Review by Sheograth

Reviewed: 10/31/03

A good, old school shooter

Gameplay:

Unreal 2 is a very to-the-point shooter. It does not try to do anything fancy, and for that reason generally succeeds. There is a story, that although not to compelling, manages to keep the action flowing. The actual gameplay is quite fun. The levels are not too hard, though experienced FPS players will not want to play on easy. The levels are designed well as not to make you get lost and frustrated. The heavy use of outdoor environments are a welcome change form the newest wave of games. Most of the other recent FPS' keep you running around sewers, warehouses, and secret labs. While there is a fair amount of that in unreal 2 also, there is enough variety in the levels to keep things from getting monotonous. It can even be described as a little ''old school''. In the sense that there is no emphasis on fancy moves, sneaking and team tactics. If it moves, shoot it. My only real complaint with the gameplay is that it is too short. Seasoned players will be able to finish it in well under 9 hours. A little short for such a fun game. overall 8/10

Graphics:

Unreal 2 has extremely good graphics. It uses the new Unreal warfare engine, the same one used by Unreal Tournament 2003. The engine is capable of rendering indoor and outdoor environments quite well. Unreal 2 shows of this feature by making you approach your objectives from far away. There are not too many special effects in use here, probably to maintain the framerate. The textures are top-notch and the polygon use is very high. One of the high points in the graphics department is the game's excellent use of shadows. All actors and models cast dynamic shadows in the game world. These make up for the otherwise static lighting. The graphics are further highlighted by the excellent level design. much of it is borrowed from other games, such as Aliens Versus Predator 2 and Tribes 2, but the end result is as impressive as the aforementioned. All of this does come at a price though. The game is quite demanding from a hardware standpoint. The games minimum requirements are rather conservative. If you want to see and feel the game in all it's glory you need quite a powerful system. My recommendation would be a Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon with a speed of 1.3 ghz or faster, 512 or more MB of RAM, and at least a 64 MB fully direct x 8 compliant video card. (GeForce 3/ ATI Radeon) Overall 10/10

Sound:

Whereas the graphics are something to rave about, the same cannot really be said for the game's audio. That is not to say that it is bad, just not up to the level of the graphics or the gameplay. The weapon sounds are low quality and not very interesting. The environmental sounds are overused and disproportionately loud when compared to say the assault rifle, which sounds more like a staple gun. On the bright side, the game does fully support EAX and positional audio for those with newer sound cards. The sound does not hurt the game, but seems more like an afterthought. Overall 6/10

Conclusion:

Unreal 2 is a good game that fails to do anything revolutionary. At about 20-40 dollars now, many people may not be able to justify buying it. It is short, repetitive, and has no multiplayer to speak of. But whatever gameplay it does offer is fun from beginning to end. Overall score: (not an average) 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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