in direct competition with other big-budget titles and means there are major areas of the game that are unfinished or lacking polish), or both.

  34. Mechman says:

    I have to say, after review like this, I was leery of the game.
    Once I tried it however, I loved it. The menu system is atrocious, and gets only slightly better after patching, but the gameplay is a great return to the UT99 style. As far as the capture ball thing in warfare, you can turn it off with a mutator if it bugs you. But the speed of the game, and the weapons balance, is jsut about perfect.

  35. empty_other says:

    You know, the Tripods is worth the game! And all the other necris vehicles. At least for a while… And i love that the game does more damage than the previous games. And that the pickups no longer are rotating icons, we have our armor and armorplates back again! And the awesome enforcers, the coolest pistol in the video game world.

    But i dont play UT3 any longer.

    Yes, and it took quite a while before i found out that i HAVE to log in to be able to save my game-settings. And pre-patch i couldnt log in until i got internet-connection. Sigh.

  36. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Shamus and I and all of the cohorts that end up at his house on a weekly basis, still play UT ’99. It is the only one that is actually fun to play. All of the later games are so dreadfully nerfed it hurts my soul to play them

  37. coffee says:

    Well gee, I don’t care about any UT game if it doesn’t involve Warcows.

  38. Kizer says:

    Hey, as a longtime fan of UT99’s assault mode, does anyone know where I can find user-made assault maps that are semi-decent? I’ve been playing with the same seven maps for almost ten years now and I’ve got almost all of them down as a science. I could use some new challenges, and this blog seems to be the only place I can find people who like the game and know a lot about it.

  39. Maldeus says:

    This game probably could have benefitted from a Hunger Games style plot-line, wherein some effectively omnipotent entity abducts multiple people and forces them into a glorified gladiator match. It wouldn’t have solved the problems with the bad story flow or the cliched characters, but if the characters were actually teenagers (like in Hunger Games), it would’ve made slightly more sense. Of course he calls himself Reaper, he’s fifteen years old, he still thinks it’s cool. No, he’s not actually a stereotypical bad boy, that’s just the facade he’s putting on to cope with the stress. Yes, they’re angsty about his home being gone (or rather, about being gone from their home), but they’re teenagers, that’s how they’re supposed to be. It wouldn’t have solved the story problem altogether, but it would’ve done a lot for it.

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