Gamers who hopped onto Xbox Live at the online service’s launch will recall a little title called Unreal Championship. Since that game, Atari has published a few Xbox titles in the Unreal franchise, but none with the “Championship” moniker. This fall, though, Microsoft is going to bring back the moniker with Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict, with franchise creators Epic Games at the development helm.
What’s this? A Fall 2004 release date for yet another Microsoft-published first-person shooter? Well, sort of. You see, where Halo 2 is strictly an FPS, Unreal Championship 2 will offer both a first-person and third-person mode of play. Think of it as a fast-paced, non-team-based, Matrix-ized Brute Force, and you get a picture of the third-person play. It’s new for the franchise, yes, but it’s most certainly going to come as second nature once you get your hands on it.
That’s not to say you have to play in third-person; the perspective is completely optional. However, if you do play in third-person, you can engage in melee attacks and use some interesting defensive maneuvers. For example, how does playing in third-person as a sword-wielding woman, powering yourself up with an all-new Adrenaline Power and using your blades to reflect an enemy’s weapon fire back at them sound to you? Sounds pretty intriguing to us, to say the least.
The Unreal franchise has always been known for its speed, and Unreal Championship 2 will most certainly live up to the expectations. As you may have gathered from the “Matrix” reference above, character agility has obviously been a focus of Epic’s, given that each character now has his or her own jumping, flipping and spinning moves, all of which you can use in the context of the environment (wall-running, anyone?). In addition, some of the Adrenaline powers will supercharge not just the strength of a character, but also his or her speed and mobility (a la bullet-time).
So how will you use all this gameplay in the actual game? Epic has created two single-player modes of play and of course a multiplayer mode. The first single-player mode, a campaign, will see players fighting through cities and arenas in order to retake the Nakhti Rite of Ascension Tournament from the omnipresent Liandri Corporation. The second single-player mode, a tournament, has players fighting through a tournament ladder as one of the many unlockable characters in the game.
The bread and butter, of course, is Unreal‘s multiplayer, which will be fully playable over Xbox Live and via System Link. With support for eight-player tournaments, the multiplayer options will also incorporate leaderboards, adding even more fuel to the fire of an already-competitve franchise.
DailyGame will have more on Unreal as it becomes available, including impressions from E3, if the game makes an appearance. Until then, sit back, enjoy the screenshots and imagine the unreal ways you’ll be eliminating otherworldly enemies this fall.