God...how I wish I were younger again. UNREAL is a scifi inspired experience of profound FPS beauty. And I'm not talking about the kind of perverse delight one gets from blowing up a zombie into gory bits. I'm talking about atmosphere. I'm talking about immersion. I'm talking about the sensation of walking across a grassy hill late at night while wind whistles through the air and little rabbit-like critters chirp in the brushes beside you. Or the sense of awe you receive when you climb to the top of a mammoth, ornate tower and watch an enormous flying wooden ark slowly and silently descend from the sky to invite you in. Or the sense of calm you feel rocking on the canoe and listening to the sounds of the rippling water around you while before you, the image of a looming stone castle gets slowly gets closer and closer.
The funny thing is...when I first encountered this game, I hated it. I had grown accustomed to its violent multiplayer successor UNREAL TOURNAMENT, and all this scenery and atmospheric stuff for me just felt dull and interfered with the shooting. If it's one area that UNREAL does have some shortcomings in, it's the shooting. While not bad by any stretch of the imagination, firefights in this game are really slow with enemies taking many, many bullets to bring down. Also the weapons (like the gel gun) are intentionally awkward, requiring the player to really focus on tactical combat. It lacks the fast-paced, visceral, bloody excitement of something like DOOM or QUAKE. However, the immersive mythical scifi world created here, superior technical qualities, etc. all make up for this. Although I'm sure the qualities that made this game stand out have been bested 100 times over by modern titles, for the time, I had encountered nothing like it in the FPS world.
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Sep 22, 2012
May 8, 2013 09:31 PM UTC
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