Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Price Range: $40-50
Age level: Adult
ESRB Rating: Mature
Patches / Upgrades: Yes
Game Web site
System Requirements: P233, 64 RAM, 120 meg HD, 3d accelerator card

Genre: Sci-fi Shooter
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 3 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

"Unreal" has been a glimmer in many gamers' eyes for some time now. The promotions for the game started to appear over a year ago. They promised the gamer a new level of gaming immersion. Well, “Unreal” is here and do the promises stand the test? Well, yes and no.
Screen capture from Unreal.  Illustration copyrighted.
“Unreal” is in many ways your typical 3-D shooter. Your character works his way through various levels, fighting alien creatures with a variety of weapons. No real (or Unreal) difference there. Where the developers at Digital Extremes put their effort was in the graphic's engine (program code) the game runs on. The look of the game is truly state-of-the-art. There is nothing on the market right now that looks as good as “Unreal”. The crispness of the images, the lighting effects, the textures and smoothness of a players motions are simply the best available out there. Of course this raises the bar for the hardware the gamer must invest in to experience all the bells and whistles in the game. To get the most out of “Unreal” you should expect to run it on a P-II 233 with 64 of RAM and, here's the important part, a Voodoo 2-accelerator graphics card with at least 8meg of RAM. I have 2 PC's at home, one with an 8 meg standard graphics card and one with an 8 meg Voodoo 2. Running “Unreal” on both shows the difference this technology makes with the graphic demands of today's games. The Voodoo 2 card provides a richness of depth and color the other card can't take advantage of.

But before you think I'm recommending the game, read on. “Unreal” has a good-looking cover but is weak in many other areas. First, it starts out in a very disturbing manner. You are on a prison ship that crash-lands on a strange alien world. The first level where the player escapes from the ship is horrific. As you navigate through the ship, you pass dismembered bodies, hear hideous screams, and pass through darkened corridors. Again, the graphics do enhance this atmosphere, but how graphic does a dismembered body need to be? I tried the game on the “Low Gore” setting and found little difference. Fewer victims lying about, but just as graphically detailed. Once past this level the game settles into a collection of ancient Mayan-like settings. You discover that the planet is inhabited by a peaceful 4-armed folk called the Nali. It seemed another ship crashed on the planet some time ago with a reptile-like group who has since dominated the Nali (who are now looking for the “savior” promised long ago). Guess who they think that is? Isn't it interesting how the world continues to mirror the concept of a savior but can't see the truth in what our Lord Jesus brought us through His short time on Earth?

The levels are wonderful to look at and right up my alley, not overly long or complicated. They give the gamer a sense of moving along at a steady pace through the game. Interesting is the lack of player interactivity with the surroundings. To manipulate objects you simply run into them. I found this odd in such a richly populated game. You also can't switch from 1st to 3rd person views. Again, an option standard in older games of this genre but absent here. One thing that the developers did add, that isn't new but adds to the game play, is a secondary weapon mode. This utilizes the right mouse button to give your weapons extra power.

In all, “Unreal” is an average game wrapped in a fancy package. Other games will soon be out using the “Unreal” graphics engine that will concentrate more on game play instead of programming that will be a gamer's delight. Until then, take the time and write your favorite game developer and let them know what's important to you. Until they hear that focusing on gameplay vs. blood and guts enhances games like “Unreal”, we will continue to have to skip entertaining offerings due to their disturbing content.

This game is incredible, if you play it on a good system with the sound and graphics just right and turn out the lights and boy its an experiance, if of course you get into the game like I did. Its one of the few games I actually bothered going all of the way through and it was worth every moment. From a Christian point of view it is violent but it is definitely fantasy, I know its not very Christian to go blowing stuff up but its all in a game, as long as your sane go play it ITS FUN. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Keith, age 21

…Games like “Unreal”, or “Jedi Knight” don't really bother me as they are clearly fantasy. The problem doesn't lie in the graphical depiction of violence or the said word, it is the reasoning and motive behind it. An example is the game “Diablo”, I have played a few so called “demonic” games, but what this bough up was quite shocking even to me. Certain scenes depicted altars to the devil, satanic symbols, horned beasts etc, but what bothered me the most was a section where you had to find a demon called the butcher, he basically had a room full of people that had been bludgeoned, skinned, or whatever to death and had them hanging on the walls as trophies, however the graphical depiction didn't bother me as it was fairly cartoonish, but it was the realization behind it, you were basically working your way down the levels of hell! Hmmm not my form of entertainment, since then I have steered clear. Anyway my point is, we are adults, we know what is fantasy and what is reality, I have found no game has made me any more violent from playing it. However I do not condone games like, “Diablo”, “Requiem”, etc. as they have a more sinister message. As for “Unreal”, I found it great graphically, but very repetitive and boring after a while…
   —Brenton Tonkin

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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