• Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Feb 3, 2003

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 100
    It speaks like no other game in the genre, loud and with feeling, and tells a story worth telling among all the explosions.
  2. Never before have I seen this level of detail in a PC game. Unreal II blows the lid off the graphical standards we as PC gamers have set, and elevates the playing field to an unprecedented level. [Mar 2003, p.90]
  3. A 3-D shooter that pays as much attention to a compelling single-player storyline as it does blasting enemies with futuristic weaponry.
  4. Only the lack of a rich multi-player section and some odd design decisions keep Unreal 2 from being one of the best FPS’s in recent memory.
  5. It's so predictable that a player will find himself quickly out-thinking the designers. [PC Gamer UK]
  6. 82
    While the title does make some significant breakthroughs these are largely confined to a technical realm and offer little in the way of new gameplay.
  7. Amazingly beautiful, yet totally vacant in practically every other respect. It is certainly something fun to behold, but its lackluster showing in many other ways makes it tedious.
  8. For anyone who is looking for an old-school action FPS experience with solid production values and lots of explosions, this is your game.
  9. Definitely delivers cool effects and dishes up some really amazing moments, but technical issues, a cornball story, and weak voice acting add up to a slight disappointment overall. [Apr 2003, p.66]
  10. The first Unreal made its name on, well, its unreal visuals, but we had no idea how saucy a first-person shooter could look until we tried the sequel.
  11. While the game starts off strong, its personality steadily dribbles away, leaving you feeling you've played enough of it and never need to play it again. [Apr 2003, p.102]
  12. It is impressive. Since the five-year hiatus, however, there have been others that were more so than it.
  13. Long enough to last you a few intense game sessions, and you'll easily polish it off over the weekend.
  14. 76
    Sorry, it's been an epic wait for the tech upgrade... It's a good game, but too often resorts to recycling a number of first-person shooter clichés instead of breaking new ground.
  15. The stupid and uninspiring storyline, coupled with some EAX related problems never got me hooked on this one. Unreal 2 is still an entertaining game, but it's way too simplistic and "old school" to live up to today's single player FPS standards.
  16. To sum up, Unreal II is disappointing, not so much in terms of what it is as in terms of what we expected, what it hints at, and what it might have been.
  17. It has the look and polish of a great shooter, but the gameplay of a merely good one. It's also a fairly short game with no multiplayer support to speak of.
  18. A generic, rest on your laurels title from developer Epic that, while beautiful to look at, is a bloated (3GB mandatory install), largely plotless shooter that is disappointing given the pleasant surprise that the original "Unreal" was.
  19. Introduces so many cool new weapons - like the blistering flamethrower, an incendiary alt-fire on the shotgun, and seeker orbs - that you feel cheated not getting to play with them against others online. [Apr 2003, p.112]
  20. Forward-looking tech, backwards-looking gaming.
  21. A flawed masterpiece. There's so much that's done well but so much which counters it to its doom - like the weapons. At about 15 in total there are simply too many, and they claw to convention like a headcrab.
  22. If you’ve got a new graphics card and want something to show it off, Unreal II: The Awakening is the perfect solution, but don’t go expecting a true next-generation experience; our advise would be to rent it as you’ll likely complete it in no time at all.
  23. It looks good, it sounds good, yet, while it has a few interesting moments, it doesn’t impress or break new ground the way the original did.
  24. Just about everything is good quality in this game but make sure you're computer is loaded or you're going to be playing a slideshow.
  25. Unreal II, for all its technical pizzazz, lacks a similar let's-pile-on-the-scares inventiveness... Awakening, we have to say, is anything but. [28 Feb 2003, p.86]
  26. Roughly a third the size of its predecessor, meaning that you'll be able to go from eagerly installing the game to disappointingly removing it from your hard drive for good in just two or three nights.
  27. 60
    Doesn't fail to impress us with its high-quality, inventive visuals, but the gameplay is no match for its presentation.
  28. The AI in the aging "Half-Life" was better; the sond in "Medal of Honor" blows this away; and the cut scenes and exposition in the "No One Lives Forever" series leave this in the dust. [Apr 2003, p.68]
  29. 58
    A solid shooter with a slick look that offers little new to the genre. [Apr 2003, p.44]
  30. The bottom line is that Unreal 2 is saddled with unmemorable weapons and enemies, disappointing AI, a dull lead character, underdone level design, and a lack of technical polish, all wrapped around the same old stuff you’ve seen in so many first person shooters, most of which are better than this game.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 32
  2. Negative: 17 out of 32
  1. Jan 1, 2012
    After the first unreal was one of the best games of its time with a brilliant atmospheric singleplayer campaign unreal 2 was a real huge disappointment. Basicly this game was only about its singleplayer which wasnt really good, too short and could not keep up to the high expactations at all. Personally it felt like the IP was supposed to get used as a kind of graphic-demo for marketing purposes with this game. The fact that there is no unreal 3 speaks for itself, a once very good ip got wasted with this title. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2010
    loved it on the pc, on xbox looked a bit robotic and graphics werent as good as pc and im sure some bits were missing in places like it was cut short. but overall think it is a good game. Full Review »
  3. Oct 17, 2013
    No, this game isn't short. I wish it was short. When I was playing this I only want the game to end. I really liked Unreal 1 because of the strange, beautiful and original atmosphere. No place in Unreal II has that atmosphere. It has no atmosphere! The levels are also very small. Full Review »