UT3 Weapon Rundown: Flak Cannon

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Games, Unreal Tournament

UT3FlakCannon0

Where the Shock Rifle is the katana of weapons, the Flak Cannon is akin to the mallet. A favorite of newer players, it’s big and unwieldy, but when you connect you know the guy is going down. It does have some finesse to it, as you can ricochet flak off of walls, but it’s focus is on delivering the brutal one-shot kills. I have to say that, among the UT3 weapons, the Flak Cannon is probably the one that I’m most displeased with. There’s just enough “off” with the weapon, and enough better choices that it doesn’t feel like the monster it should. Its primary fire shoots out a spray of flak pellets, while the secondary fire launches an intact flak shell in an arc.

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Primary fire is powerful as hell. It shoots out nine flak shards that do 18 damage each, for a total of 162 damage in a direct hit. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the firing rate is really slow, over a second before your next shot. If you didn’t kill the guy with that first shot, then chances are you’re going to eat it before you can fire again. The distribution of flak is also different from in previous games. In the past, the weapon would simply randomly give each shard a somewhat randomized vector from the same origin, but now the weapon has a randomized area of spawning defined for each chunk. The long and the short of it is, the flak shards begin with a wider distribution pattern, which makes it more difficult to hit with all of the shards unless at Impact Hammer ranges.

In vCTF-Suspense, it is one of the weapons you receive on spawn, yet I find it largely goes unused. For most situations the Stinger is the superior option: It hits instantly, is more accurate than the Flak Cannon primary, and is comparable in terms of the damage output over time. The few instances I see Flak consistently used in are in the small corridors containing the Shock Rifle or Rocket Launcher, and in the nest above containing the Avril. However, it’s definitely not the only weapon that’s useful here: the Shock Rifle and Rocket Launcher also do quite well in these areas. Although in UT2004, the Flak Cannon primary was useful for dealing a near-fatal blow to Mantas and stopping them in their tracks, in UT3 this seems significantly harder. Though it’s still possible, due to the higher initial spread it is more difficult to accomplish, and you’d probably be better off using the Shock Rifle or Impact Hammer if you found yourself in such a situation. Against any heavier vehicle, if you’re close enough to use the primary fire you’ll probably be dead. The only non-suicidal options for using the weapon against vehicles are if you’re taking it by surprise, or if you’re banking shots off of walls.

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Secondary fire is the flak ball you’ve come to know and love. Unfortunately, every Unreal Tournament game has decided to fire this projectile off in a slightly different trajectory than the last. With UT3 this trajectory is high and far, something I’m still not used to after playing with it for some time. I’m fine with the far bit, but the ball consistently fires above my opponents’ heads. When it connects, it usually kills them, but it’s been a struggle getting that to happen against anything but braindead bots. A direct hit with the weapon does 100 damage, plus it also spawns five flak shards that do 18 damage each for a total potential damage of up to 190. The splash damage radius has also been toned down noticeably, so near-misses are not as valuable as they used to be.

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Though the secondary fire of the weapon fires further than it did in UT2004, the vehicles have all been adjusted so that the flak shell is no longer a very effective option anymore. The Hellbender SkyMine turret is now enclosed, protecting the driver from flak shells. The Scorpion is also an enclosed seat now, with the same effect. Both Hellbenders and Scorpions have had physics changes that make it virtually impossible to budge either vehicle with a flak shell, so it isn’t going to effectively tip over either vehicle if you land a shell at one of its tires. Your best bet when using this fire mode against vehicles is to take advantage of its arc by firing from protected positions. Getting on higher ground and lobbing shells down will wear down even a tank, or at least force them into a position of your choosing rather than facing off directly against a vehicle.

The Flak Cannon remains a favorite, but the quirks have yet to be worked out of the weapon. I’m sure with just a few minor adjustments to firing rates and trajectories, the weapon can be returned to the glory of past games.


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3 Responses

  1. Well, Flak Cannon is a good weapon against Goliath if it’s on a open terrain. You may just run around the tank and hit it while it is trying to aim you. But don’t try that trick if there is other player or vehicle near you or there is a player in a machine gun turret in the tank.

  2. Well, Flak Cannon is a good weapon against Goliath if the tank is on a open terrain. You may just run around the tank and hit it while it is trying to aim you. But don’t try that trick if there is other player or vehicle near you or there is a player in a machine gun turret in the tank.

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