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Unreal II: The Awakening offers gamers a new story that takes place in the universe introduced in the hugely successful original Unreal. Though the multiplayer-based Unreal Tournament enhanced the original game with fast action and customizable multiplayer gameplay, Unreal II is a full-fledged sequel to the popular 1998 first-person shooter, complete with diverse new single-player missions and a storyline that ties them all together. While the original Unreal put the player in the role of a convicted criminal, gamers play the part of a law enforcement agent in this story.As a Terran Colonial Authority Frontier Marshal in charge of the aging Atlantis starship, the player represents the very long arm of the law as the only enforcement officer in a distant sector of space. Patrols seem routine and uneventful, until war breaks out unexpectedly in the area and the ship and its crew suddenly find themselves in the middle of a violent and dangerous conflict. While the player's first responsibility must be the protection of the frontier citizens in the area, determining the cause of this sudden war could make that job a lot easier.
Missions take place in ten different environments, with settings that range from a jungle planet thick with strange vegetation and dangerous creatures to an arid desert world spotted with the ancient ruins of forgotten civilizations.