UT3 Weapon Rundown: Link Gun

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Games, Unreal Tournament

UT3LinkGun0

Formerly known as the Pulse Gun, the Link Gun is a weapon that holds a bit of a strange spot in the arsenal. It doesn’t excel in any one area as a DeathMatch weapon, but it is so essential to vehicle based play that you may as well spawn with it. The Link Gun in UT3 has undergone some minor changes from UT2004 and a significant visual overhaul. Some people criticize the weapon as looking out of place, which I don’t necessarily disagree with, but it’s similar in design to the Enforcer, so that design has precedent among the weapons set. Primary fire of the weapon rapidly shoots out bolts of plasma, the secondary of the weapon discharges plasma in a superheated cutting beam.

UT3LinkGun1

The primary fire of the Link Gun is small, rapid bolts of plasma that deal 26 points of damage per bolt. The bolts fire about twice as fast as in UT2004, so even though you do marginally less damage per hit, you’re still pumping out nearly twice as much damage in the same time period. If you’re any good with prediction you should be able to capitalize on it, though aimless spam doesn’t seem all that effective. One significant change from 2004 is that each bolt itself only takes up one ammo, so you’ve got a lot more incentive to use the primary firing mode.

Against vehicles, it seems like it is going to be a prime weapon to switch to when firing on big targets like Goliaths or Hellfires that are dug in. Since vehicles in general are big targets, and since, with the exception of the Manta, they can’t really strafe or jump, their movement patterns are predictable. That makes them prime targets to use the Link Primary plasma on. Link Primary is particularly deadly with the Berserk powerup, as it unleashes a stream of projectiles that is impossible to dodge between, and will deal enough damage to take down vehicles in seconds, before they have a chance to react.

UT3LinkGun2

The secondary fire of the Link Gun is the same beam that was in UT2004. According to reports, it does about 5 damage per pulse, with 20 pulses per second. There are a couple of significant changes, though, good and bad. The bad is that the beam length feels much shorter than in UT2004. It really feels like it should be a good quarter to a fifth longer. Then again, I might just be saying that because I’m not used to the new length and want things exactly how I’m used to them. As for the good? The beam is straight, which makes aiming with it a breeze. There’s also a nice sound that plays when you’re cutting through a guy with the beam, providing some nice audio feedback for the experience. The secondary is virtually useless against vehicles, as anytime you’re close enough to use it, you’ll likely be dead in less than a second. On the other hand, you can use it to heal friendly vehicles, so it’s still quite useful, just not offensively.

The Link functionality that was in UT2004 has been changed a bit for UT3. It seems that linking is no longer possible manually, by which I mean aiming at another teammate and firing the Link secondary, but occurs automatically when teammates within a certain proximity all use the Link Gun. The proximity is very, very small, though, so in order to link up with a teammate you put both players at risk. Personally, I preferred the old method, as you had more control over when and where you linked, and you were able to maintain Link formation on the move. On the other hand, the new method does seem to allow both players to fire simultaneously, and avoids the baggage associated with ordering who would be at the lead of a link chain. I suppose the ideal option would be to allow both approaches.

Overall, the UT3 version of this weapon seems a minor improvement to the gun, but not enough to make it an exceptional weapon in DeathMatch. It’ll likely serve you better than an Enforcer, but you’re better off if you’ve got a Shock Rifle or a Rocket Launcher in your hands for most combat situations in DeathMatch. Its role as a “finishing” weapon is almost entirely gone, as weapon switches are made slower in UT3 to the point where weapon switching in combat is close to suicidal. It is a great weapon in vehicular gametypes, due to its particular effectiveness against vehicles or stationary targets like nodes, but you’ll wish you had something else drawn if you’re caught unawares in the thick of it.


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