Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free development license, including source code
The engine, including full access to source code, is licensed to developers for 5% royalty on resulting revenue if it exceeds $3000 per quarter.
Pro Developers have full control of the engine and source code
UE4 gives full access to the C++ source code allowing editing and upgrading anything in the system.
Pro A visual scripting system for non-coders enables quick prototyping
Blueprints are authoring tools designed for non programmers so designers and other team members can help tweak and prototype. UE4's Blueprint scripts resemble flowcharts where each box represents a function or value, with connections between them representing program flow. This provides a better at-a-glance indication of game logic than a simple list of events, and makes complex behaviors easier to accomplish and games a lot faster to prototype.
Pro Dynamic global illumination with voxel cone tracing decreases the computational power needed
Voxel cone tracing is a similar algorithm to ray tracing, but uses thick rays instead of pixel thin rays to be able vastly decrease the amount of computational power needed.
Pro Lots of resources to learn from
Epic provides multiple official video tutorials, lots of free example projects and content, an extensive wiki and regular streams showing how to use latest features.
Pro Quick release-cycle
New feature releases can be commonly expected about once a month.
Pro Active community
Forums have many active and friendly members that are quick to respond and help out. Even staff is very active on forums.
Pro Cross-platform editor and export
This engine exports for a big range of platforms including Linux. The editor can be run on Windows, MacOS, and Linux (Early Access).
Pro Proven track record
Pro AAA Ready
This is ready to make the next AAA game.
Pro Fast compilation for quick iteration
Recompiling an entire game to test a small change takes up a lot of time. UE4 quickly compiles in seconds instead of minutes improving iteration time by an order of magnitude.
Pro Powerful material/shader system
Allows a texture/material artist or VFX artist to create amazing effects from the ground up.
Pro Spectacular lighting visuals
Pro No coding experience needed
Con Very high build size
A blank project will build in to a minimum of 200 MB.
Con No drawcall batching, performance is very bad on mobile
There's no dynamic batching support to minimize drawcalls. There's InstancedStaticmesh concept in UE4, but it's 3d only, functionally limited and requires hardware support which rules out most mobile devices.
Compared to other engines, UE4 seems to perform various actions considerably slower. Actions like starting the engine, opening the editor, opening a project, rebuilding shaders, updating references, calculating lightmaps, saving projects, etc take long enough to get irritating and end up wasting precious development time.
Con Royalty based
5% of profits will go to Unreal after $3000 earned in a quarter.
Con Poor documentation
Most of the "documentation" for code is actually just automatically generated from the source. If you're interested in knowing how things are supposed to work, you must either go to their answers site or pay for UDN.
Often their examples won't even compile, since they were written for now outdated versions.
Con Extremely long build times
Making a full rebuild, including engine can take a good 30minutes. If you plan to use Unreal professionally, you better get some licenses for Incredibuild as well.
Con They spend more time adding features than fixing existing ones
Con C++ - oriented development cycle: slow turn-around times
The Unreal Editor is the main place to do stuff (of course), so if someone wants to do a lot of C++ stuff, the compilation and linking turn-around times can be painful. Still they probably are quite fast in comparison to the provided featureset.. Still ,they are far from optimal.
Con Extremely poorly designed
The code is a mess.
Everything is connected, a single Actor is 1500 bytes, because it contains a million things that Epic once needed in a game.
Inheritance for AActor: AActor > UObject > UObjectBaseUtility > UObjectBase
Con Poor quality assurance on their releases
After each release they almost immediately release a hotfix. And another one. And another one.
Con Tutorials do not go in-depth enough
The blueprint tutorial just teaches how to turn on a light when you press f.
Con Poor error messages
Con Steep learning curve
Especially when compared to its primary competitor, Unity.
Con Terrible physics
Con Bad support
The epic games team only assists with billing and account issues, not bugs.
Con Difficult for mac users
If you're installing it on mac, you simply download epic games launcher and watch it download nothing endlessly.
Con Rarely works
Con Frequent crashes
Often the editor crashes interrupting your work.