Unreal II starts out differently than the first Unreal game. This one is more scripted, however, it's story line keeps you involved (at points). You travel to different worlds to do different missions. There are 8-9 different locations you travel to, some ranging from desert planets, to foggy, swamplands, to planets that are alive (covered with a parasite) to levels that keep you feeling that you're in an Aliens movie.
The game keep a pretty straight storyline, in that you get called on a mission, you beat it, go back to your ship, get another mission, go back to a planet, etc. On the ship you have your basic mission briefings, as well as a crew member who takes old or new technology and converts them into new weapons for you. Every mission, you usually get some kind of new weapon, some useful, some you will never really use.
Most missions have a mini mission inside of it. You're doing your mission, you come to a point, and you must accomplish something else. One example on a later mission, you are suppose to destroy a gun firing at your ship in orbit, however, when you land, you run into a little resistance and then don't find anything else. You then learn that you need to go somewhere high, and when you get there, you get a message that the other people at the site are in a location, and need cover. Now you're at an extremely high vantage point, and you get a sniper rifle, and you must protect a team member who is going to turn power back on to the station. You must protect him from the mass army that now comes after him. After doing that, you go back to your normal mission that you pick back up where you left off.
The game doesn't really through any of the running and jumping puzzles that you all know and hate (well, not that many), however, it does tend to do the typical lets make it harder by throwing what seems to be hundreds of monsters at you. I tended to start saving often, an option that is included thankfully, as well as doing a quick restore when I goofed something up.
There are instances where you get 'teammates' who help you out in a scripted situation, and while the AI does pretty good at keeping it own, sometimes you feel that you could just sit there and not really be part of the mission, as they will pretty much handle everything. In one mission, I learned this to be pretty true, as you have to defend a beacon for a ship to come pick you up for like 5 minutes. About 2 and a half minutes into this, I was near some rocks that came together, and I decided to kind of hide there, to see if I could take any out that got through. Well, some got through, and they were bullish type creatures who rush you and run into you to cause damage, however when they hit you, the kind of bump you, and one bumped me up, and into the two rocks where I couldn't get out, jump, move, rocket jump, etc... The game does have the occasional bug, glitch, etc where it forces you to reload. Thankfully here, I was simply able to wait out the time, and my teammates were able to fend off the attack (hence the feeling of not really needing me, or a mission just as time and space filler).
The graphics to the game are pretty good, but basically on par with just about all of the newer first person shooters these days. I can't really say they stand out any, but they were all nicely done. The worlds were rather rich in content, from the mist covered jungle, to the HR Giger like alien hives. The fire is nicely done as well as the typical explosions and such. Nothing really ground breaking here, however, it is nicely done. The water is pretty cool looking too.
The interface is your typical FPS shooter setup. Mostly the W, A, S, D keys, along with a mix of use keys, night vision, etc and the mouse. Unfortunately there isn't much here that's different from any other FPS unless you've been in a cave, and have never played one.
While I didn't actually play any multiplayer from Unreal II, there was the ability to. However, with the other Unreal games, that focus more on multiplayer, such as Unreal Tournament, I didn't see any real need to play, as they wouldn't have come out with a separate game if they had included it all on Unreal II. I would imagine that it's your typical deathmatch, capture the flag type multiplayer game.
With the high system requirements of the original Unreal, I had high expectations for Unreal II. I did expect more game play and less movies though. The game felt too scripted in most parts, and not really enough freedom to explore like the first. Also, the first game was more of an expanding story, unlike this one, and everything is more confined. While there are large places to explore, most of the game is rather narrow in the explore category. The game does have a few bugs, mostly graphical or clipping problems, it is a fun game, however it's a little short in my opinion. My biggest complaint is the loading, movie, loading, movie, loading, playing. Too many movies, mixed in the semi-long loading times makes for a long wait between play times.
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