Unreal II: The Awakening PC Game Review

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Unreal II: The Awakening is a first-person shooter video game, part of the Unreal series. The game was developed by the now defunct Legend Entertainment, published by Atari and released on February 4, 2003 for Microsoft Windows. It was later ported to Microsoft’s Xbox on February 10, 2004. Initially designed only for a single-player campaign, the game has one expansion called eXpanded MultiPlayer (XMP), a multiplayer expansion that contains just one game mode that is similar to Capture the flag but requires more sophisticated tactics. The Expansion was included in Special edition and later offered as a free download to those who already had the retail version of Unreal II.

The player controls a former Marine John Dalton, a Terran Colonial Authority Marshal whose job is to patrol remote areas of space far away from any real action. He is called back into service to retrieve seven pieces of an ancient artifact thought to make a powerful weapon when assembled.

The plot follows a pre-set linear path like many first-person shooters, with the character going to various planets in search of the artifacts. Level design at each location is also linear, with a certain amount of puzzle solving and key finding.

Environments on each planet are quite diverse, ranging from tropical to desert, bunkers and industrial installations, and alien cities and even inside the bodies of aliens. During several missions the player must hold a location against waves of incoming enemies, in some cases using NPCs and equipment (such as sentry guns) as support.


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  • i have been looking through information about this game and it turns out it had a really troubled history of development and it,s no wonder the final product is so underwhelming. the studio behind the game legend entertainment had major issues with the engine while making unreal 2 which tremendously slowed the games' development and they would need another whole year or even longer to release the game in a finished state that the devs were happy with. but the publisher infogames wanted the game to be released on 2003 for the sole reason of having it release alongside with unreal tournament 2003. so legend was forced into speeding up unreals' 2's development which meant scrapping almost everything legend intended and promised for the game. which meant leaving the gameplay and level design in a very unfinished and unpolished state. and butchering out almost all of the story due to having to cut out a dialogue and reputation system similar to kotor or later bioware games and also because various levels were cut from the game due to them not even being in a playable state when legend were forced to rush the game to release. so due to infogames' simple decision to have both the sequels to unreal and tournament be released at the same time unreal 2 came out as a shallow husk that disappointed both the developers who had to release the game in this state and the fanbase of the original unreal who were mad at it,s lack of polish and originality or interesting aspects compared to the first game.

  • i remember playing this as a kid and this shit went so hard

  • I'm 4 years late (bloody bus service) But I quite liked this one although I do agree Johns a bit boring, I acctually got this in the Anthology (Complete with Soundtrack) for 10p when Toys R Us had a clear out of their PC games.

  • Yeah.. I tried this game and it bored me so much when I encountered the first bug. That was when I stopped playing.

  • Plot: Unreal 2 is the first game I wound up losing track of the plot which basically boils down to the stupidest twists ever. I mean, just imagine if Mass Effect's "keepers" turned out to actually be the reapers all along?

    Weapons: To be fair, the weapon roster is actually what a subcontracted "marshall" would use. The flak cannon is actually illegal in the game's lore, about the only time it's used is by pirates and in the tournament. The razorjack is a Skaarj (pronounced "scar") weapon, so…

    Mechanics and play: I do believe this is the first game to introduce "mantling." Everything else is pretty much bland save for some interesting presentation. Seeing a Skaarj warrior deflect/block CAR rounds to the face with their razik blades gives a clear look into what made them so damn terrifying they really are.

    Music: It's actually fairly decent, Sulferon's track is absolutely underutilized and should have been given a better level with more climatic length.

    Levels: The defense segments really made for some fun fights for me personally. I actually had to think of turret placement just to maximize their use.

    All in all, it was an attempt to expand the universe that somehow (now retroactively) felt like a rushed third party map pack. For polished final products, try "7 Bullets" for UT99's singleplayer addon mod. Non-canon, but worth playing.

  • I love this game.

  • Imagine being this guy and reviewing Super Mario Bros: "The most boring experience. Mario has to save a princess…. Real original, right? There isn't even a sprint button or inventory? Boom. Got em! *pats self on back"

  • Hey we want to Play Unreal 2 XMP during the Pandemic!!

    46 old XMP players on this Discord Channel:

    Game Download:

    U2XMP Facebook Group:


    Please invite anyone you can remember / track down – its been 15 years!!

  • I rather enjoyed playing Unreal 2. My biggest gripe is that it was waaaay too short, with only a handful of missions.

  • I found something that actually does skip cut-scenes

  • This game was the best of the Unreal series, your review sucks

  • I played U2 a few years ago and like it very much. It's not any revolution, but it's just an average good game. Not everything needs to be super innovative to be fun.

  • Well , at least the details are ok and the environments are nice

  • I need source for the butt @ 0:00

  • this guy has low testosterone lvls

  • you I had very different experiences with this game granted I was like 8 and the only mission I ever played was "Hell" 🤷🏾‍♂️

  • Part 2 looked good but played like s@#t

  • i played on pc and the only way i could play the game was to adjust the speed of the game to be faster using cheat command, otherwise you are crawling everywhere

  • you clearly live in a nostalgia bubble. using the word boring that often doesnt make your point better. i played unreal 1 few months ago…. oh what is that… boring repetetive shooting against the same enemies over and over again. and the enemies just jump around from left to right to mock combat movement. and that generic space villain story… that generic mines… that generic jump n run sequences….. that game was so much better then unreal 2…. right?! riiiiiiight?

  • Bit late to be commenting on this but I'm sure someone will read it but the guy that voices Isaac voices like every third person in Fallout 3. He's the guard getting attacked by radroaches after Amata wakes you up to tell you you're dad is gone. Lol that last park is my life

  • How can you not even mention the multiplayer in this game? It was a blast.

  • I really liked this game!

  • I still play unreal 2 and the orginal to this day.

  • The multiplayer mode "XMP" was actually a very cool concept…kind of like Vehicle CTF in UT2004, but with three classes and the ability to construct defences like force fields and TF2-like Sentries. Each fort also could be locked down and you needed to "hack" the defences to get in which used up time. The defences in each fort and the force field and sentries needed power to work and so players had to drive out into the field and capture generators. Unfortunately it was totally overshadowed by the Onslaught mode in UT2004 which was hugely popular around that time.

  • this game was the ultimate let down after loving Unreal so much

  • Graphics wise, Compared to Unreal, which used the unreal engine 1, unreal 2 (using the unreal engine 2.5) was steps ahead in terms of technical capabilities and detail.

    Just in terms of static meshes alone, unreal only had mostly static BSP environments. details were often sculpted in with BSP geometry. Unreal 2 used a large amount of Static meshes, significantly better baked and dynamic lighting and effects. Comparing Unreal 1 graphics to Unreal 2 is like comparing a tin can 50s commercial aircraft to a 90s airliner. It was simply no contest, and the graphics at the time were eye popping good.

  • This was one of my fav games growing up, in fact it's the Main reason i played Mass effect, warframe, borderlands and Destiny 2, the whole concept of having a spaceship that takes you to different planets each one has it's own unique vibe, to be frank no game has done that correctly (each planet has a unique vibe part) aside from Destiny 2 which is my fav game atm

  • You're being way too cynical… For one, the whole "this is your ship and crew, you can talk with them and explore the ship between missions" were new and fresh when it came out. The graphics were also stellar at the time. If you're going to review the game through a modern lens, then Unreal 1 is a way worse game, but thats a pretty terrible way to go about it.
    It's not a perfect game, but when it came out it was easily between a 8/10-9/10 game. The locales were varied, original or interesting, sometimes all at once. The graphics were some of, if not the best available, the sound desgin were solid. Voice acting, character models, animations, scope and inovation were all present in this game.
    This is an old game, there is no point "reviewing" it, you would not pick this off any shelf today, or find it listed along new releases. It is an old game you have to search out in the interest of playing it. Do a goddamn retrospective if you're going to look at it, the game came out in early 2003 ffs. Compare this game to something likeTurok Evolution and tell me its graphics were "just Unreal 1 with better models"
    I'd hate to see you review Half Life, Call of Duty 1, Turok or OoT.

  • This was actually my first Unreal game believe it or not. I remember that this game really impressed me back then, because I never played anything similar to it before. I was especially impressed by the graphics and atmosphere of the game, I think it was the best looking game I had and probably one of the best looking games of that time too. I didn't have internet back then so I couldn't really compare it to other similar games of that time, or even other Unreal games. I also didn't understand english at that time, so I didn't know how good or bad the story and writing was.
    Years later, after playing every other Unreal game, I can kinda say that yes, this is the worst of them all, not like the others at all, very slow gameplay, but even so, it's still special to me and I have a lot of nostalgic memories of it.

  • I know this is an old vid, but i really did not mind the game. i think the ending was one of the biggest surprises. Some of the weapons feel a bit meh, and the walking speed does get on your nerves, but in later levels its not really noticeable. I still think it is a solid shooter though, maybe not up there with the half life 2's etc, but at the top of the mid range shooters. Certainly the gameplay has aged more than the graphics, but I would still say its worth a blast through.

    Certainly when this came out it was considered one of the better looking and playing games, and while Gman may not have known many people who played it, I knew quite a few.

  • I thought this game was fantastic when i first played at 12 years old right after release. It hasn't aged that well but i thought (spoiler warning) that the black hole gun you get at the end was sick. Also i cared enough for the characters especially Aida, to be devastated and in disbelief when the spaceship exploded.