User Rating: 7 | Unreal II: The Awakening PC
Unreal 2 is a First Person Shooter being released to the market with much fanfare and much hype. The first Unreal was a landmark in graphics, sound, and playability. Any gamer will tell you one of their most memorable gaming moments was the first time you encountered the Skarrj first appeared. Unfortunetly, Unreal 2 has no such moments. In fact, other than the graphics and sound of this game, it offers very little found in some of the best shooters to date. You begin the game assuming the role of Dalton (or Marshal), an ex-Marine who patrols the “ass-end-of-space” as Dalton himself puts it. With two other former Marines and an “interesting “ alien from the local exchange program, you fly around the universe doing a lot of nothing. Even better is in between missions, you get to walk around your ship, and make small talk with the crew. Usually this is more of a tutorial for new weapon upgrades, their functionality, and a brief look at the upcoming mission. It seems to me that the developers perhaps had more planned out for this sidebar portion of the game. It has somewhat the makings of an RPGish feel to it. However, the finished product leaves this section uninteresting to the gamer, and more or less a waste of time. When you are on a mission, you get the same loadouts that any other game has. The Rocket Launcher, the Shotgun, a FlameThrower plus more. These weapons seem at first to be tools for the extreme hardcore players. However the weapons themselves are uninteresting, flat, and rather boring. Not breaking any new ground here. At times, I would have rather used my fists than the shotgun. Ouch. If you keep playing, you’ll discover a bigger picture in the game, it seems there is an *start choir music* Artifact of Great Power, broken into pieces, and scattered around the galaxy among different worlds. Yawn. I will e-mail the first person who answers this question, $5.00 fake money. Ready? “Guess who gets to hunt down the artifacts?”. Yea. Great. You’ll travel to different worlds, exotic places, and Jersey. All looking for these artifacts, and fighting your way from one alien to the next. Not all is lost however, you won’t find yourself running from point A to point B, at least, not most of the time. Often, you’ll find yourself protecting fellow Marines from a distance with a S****er Rifle. Also lend a hand in evacuating a crash landing site. The game is filled with a lot of these scenarios, which help keep the game going, and make it interesting at times. The aliens, and the humans you encounter in the game are rendered nicely, and look pretty sharp. However, they move like paper. Using the same three or four moves over and over, they get somewhat predictable. The AI could have used a lot of help here, it’s not all bad, but it isn’t great either. Now, one thing that does stand out in this game, is the lush environments. You will feel like your standing on a foreign world. The beautiful skyline, the plantlife that fills ground, the lifeforms that inhabit the planet, as well as the installations you’ll travel through, all brought to life with a sense of realism. However, this game isn’t a travel brochure, we’re here to play, not sightsee. The sound is exceptional as well. Nice Dolby Digital Encoding, making everything sound as if it’s right there happening, and not coming out of speakers. The detail is extreme as well, from the buzzing of the insects, to the winds and rain slamming you around from all sides. However, we have one problem here, and it’s a big one. There’s a bug that likes to crash you, anytime, and all the time. Now I put this here, because I believe it’s a sound bug that has to do with EAX. If you enable this, you may have some serious problems. I however, turned it off, about two thirds through the game, and the bugs have seemed to stop crashing my system. Unreal 2 is a success and a failure in many ways. While it does stand out for it’s exceptional Graphics and Sound, it’s game play, and it’s AI needs some help. It’s the little things in the game, like the scenarios and traveling to alien worlds that keep you interested. But once you beat this game, there’s very little to bring you back to it.