One of the more popular FPS franchises comes back to XBox with an XBox exclusive title – Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict. This game however changes things up a bit with a brand new hand-to-hand 3rd person melee fighting mode that put a whole new spin on the Unreal series of games that have, up to date, been historically just "PC editions" for what we see on consoles. Unreal Championship 2 primarily takes place from a third-person perspective, which helps greatly with your sword and staff attacks, since you'll need to see the action going on around you to survive. This new perspective is the default for when you're rocking a gun – and comes as a saving grace for people such as myself who get regular headaches when playing FPS games for too long – but still crave the intense action.
Experience thrilling acrobatic melee combat
Play as any 1 of 14 characters from the Unreal universe
Adrenaline powers enable new offensive and defensive combos
Bone-crunching melee combat; 3rd-person navigation
Single-player and multiplayer gameplay
I'll put in my usual rant about playing the game in HDTV mode (in this case, 480P) since the graphics are much crisper and life like in the HD format. That being said, the graphics look phenomenal and the new spin this game has on the Unreal franchise is nothing short of remarkable. The environments and varied maps (over 50) look amazing and best of all the action and special effects of the game notch as some of the best I've seen to date on XBox. There's definitely a thrilling aspect to the game, since you get to actually see what happens to your character in this new perspective, as with other FPS games you just "turn the screen red" for a much more visually pleasing experience. Since the varied maps are rendered so well is so many different environments, the key to pulling them off is making sure they run smoothly – which they do! Although the maps are highly detailed, the game doesn't slow down or sputter in key moments – it seems perfectly tailored for XBox, which is no surprise since this isn't a "port" over from the PC – it's an actual XBox title built from the ground up.
The game offers up Dolby Digital surround sound for a VERY nice experience, especially when you play on-line and have action all around you. The music is somewhat cliche in its form, the stuff that football highlights and old war film movies seem to play all the time. The effects of explosions, and the various verbal taunts the characters have is pretty entertaining. Kudos on the sound effects, no props for the music.
Pretty much take whatever you know about "Unreal" for the PC and throw it out the window since this title breaks a lot of barriers. Sure, you can play in the regular FPS mode, but you sincerely miss a lot of the graphics this way (and gain some headaches in my case). Personally, I thought the new perspective was wonderful and allowed me to play much longer than I normally do with action oriented games.
The game has plenty to do – for single players, there's a story-driven campaign that puts gamers as Anubis, who enters the tournament to stop his evil ex-girlfriend from becoming the emperor (what guy doesn't find this appealing?). The campaign includes some nicely rendered cutscenes, has some dialogue, and makes for a nice piece of the total game package. Similar to fighting games, gamers can pick a character and go through a tournament mode.
The real selling point for gamers looking in to Unreal 2: The Liandri Conflict, is the hefty content on Xbox Live. You can have up to eight players in a match, and all of the mutators and other configuration options that you'd have offline are available online as well. The game keeps statistics, letting gamers see their weapon preference, most-used adrenaline powers, and other interesting facts of note. The game uses Xbox Live for a scoreboard feature, which applies to most single-player challenges, so you can compare your times with the rest of the Unreal Championship 2 community. There are also places for downloadable content, such as alternate character skins and new maps.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
Since there's so much to do and see in the game both from a single player and multiplayer perspective, and all the features on XBox Live to consider, this title gets a perfect score for longevity. It's very addictive, and there's lots to do after the somewhat short single player campaign. Most of the hours playing this game should be spent on-line, which is a blast to do.
I'm sure some FPS junkies will dislike the new perspective and new twist to the Unreal franchise … to those people I can only say, "Too bad!" because I loved the new perspective and loved the action that Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict had to offer. If you're not up on XBox Live there might be a little less you can do (which gives you all the incentive to purchase the online gaming service) but solo gamers should have a fun experience regardless.
Overall, Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict takes the Unreal name to new heights with amazing maps, varied environments, and an amazing things to do in both solo and multiplayer modes on XBox Live. The game boasts some great graphics and tremendous gameplay fun for a fantastic overall gaming experience.