Unreal Championship 2 Review
In September 2002 Epic and Digital Extremes released Unreal Championship, which similarly to Unreal Tournament on the PlayStation2 was more or less a port of the PC version. This time around Epic has opted to create something just for consoles. Instead of being another run and gun shooter like its predecessors this latest installment in the Unreal series has added in some surprising new features, namely the third person perspective, and melee combat.
If you’re a hardcore fan of Unreal or console first person shooters you may want to be cautious approaching Unreal Championship 2. The game’s new third person camera and melee combat have left very little of the original gameplay left. UC2 is actually more comparable to games like Jedi Academy then past Unreal games as you will primarily be using melee combat throughout the game with the option of switching back to your ranged weapon always there. All that aside though the gameplay is still a lot of fun, and the third person camera lets you pull off some pretty cool acrobatics (jumping off walls, diving at your enemies). There is a lot to improve in the game though, the melee combat really only has two basic attacks and can be rather repetitive. Unlike the last Unreal Championship this installment does not offer customizable controls, so gamers picky about their own controller or joystick configurations may find it uncomfortable.
While past Unreal Tournament games have had generally lackluster offline modes, Unreal Championship 2’s came as a pleasant surprise. Instead of just tossing you into the multiplayer levels with bots, UC2 has a story, cut scenes between matches, and pretty much anything else you’d expect from a campaign mode. For those people out there who complete games too quickly, rest assured Unreal Championship 2 has a lot of content to keep you going for a while. Offline has 3 lengthy game modes to keep you occupied; a story mode, tournament mode, and a challenge mode…its also worth mentioning there is five different difficulty levels to choose from.
And of course the main feature of the game; the Xbox Live play. My feelings on this part of the game are rather mixed. I was pretty disappointed to find out that the game didn’t support 16 players online, but after playing in numerous games with 8 people and experiencing some pretty bad lag I quickly understood why. Playing online though made the ranged weapons start to feel very weak, and in the games I played they were not used all that often, which I found very disappointing. Me being one of the people who whines like a baby every time someone kills me with the sword in Halo 2, I really didn’t enjoy the multiplayer at first, until finally I said, “screw it” and started exclusively using melee weapons too; which as much as I hate to admit it made it a lot more fun. The different gameplay modes online are fantastic, you have all your standard ones like deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, survival (1 on 1 deathmatch); and some newer ones, like Overdose, which is essentially an everyone for themselves version of capture the flag, and Nali slaughter which places a bunch of helpless NPC’s in the level for you to try and slaughter before all of your fellow online gamers do.
In case you hadn’t noticed Unreal Championship 2 sports some pretty impressive looking visuals, the character models look great, the animations are clean, the levels are all interesting and well designed. So despite it not being the sequel I was maybe expecting or even hoping for, once you get use to the new direction the gameplay goes and as long as you understand ahead of time what your getting into your sure to enjoy it.