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Unreal II: The Awakening (Windows)

79
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.5
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Lucas Schippers (59)
Written on  :  Apr 05, 2003
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

This game is exactly like Jell-O.

The Good

Requisite statement: whoo boy, these are some really nice graphics. All sarcasm aside, they are pretty good, although since the levels themselves are so plain the sharp visuals occasionally fail to impress. One level in particular, set in a laboratory, has this one room, see, that's like, all melted and stuff, and there's this laser, right, and it's like, reflecting off everywhere. And it looks good, and stuff.

The Bad

I think this may be the plainest game I've ever played. It's not outstanding in either direction - not great, not bad, not even really good - it's the digital equivalent of Jell-O. I rushed out and bought "Unreal 2" after having starved myself of FPSes since the mostly excellent "Aliens versus Predator 2." I didn't really know what to expect, since I had not played any incarnation of the "Unreal" franchise before, but I hoped that it would at least be fun in a cliched way.

It's definitely cliched, that's for sure. Normally, I don't slam games for this sin, since most don't aspire to impress with their plots. You know, save the universe, rescue the chick, ad infinitum. However, "Unreal 2" slathers the plot on thick. In between almost every mission, you have to wander in your ship, talking to their teammates and learning about their pasts and why they're so fucked up. They're actually not bad teammates - I especially liked the funky alien pilot. Nevertheless, the story is quite dull, and it's made even more so thanks to the monotonic delivery of the main character. His voice is as flat and boring as the game's weaponry.

Boring plots and linear levels are mostly venial sins for FPSes. Boring weaponry, however, is a truly cardinal crime. "Unreal 2" features some real snorers, starting with the standard issue popgun (lame), then moving on to the standard issue machine gun (oh, it shoots, like, radioactive splinters? Count me in!), complete with the standard issue rocket launcher, grenade launcher, and the now-standard issue flamethrower (which does sport some nifty graphics boy-howdy). We've all seen these weapons countless times before, and they've been done much better. Really, rushing a group of Imps in "Doom" and gutting them with the shotgun still gives me more thrills than coring the enemies in this game with any of its tired weapons. The programmers must have realized just how 1990s their arsenal was, so they attempted to spice it up with "innovations" like the spider gun. Yes, you heard me right, the spider gun. What does the spider gun do, you ask? It shoots a little spray of biomass that produces lots of little lifeforms that swarm onto whoever you aim your cannon at (yeah, it's a little like fucking). What do the little spiders do? They piss off the enemy. I was ecstatic as I watched the bad guy I just shot angrily swat away some spiders before he pulled out his shotgun and corpseified me.

The Bottom Line

A really disappointing don't-bother experience.