Great game, hampered by performance
The story line is fantastic, but who would expect anything less than something overseen by Clive Barker. From my understanding, the story was already worked out before Clive came on board, but I do know that he was responsible for redesigning the main character, Patrick, as well as providing the voice of one of the villains and designing some of the monsters.
The game starts off very strong, you are quickly pulled into the mystery of the Covenant family and their curse. The atmosphere is creepy and stifling - you feel like you can't escape the horrors that lurk in the Covenant mansion.
The game is powered by the Unreal Tournament engine, contrary to a previous review of this game which stated it was a quake 3 engine. It has been heavily modified to handle the shadows and characters and it really shows. The level design is, for the most part quite good and the monsters are unique and well designed.
I found the music and sound to be fantastic. No complaints here, I often listen to the soundtrack just to get into the mood!
There was no cooperative multi player, something I always look for in a single player title. However I do think that Undying plays just fine alone, in fact it probably increases the fear and tension throughout the game.
I did not like the UT powered engine. The game struggles in many areas to perform, and brought my beefy machine to it's knees in many situations (single digit framerates). Also, the sound often popped/crackled, which for me destroyed a lot of the mood created.
I also was quite disappointed by the last 1/3 of the game, it moved away from the mansion setting and moved towards some bizarre areas, which I was not too impressed with. Lastly, the ending was vague and I found the story to be inadequately explained. I like open endings but this ending was so open the earth could have fallen through it.
Lastly I did not like the frustrating slowness of the save/load mechanism. It took too long and became a great hindrance to my enjoyment. I read that the game was being developed for a release on the PS2 (which was canned) - due to memory restrictions, the game has an increased amount of 'loading' screens, which gets quite annoying after a while and breaks the tempo. While I understand why they did this, it still is annoying and unrequired for the PC version.
The Bottom Line
A good title, worth your time and money and is guaranteed to scare your pants off in many parts. There are some great elements to this game, so don't let my negative comments discourage you!