Review by ORCA782

Reviewed: 07/16/03 | Updated: 07/16/03

Typical FPS with a few twists.

When I was picking up Unreal 2, I was mainly envisioning giant beautiful landscapes from other worlds, and all the stuff that made me love Unreal Tournament so much. I'll try not to compare Unreal 2 to Unreal Tournament 2003, partially because everyone else already has, and secondly because they are in different sub genres. Of course they are both First Person Shooters, but Unreal 2 has a story and is driven by it, whereas UT 2k3 is instant gratification action.

Story: 6/10
I would have given this a 5, but the twist at the end really caught me by surprise, so it gets a 6. For a shooter, the plot is slightly above average. You are the lead of a small spacecraft going around doing dirty jobs for a large corporation. They throw in cliche side stories for each of your teammates, and a pretty shallow plot to guide the game. As I said, the only upside is the twist at the end.

Graphics: 8/10
Of course you need a pretty nice video card to take advantage of any computer game, but I'll assume you have one. As I had imagined, all of the outside environments are truly beautiful and almost make the game worthwhile. There are snow levels, desert levels, and tropical areas, as well as a few others. The vast space and the nice looking planets in the sky appeal to me a lot. Where this looses points is the interiors. You go inside of some factory or powerhouse or alien construction, and that's the end of the beautiful scenery. For 75% of the game or more you're wandering around some underground factory that looks the exact same as every other FPS you've played. Bland colors, (if there are any). A few parts are so dark that it's hard to discern where you're going. Enemies look average, weapons look pretty good. Explosions and gunfire are nice. All the requisites.

Sound:
BGM: 7/10
SFX: 8/10
I really don't remember any of the background music, which generally means it was just unmemorable material. That's not really a fault, as most FPS are the same. However it won't earn the game any points.
Special effects were standard, perhaps a bit good. The sounds of bullets ricocheting and explosions in the distance were well done. Alien battle cries warn you of attack, and voice overs were all a bit above average.

Gameplay: 8/10
I can't really say anything about the controls. Overall they're the exact same as every other PC FPS you're going to play, so if you don't like them you might as well drop the entire genre. Spacebar jumps, wasd moves. You can't configure your weapon priorities, but it doesn't matter because overall the weapons all do the same thing. Briefly on the weapons, very few are the standard type you find in FPS games, you actually have a lot off off the wall weapons, like an EMP launching alien rifle, that doubles as a ray gun. Your assault rifle doubles as a flak grenade launcher. Your actual grenade launcher has 6 different modes of fire for 6 different grenade types. You get orbiting energy balls similar to Star Wars that fly around and shoot things. One gun even launches baby spiders at your enemies to eat them alive. Though interesting and unorthodox, most of these weapons unfortunately are not effective.
Running seems especially slow in this game, but maybe it's just me. The guy is wearing something like 80 pounds of armor. Some levels are extremely dull, as I said earlier. Most levels are run of the mill shoot to kill and get to the objective types. Sadly the double jump, an ever present favorite in UT 2k3 is not in Unreal 2. A few levels are interesting in that you get to set up your own automated defenses to protect a location. Besides that this game is very similar to every other FPS I've played.

Overall: 7/10
I've played a lot of First Person Shooters, and all the ones with stories left me feeling empty at the end. There's no replay value, the story was bland, and it feels as if you just beat a game for nothing. The only games that have appealed to me were the ones solely based on killing other players, like Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament. Those games offer constant action. I think FPS games are based around constant action, so when you try to throw a plot in, and long sometimes dull levels, you get bored of the game.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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