Unreal II: The Awakening is a solid first-person shooter. The game suffers somewhat from high expectations, which it does not live up to. However, the graphics engine, for which the orginal Unreal was also known, does live up to expectations. The graphics in the game are fantastic. The gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some interesting elements included that are not found in most FPS'. For example, a number of missions involve setting up perimeters either alone or with the help of up to four marines to defend a location. These missions can get pretty hairy at times. There's also the attempt to create a real story in which you care about the main characters. This does not entirely succeed in my opinion, but I didn't find it to be as bad as many reviewers have claimed. In some ways it was refreshing. Otherwise, Unreal II is common shooter fare. I didn't find the enemies or weapons to be particularly interesting. The weapons lack any real punch and the weapons sound effects were sub-par. Your movement is very slow compared to games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein. At first, it seemed so painfully slow that I thought something had to be wrong with my computer. Surprisingly, only one other reviewer mentioned this phenomenon. In the very first level, when facing a particularly tough enemy in an open courtyard while at low health, it was like I was standing still while the enemy was bobbing and weaving at a high rate of speed. I was ready to write the game off, uninstall, and trash it as unplayable, but once I was able to get past this seemingly difficult situation, the rest of the game seemed to be at a reasonable difficult level. Not too hard and not too easy. There was always plenty of ammo and health available. I bought the game new for $14.99, which I think was a good value. I can recommend Unreal II at that price. I'm not into multi-player games, but it's also noteworthy that Unreal II has no multi-player component, although the Special Edition, released later, does. It's not the best shooter I've ever played, but it was worth the time and money.
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