PC: Unreal II: The Awakening

The long awaited sequel to Epic’s Unreal has finally hit our shores and it aims to please even the hardcore fans of the popular FPS genre. Unreal II takes certain elements of other popular FPS games, tumbles them around and spits out a title that is unique in the already over-saturated FPS market.

Gamers looking for something to raise the gaming stakes will be a little disappointed, as Unreal II sticks with the tried-and-true method of its predecessor and builds from there. The title uses the popular UT2003 game engine but is slightly toned so gamers can appreciate the impressive visuals.

You play the game as John Dalton, an ex-Marine turned security marshal for the Terran Colonial Authority. Moving to a low-level police force, your objective is to scour the farthest regions of space to uphold the peace. You and your crew are sent on a type of scavenger hunt to collect seven different artefacts which, once combined, will create a super-weapon.

The game’s visuals are incredible. Gameplay has been slowed down in comparison to UT2003 so that gamers can literally stop and look around mid-level to take in the breathtaking sights. Each level has been painstakingly rendered to create awesome atmospheric conditions: some levels include moving through a living planet and snowy wastelands. The rag-doll physics model has been passed on from UT2003, providing those realistic deaths we’ve come to know and love. There is some form of character development within the title but there isn’t much depth, so the niche FPS fans won’t be offended. The storyline could have done with some work, because at times it seems very simplistic and linear.

Once the game has been finished, there is nothing to entice gamers to play the single player missions again. There are no new extra levels, no bonuses and definitely no extra game secrets, which is a big downfall for the title. Some fans may become bored with a few of the long conversation pieces and be too busy thinking about their trigger fingers to follow the story.

This title will definitely appeal to the fans. It does stand out from the FPS crowd, but not enough to make it a true classic. One saving grace is the inclusion of the development tools — mod makers can go crazy with these tools, and we will be sure to see a plethora of mods hit the Web very soon.

Publisher: Atari
Developer: Legend Entertainment
URL: www.unreal2.com

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Ryan Shaw

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