Unreal II: The Awakening Review
There's been an unreal awakening!
Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 13th February 2003
Unreal II: The Awakening
- Developer: Legend Entertainment
- Publisher: Atari
- Release Date: 7th February 2003
It's been five years since the original Unreal game was unleashed on the gaming world to much acclaim, it seems the sequel has simply sneaked up on us with minimal fuss.
Since the original game was released many first person shooters have hit the shelves, some bringing new elements and gimmicks to the genre, such as team and vehicle led assaults. Unreal II: The Awakening takes the genre back to its original format, non stop on rails shooting action!
Set 8 years after the end of the Strider wars, the story follows John Dalton an ex-marine now a marshal in the Terran Colonial Authority who's job it is to maintain law and order in the outer reaches of space. Manning a patrol vessel, Dalton and his crew answer a distress call that ultimately paves way for action and adventure on what is supposed to be a quiet routine patrol.
The story line is a little thin and has gaps. For example we don't know why Dalton is now an ex-marine. It seems as though the story has been thrown in at the last minute.
At the very beginning the game gives you the option of running through a tutorial, what immediately impressed me about this was the fact that you are given the option to skip it! All to many games these days seem intent on making players trail through lengthy and boring tutorials without the option of speeding things up or skipping them completely so this was certainly a welcome feature. The element of choice is continued later on too when asked if you want to take a look through your weapons or inspect the ship, etc. This gives impatient players (such as myself!) The chance to say "no thanks!" And jump straight into the action, especially handy if you wish to restart the game!
The controls are very easy to master with directional movement controlled via the keyboard and look/shoot being controlled by the mouse, similar to most games of this genre on PC. One annoying aspect of this game however is the unskippable, lengthy cut scenes that seem to go on forever. Sure the graphics are nice and some people may even enjoy watching them but if you're like me and play games too actually PLAY them, then I can guarantee that this will try your patience.
Naturally, the main objective of the game is to blast the aliens and collect alien artefacts. This is done quite simply by pointing in their direction and shooting, enemy AI is pretty basic with enemies only occasionally trying to avoid been shot, saying that though your enemies will not think twice about completely out numbering you that can result in total mayhem, aliens to all sides aswell as above you and bullets flying everywhere really adds a chaotic feel to the game and pumps up the excitement and suspense to high levels!
Strangely there are no multiplayer options in Unreal II, which means once you have finished the single player campaign there's not really much to go back for. This is a little disappointing as experienced gamers should be able to get through the game fairly quickly, although an editor is included.
As you would expect from an Unreal sequel, the graphics are amazing. Character models are realistic and beautifully textured to give a true 'living' appearance, no standard blocky graphics here.
Environments within the game are also superb with clean, smooth graphics portraying beautiful worlds normally only ever seen in fantasy movies (no, not that kind!) Worlds within the game are your standard FPS style, Earth like planet, ice world, multiple moons and so on.
The games specs are pretty high end, so you'll need some serious equipment to get the best possible resolutions and textures out of the game.
The games audio also receives top marks for atmospheric effects from the sounds of the enemies to the sounds of the various surroundings. Weapons sound great, especially the assault rifle as the bullets rip through the air.
Overall, Unreal II is a first class FPS however it doesn't quite live up to the original. It lacks standard features that gamers have come to expect from games, such as the absence of a multiplayer mode. The game is pretty short lived and there's not much to go back for once the game has been finished. The games graphics are stunning and are accompanied by great sound. If your looking for a great classic style FPS then Unreal II is definitely for you.
Review Score: 8.2/10
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