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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Shooter / Action

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Epic Games

 

ESRB

Mature (M)

 

Released

April 2005

 

 

- Excellent visuals

- Melee combat works excellent and is a ton of fun

- Visible Mortal Kombat influences

- Large number of multiplayer maps

 

 

- Fans of the original may be turned off by the new changes

- Steep learning curve

- Death sequences are rather bland

 

 

Review: Unreal Championship (XB)

Review: Doom 3 (XB)

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

Review: Counter-Strike (XB)

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Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict

Score: 8.7 / 10

Developer Epic Games has really taken the Unreal franchise in a completely new and innovative direction. Unlike before, where the Unreal games were all about shooting action, the new installment combines both shooting and melee combat in one action-packed game. To accommodate this change, the game now incorporates third person action as well as the traditional first person view.

 

unreal championship 2          unreal championship 2

 

Some of the best parts of Unreal 2 is the melee combat. You’ll find the melee combat is equally useful against players who are shooting or using melee weapons.  The melee combat is handled from a third person perspective, which is fine considering the camera always stays properly behind your character and there is also a lock-on feature, which allows you to target specific enemies. With a nod to the Jedi Knight series, if you’re being shot at while in third person you can also deflect shots away from you using a sword or other handheld weapon.

 

The melee combat is also influenced by Mortal Kombat. You can freeze or stun the enemy and perform a Coup De Grace, which is reminiscent to the fatality moves found in Mortal Kombat. If you’re not particularly interested with melee combat, then you can just opt to play Unreal Championship 2 (UC2) like a shooter, either in first person or third person perspective.

 

One area that might keep novice players away from UC2 is the steep learning curve. It takes a while to get acquainted with all aspects of the game, more specifically switching back and forth between shooting and the melee combat. And even more specifically, since the melee combat is fairly robust, it takes some time getting familiar with all your characters abilities and moves.

 

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The offline portion of the franchise has certainly not been one of the strong points of the series, but UC2 certainly attempts to change that. While the single player game is still focused on training you for the multiplayer segment of the game, there is an average storyline and a few other modes to kick around. In total there are three single player modes: Story, Challenge and Arcade.

 

The Challenge mode is made up of fifteen levels and is better described as a “Situation Mode.” 

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The challenge mode pits you in difficult situations with all odds against you. You might be playing capture the flag and be down three points and your objective would be to win the match within a given time period. The challenge mode is extremely challenging, but the unlockable reward (secret character Raiden from Mortal Kombat) is worth it, especially if you’re a Mortal Kombat fan.

 

The story mode is actually done quite well. While the storyline isn’t particularly great, the structure of the story mode is very good. In order to make the story missions fresh and less repetitive, each of the levels is completely different from one another. You’ll frequently play weapon-restricted matches such as rocket launchers only or sniper rifles only matches and so forth.

 

unreal championship 2          unreal championship 2

 

The online play supports up to eight players. There are a total of six modes, two of which are brand new. The two new modes are Nali Slaughter and Overdose. There are a number of creatures in Nali Slaughter and the entire purpose is to eradicate more creatures than the other players. Overdose sees the player carry a series of balls across a map without dying. Where UC2 really impresses online, is with the insane number of maps available. There are over forty multiplayer maps available to play online. There is also split screen and system link play available, too. 

 

Visually, UC2 is a stunning and beautiful game. Everything from the characters to environments look amazing. Even though the game has over forty multiplayer maps, there is enough variety to prevent repetitive level design from being an issue. If there is one area where the game is a graphical slouch, it’s probably the death sequences. Whenever you die or kill an enemy they basically split up into a number of pieces, which looks rather ugly and unpolished. Other than that, the game is one of the better looking games to released on the Xbox of late.

 

Unreal Championship 2 makes a lot of changes to the original game, which debuted as a hit with the Xbox Live Community. Most of the changes are a welcome, but fans of the original game that preferred the complete first person shooter style may shy away from this title as the melee combat plays a big part of UC2. I only recommend Unreal 2 to those who are planning to go online with it. While the game does possess a fairly impressive single-player campaign and split-screen multiplayer, it isn’t nearly as satisfying as battling other players over Xbox Live.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(June 7, 2005)

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