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I was intrigued when I first heard about Unreal Championship 2 (UC2). While the gameplay its series was known for was still here, it added a whole new element of gameplay-melee. With this came a new third-person view, a new finisher system and new controls. This could have been a disaster, a catastrophic combination. But luckily, this isnt that, in fact its nowhere near that. Whether youre a fan of the series or looking for excellent multiplayer and something unique then this will do you fine.
The main storymode follows the tale of a warrior known as Anubis. He hasnt had a very good life. He ran from a tournament ten years ago. This caused quite a bit of a stir, as some said he was a coward and others say that he was driven away by the publicity. Now, he has entered the tournament to stop his ex girlfriend known as Selket from winning the tournament and becoming empress.
Controlwise, the controls take a bit of getting used to. Seeing as this is a blend of FPS and Melee combat, the controls need to have been adapted to both types of gameplay. This means if youve only been playing FPS or Melee games then you may press the wrong buttons at times. But once you get used to them, youll realise that the controls are responsive (though the Y button didnt respond a couple of times but that could of just been me).
Like I mentioned before, UC2 adds something quite big-melee combat. But before I go into detail about that, lets talk about the gameplay that has been there from the beginning-the shooting. You can choose two weapons to have with you and you can shoot away. The weapons feel really powerful and are great to use. You can fire two different attacks-the primary fire and the alternative fire (basically the secondary fire).The primary fire is your basic firing and the secondary weapon is a bit more powerful but you could just stick with just using the primary fire. You can view shooting from a first-person or third-person view.
The melee combat is a new thing, like Ive mentioned like a million times, and its excellent. Basically, each character gets their own unique weapon, whether its a sword or the characters own claws. You get two different attacks which are a spin attack and a heavy attack. The names are pretty self-explanatory, the heavy attack is powerful and the spin attack spins your character around to strike the enemy. You can stun enemies to perform a special move in this mode or the shooting mode, but well talk about these in a second. You can only view melee in third-person view.
With the new melee combat comes new finishing moves called Coup de Grace moves. What a name! Youll first need to stun enemies by either shooting a stunning ball at them or by weakening them in melee mode. Then youll have to enter a ridiculously hard combo in to perform it and then watch your character destroy the enemy. Sadly, all these moves are dull. Its not really worth entering this hard code to finish them when you can finish them with a couple of gunshots. Exactly!
But overall the combat is pretty exciting. This means the modes of play are all great. The mode that non-multiplayer people will enjoy most is the story-mode which is called the ascension rites. This is a short set of matches which will start with a few tutorials but after will immediately throw you into combat matches. Theres pretty much always a cutscene between these matches, and not only do these look spectacular but they sound great as the voice acting is great and the script is well written. The matches themselves never cease to be exciting as well, making this a excellent ride to prepare you for multiplayer.
Next is the tournament, which lets you choose one of the 14 characters and play through about 10 matches each are different. The thing is, the tournaments never have the same matches, meaning it doesnt get repetitive and theres lots of people to play as. Though a lack of cutscenes and unlockable characters by playing this mode (theres only about three characters you can unlock by completing the Tournament) make this sometimes a bit of a slog to play through. Then theres the challenges, which is very hard. These basically throw you in ludicrous situations which have you out gunned and lacking of time. Plus these are all on a very hard difficulty level, making them even harder. But theres a sweet reward to finishing all of these challenges, youll unlock one of Mortal Kombats famous characters-Raiden. If youre playing online and you see someone whos Raiden watch out!
As far as multiplayer goes, its unparalleled on the Xbox. Its downright brilliant. Youll get to choose from quite a few match types. Youll have your standard shooter match types like deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. Then theres the unique match types like overdose, a match where you have to find a gold or white ball when it appears and take it to a goal (if you take a gold ball to a gold goal then its six, but if you take it to a white goal youll get three points) and the first person to hit the score limit wins. As you score and kill, youre overdose meter will build up. Once its full, if you score youll turn invisible and get U-Damage (which makes you more powerful). Its a great match type for multiple people. All the match types are excellent when playing together. Sadly, I havent had a chance to play on Xbox Live, but playing in the four player split-screen multiplayer was a blast, so I cant imagine what 8 player on Live would be like. You can also do System Link.
Theres quite a bit of strategy when playing UC2. Firstly, youll have to choose a character which matters as you have to consider their stats and their Adrenaline abilities (more explained later on). Then there are the weapons. Youll need to choose two weapons and choosing the best weapons for you can win you a match. Then theres how you play. Youll have to decide whether youll use melee or shooting. They both have their advantages, like in melee its easier to do wall jumps (yep, wall jumps in a shooter) but in shooting its easier to keep a distance. Also, deciding which view you want adds some strategy. And theres when and how you use your adrenaline abilities.
Adrenaline abilities are basically each characters special powers. Theres always a ability that lets you heal yourself, whether youre healed as soon as you do the move, it replenishes gradually or it replenishes as you hurt people. There are lots of other moves, like nimble which lets you do two double jumps and make you jump higher. There are lots of other moves, like moves which increase your strength and send bursts of energy at them to damage their health. Replenishing adrenaline can be done by finding cans of adrenaline or by going onto one of these adrenaline replenishing booths which restore all the adrenaline. Theres other items to find as well, like ammo, health and U-damage (which increases your damage).
Graphically, UC2 looks very impressive. It feels right at home on a powerful console like the Xbox. The game has a smooth frame rate, which is a key thing to a game like this. It is really surprising that its smooth, as theres a high level of detail. The characters look great, with smooth animation from the jumping to the characters hair. The designs are good as well, with lots of variety considering theres 14 different characters to play as. The thing that really appealed to me though was the setting. It was like a futuristic Egypt, with lots of pyramids and ancient settings, yet it has lots of high tech, futuristic weapons and machines. Its really appealing and its one of the best settings I know in a videogame. The weapon designs are excellent, though theres not enough weapons so it can be repetitive. Also, the way people die if you do a Coup de Grace isnt very good. People just explode into chunks of meat. It doesnt look very good and it would be nice to see some skulls and bones. Aside from that though, the game looks fantastic.
Sound is sometimes a weak point of a shooter. The voice-acting could have been cheesy and over-the-top and the music could have been some tired techno mish-mash. But UC2 is very different. The voice-acting is great and far from over-the-top. The dialogue is also very well written, making the cutscenes are a joy to watch thanks to this and the voice acting. The music is pretty much the same as previous games. It is basically a mix of blood pumping action music and exotic Egyptian themes. Its a good combination and suits the games setting and theme. The effects are good as well, with lots and lots of gunfire (obviously) which are really powerful, but also the swiping of swords and of course the good old blood splash heard in any action game thats 15+.
The thing Unreal has always been known for is lots of content. UC2 keeps that tradition. If youre a single player, you could still get at least 30 hours of gameplay here with the single-player campaign, all the players tournaments and the devilish challenge mode. Also, its just good fun to set up a bot match where theres 30 minutes and a 100 kill limit (oh the good times). But if youre a multiplayer man then expect to be playing this for months, especially if you play on Xbox Live. The multiplayer is so excellent that this will suck you in and not let you go.
UC2 is pretty great. It doesnt completely change gaming and its not the best of its kind, but UC2 is very fun. Its got excellent visuals, mighty sound, top notch gameplay and lots of content (especially for Xbox Live players). It even has a great amount of content for single-players. While its controls need some getting used to, they do a good enough job. If youre a fan (casual or die-hard) of the Unreal games then this is an obvious must have unless youre really not keen on going behind the back. Even if youre just looking for something unique and has lots of variety, then this is something you may want to track down.
-(Where You Can Buy It)-
Amazon for £15.98 or used and new from £3.44
Limited Edition also available from £4.75
Published by Midway and developed by Epic Games.
It was released on April 22nd 2005 and is exclusive to Xbox.
It supports In-game dolby digital.
P.S. hope you like the changes i've made to my review style.
Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict will offer gamers two new single player experiences to challenge their Unreal combat skills. In the single player campaign, players will fight their way through new cities and arenas as they take on the role of Anubis in his attempt to retake his people's Nakhti Rite of Ascension Tournament from the machinations of the omnipresent Liandri Corporation. In the single player tournament, gamers will fight through a tournament ladder as one of the many unlockable characters in the game. Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict will also offer players the chance to fight head-to-head in eight player tournaments over Xbox Live or System Link. The game will take advantage of Xbox Live's leaderboards, making it obvious who the ultimate tournament champions are.