User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

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  :  kbmb (399)
Written on  :  Mar 28, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.88 Stars3.88 Stars3.88 Stars3.88 Stars3.88 Stars

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Am I the only one who really enjoyed this game?

The Good

There is a great deal of disappointment surrounding this game. It looms over it with every opinion and review like a dark cloud. Maybe there was a lot of hype surrounding the game before it was released. Maybe people were promised more than the game gave. For me, I never even heard of the game until I picked it up, and I enjoyed just about every moment through it.

The game is nothing revolutionary. The graphics are top-notch, perhaps the best I've seen in a FPS so far, but aside from that the gameplay is reminiscent of old shoot-everything-and-then-pull-the-switch/push-the-button games like Doom. So if you were expecting more than that, you will be disappointed. But otherwise, the game is great. At least, I think so.

As I mentioned, the graphics are great. Really great. The colors in some of the landscapes - like the very first place you travel to - are very vibrant. Landscapes look almost completely devoid of jagged polygon edges, while indoor areas look appropriately outer-spacey.

Also, there are actual waves in this game, as well as reflections! Well, fake reflections, but they look real enough. As you swim through the water, you can see the waves react to your movement. Dive into a lake and watch the water ripple away as you crash into it.

Character models look great, and the voice acting is supurb. The writing might not be, but I think the voice acting is spot-on. A lot of people complained about the voice acting, but I feel it was the writing that was bad. For instance, at one part of the game you have to defend this scientist as he fixes a transmitter so you can escape, all the while you and him are tossing really dumb insults back at each other. "Did your mommy teach you how to fight?" "No, did yours teach you how to be an idiot?" Well, those aren't the exact things they said, but they were something dumb like that. Some of the writing is rather humerous, however. Like when the mechanic is trying to fix the ship and the blue pilot guy says, "I have read the manual; you have voided the warranty," or "Intercourse!" And there's ragdoll effects! Like when you blast a guy off the side of a hill, you can actually see him tumble and flip and fall down it. Or if you shotgun a guy over a desk, you can watch his body slump over it or slide off with a "clunk" as he hits the floor. Likewise, when you get killed, you get to watch your own corpse's death, which is usually quite entertaining - especially when you die on the side of a cliff and get to watch yourself tumble down it.

While there aren't many types of monsters, the few you fight are quite distinct, and you'll have to use a unique strategy for each type you fight. Some will run right toward you and start slashing at you - too fast to outrun, you'll have to find some way to either kill them before they reach you or set a trap or manage to fight them in close quarters. Others will fire at you from afar, and you'll have to take cover and try and get them before they get you. And some battles require you to actually set up a defense perimeter and set gun emplacements to help you defend against the enemy's onslaught. One of the very first missions requires you to travel through a swampy forest in the dark with several marines as a hundred monsters attempt to make you thier meal.

I also thought the story was good. It's nothing to make you go "whoa man, that's deep", but it's a lot better than "go out and save the world you gun-toting psycho!" like most FPS games are. Actually, the story in the game, right up until the end is pretty vague. You're not a hero out saving the world (or in this case, the universe). You're just doing missions for the army for your own personal reasons. I like that. Being the savior of the universe is fun and all, but I'm sick of doing it in every single game. This was a refreshing change.

Weapons are cool, but nothing spectacular. The flame thrower is a cool weapon, and particularly useful in the level you obtain it, where you fight hordes of spiders. Other interesting weapons include a spider-launcher thing, which covers your opponent in spiders and has an alterative fire that throws a green sack against the wall that explodes when anything gets near it. The sniper rifle is also pretty cool, due to its awesome range. You can zoom in so far as being able to count the hairs in your target's nose from a mile away!

Your character is also black. I don't know if this is necesarrily a good or bad thing, since I really don't care what color the character is, but I can't remember the last game I played in which the main character was black and didn't spend the entire game spouting off ebonics and pimp lingo. Finally, a step forward race-wise.

The characters in the game, I feel, were pretty deep. So many people are complaining about the lack of depth in the people, but...dammit, maybe I missed something, because this was one of those games where I didn't want anything bad to happen to my comrades. They each have a sort of history, and reasons as to why they're traveling with you, and the voice acting is great. I would have liked to have seen a sequel to this game, just to see more of the characters in it.

The Bad

While I liked the female's character, her outfit is annoying. I can just imagine the art department during one of their meetings: "This is the Aida model. We gave her a very sophisticated outfit as to-"
"Sophisti-wha? Pump her tits up a size or two and give her something skimpy."
"What? Why? She's not just some ditzy-"
"I said do it! I'm in charge here! Who gots the hot dogs? I gotta get me a hot dogs! DO IT I SAID!!! WE GOTTA GET THE G'S TO PLEASE!"

Erm. Sorry, I got carried away there. I just mean that, there's no reason for her to be dressing that way. It's obvious that she looks the way she does just to increase game sales, if nothing else, because not once in the game does she do or say anything that's the least bit seductive. She's deep and sophisticated, not some ditz.

Most of the game, the graphics are wonderful and the textures are very high-res...yet...in one part of the game, all the textures seem to have been imported from Wolfeinstein or something, because they were the worst looking textures I've ever seen! They could have been drawn in Paintbrush! I literally restarted the game the first time I saw it, thinking something had screwed up with my video card or something.

Some parts of the game were tough, but not the ones you'd really think. Some missions require you to defend a certain location, which you would think would be some of the hardest missions. Well, aside from one mission, I was able to breeze through these. One I remember, you had to defend some scientists, while these ninja-chicks attacked in waves. Right when the battle started, I took off the other way, trying to reach the top of the building so that I might be able to destroy the attackers from the roof. Unfortunately, I never found the roof, but the mission was a success anyway, because the marines traveling with me were able to defend it all by themselves! I never even fired a shot! Honestly, I think it's great that you have some buddies to help you fight in some missions, but it should at least require you to do SOME of the work to beat the missions. Another mission had this problem.

As I've said before, the gameplay is nothing revolutionary. It's all just running around, killing anything that attacks you, and then moving on to the next part. There's a lot of variety - like defending a base, or placing gun emplacements and such, but they're few, and between those is a lot of run-and-gun gameplay.

The Bottom Line

***



Good:
+Great graphics.
+Story isn't too cliche'd.
+Ragdoll effects!.
+Good voice acting.
+Interesting and unique characters.
+Different types of missions.


Neutral:
oSystem requirements are a bit high, and as usual the "recommended" specs don't mean squat. Great graphics if you got it, though.
oTypical run-and-gun first person shooter. You've seen it before. Maybe didn't look this good, but you've seen it before.

Evil:
-Aida's outfit is obviously targeted at thirteen year old sexually frustrated idiots.
-Linear levels.
-Not enough interaction with the other characters.
-Bad, bad textures in the alien place.


Score:
8.0/10

All these bad reviews don't seem right. If you're expecting something revolutionary, like I said, you will be disappointed. But if you're looking for a standard FPS with great graphics and interesting characters, with GOOD voice acting for a change, Unreal II is a great game.