melee combat with first-person shooting may have been
done before but it's never been done like this. Unreal
Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict is a fully-realized
hybrid that plays like a good PC game, though this
is not a port. It features a deep control system that
once learned, will take you places that the original
Unreal Championship could only dream of.
Championship 2 offer both single and multi-player
games, which each feature a variety of modes. As you
may have guessed the online modes are the prime focus
of this title. The single-player is a good training
mode and it's not easy by any stretch (there are five
difficulty settings) but unless you're going to take
advantage of the Xbox Live feature I wouldn't recommend
buying this game only for the single-player modes.
Tournament and Challenges comprise the single-player
experience. All of the modes will give you a good
work out. I would advise you to play all of the modes
in this order to prepare yourself for online play.
There are lots of control commands to get used to
but not in the classic, fighting-style console tradition
of confusing face button combinations. Using a PC-style
command system, there are simply more control facets
which are actually very simple when broken down individually
but when combined create a full-rounded control scheme
that offers lots of options and freedom.
will begin with a few melee attacks and a couple of
weapons. Basically they amount to a few punches and
the ability to shoot. This may seem easy to control
but there is also an interface to consult when implementing
other ingredients such as adrenaline which acts as
power up for such attributes as increased speed, power
boosts and invisibility to name a few. Jumps, double
jumps and jump attacks come in handy for defensive
and offensive moves. The jump attack allows you to
literally soar through the air and tackle an opponent
on the other side of the screen. You can use these
jumps to climb walls or shimmy up the sides of buildings
by jumping from wall to wall.
targeting system allows you to focus on a specific
opponent in such a way that the camera follows him
or her around while you do battle with them. It's
not a physical tether in that you can pull them or
swing them around, nor does it increase the accuracy
of your aim. It just cuts down on the confusion by
focusing on one character when you may be facing a
half dozen or so enemies at once.
the L button allows you to reflect or deflect an enemy's
attack. It works really well and allows you time to
get in a better position when under heavy fire. With
a little bit of practice you can reflect the attack
back at the enemy with such accuracy that you could
destroy them without using any of your own weapons
or melee moves. Conversely the enemy can also reflect
attacks and you could find yourself in the middle
of a volley of a reflected attacks.
rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, stingers
and ripjacks make up some of the weapons. They come
in two categories, energy and explosive and each will
have primary and secondary firing function although
some may go as far as four. You can't change from
energy to explosive weapons on the fly but you can
pick up a dead opponent's weapon and use it.
Story mode sets the tone and pace for the rest of
the game though it's not really important that you
pay attention to everything that's going on. You won't
have to wade through lots of detail, narration or
overacting. The story gets to the point quickly and
lets you get on with the action. This is a fighting
game, not a Shakespearean play and the developers
is essentially an arcade mode where you can choose
your opponent and have it out with him or her. The
most difficult mode of all is the Challenges mode
where you will have to take on enemies that are clearly
superior to you in every way. This is a very frustrating
mode and the AI is exceptional, as they are in all
of the levels but here they are downright bastards.
It's a great training mode for online play and if
you complete it you'll unlock a very special character
that comes equipped with a lot of great moves and
to eight players can take part in the latest and greatest
frag fest online. Modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch,
Capture the Flag, Survival as well as a few new ones,
Overdose and Nali Slaughter. In Overdose you will
have to collect continuously generated spheres and
return them to your base as quickly as possible. Nali
Slaughter puts you in another race of sorts, to kill
more innocent creatures than your opponents within
a given time limit. Expect lot of replay value online
as there isn't a throwaway mode in the batch.
the maps aren't huge they are plentiful. There are
40 medium-sized maps available with more to come.
Bottomless pits are scattered throughout the environments
to restrict randomized jump attacks. To keep things
fair players will not be credited for kills of lower-ranked
players. At the same time, if you get killed by a
lower-ranked player you will lose your higher ranking.
This should encourage player to seek out opponents
of similar skills.
of the waits can be long just to get into a game.
There is a little bit of lag online that you can feel
from time to time but nothing too severe.
the game is sight for sore eyes. The panoramic view
of the background, though not interactive, is breathtakingly
realistic. Textures are clean, crisp and complex and
have that "lived in" look. Character models
are well detailed and come apart nicely when diced
and sliced. You'll see lots of flesh and blood - here's
hoping that most of it isn't yours.
explosions are powerful sounding and will give your
woofers a sound shaking. Musically the soundtrack
fits the situations perfectly alternating with haunting
melodies and military-inspired combat music. The voice
acting can get a little hammy but at least there's
some swearing to make up for it.
Championship 2 may be frustrating at first but as
long as you're patient and don't expect to go online
for a number of days, or even weeks, while training
in the single-player modes, you'll be rewarded with
one of the best games of its kind.