Just as with all other games in the series, Unreal Championship 2 is primarily a first-person shooter. However, the game introduces a new third-person view, allowing the player to control their player from a third-person perspective allowing for a much better view of their environment.
The game's major new feature is its melee combat system. While armed with a melee weapon, the player's viewpoint switches to the aforementioned third-person view, allowing the players a much wider field of vision with which to track their opponents. Furthermore, the player may use a range of special attacks in melee mode:
- Pounce Attack: This attack allows a character to pounce on their target with great force. It should be noted that this attack requires adrenaline to use.
- Heavy Attack: Launches a more devastating version of the player's normal melee attack. However, the force of this strike is so great that the player is left momentarily unbalanced and slow, allowing the enemy to fight back easily for a few moments.
- Coup de Grace: When attacking a frozen opponent, the player may switch to melee mode to unleash a Coup de Grace attack. The game will display a brief sequence on the screen that must be repeated by the player, then will show a cutscene of the player performing a devastating finishing move against their opponent. The cutscene will not play to people who are not in the situation. Additionally, each character has a set series of button/control stick presses (different for each character) that will always do the Coup de Grace move when their opponent is frozen and locked on to, without following the on-screen instructions. Performing this "special" Coup de Grace move will not have the announcer announce the move as a Coup de Grace, and if the player has in-game text messages turned on then the game will inform those with them on that the player killed another player "with style."
- Deflect & Shielding: Deflect allows the player to deflect projectiles and bullets, if timed correctly, not only deflecting the rounds but even returning the rounds in the direction of the player that fired them. Shielding is every effective, it protects the player from taking damage from explosive, energy weapons, melee, pounce attacks and pistols. Note that this also consumes some energy from the energy pistols.
- Dash/Charge: Dashing allows the player to move at a greatly increased speed, even damaging an opponent when used correctly.
- Wall Jump: While wall jumping is not new to the Unreal Tournament series of games (of which the Championship games fall under), Unreal Championship 2 does allow for many more players to partake in the ability to use walls as a means to do outrageous looking jumps and/or get to harder to reach areas due to the option to play in a third person perspective.
There are three types of ranged weapons. Energy weapons, powered by tarydium crystal, Explosive weapons, powered by explosive ammo, and a set of unique pistols. Different characters have his/her own unique weapon depending on their race. For example, a Nakhti will use a set of small dual pistols while Robots which are made by Liandri Corp. will use a Rivet Gun.
The melee weapons each have similar moves and a special ability that varies with the character when performing their specific 'Coup de Grace'. A melee weapon also has the ability to deflect projectiles approaching the wielder, and if timed correctly the projectile will reflect to the attacking character causing higher damage. It can also be used has a shield which uses energy.
The Melee weapons are:
- Nakhti Staff: A staff used by the Nahkti for centuries, updated with micropulse generators that keeps its nano-regenerated alloy edge as sharp as the limits of quantum physics allow. Used primarily by Anubis.
- Legion Sword: A heavy sword carried by members of the Nahkti Imperial Legion, including Sobek. Vibroshock motors concealed in the handle are able to stun an opponent helpless.
- Nakhti Swords: A pair of swords popular among the Nakhti, using the same technology as that of the Nahkti Staff. Only available to Selket.
- Thunder Staff: Raiden's main weapon.
- Nakhti Axe: A heavy metal axe used by Apophis.
- Liandri Hammers: Robotic arms used to crush rocks (and possibly skulls) by Liandri Heavy Mining bots. Used by Corrosion, Raptor, and Szygzy.
- Necris Swords: Dual swords coated with Necris nanoblack. Used by Lilith, Lauren, and Calypso.
- Molten Kama: Short-bladed knives that channels focused plasma energy recently designed by Liandri Corporation. Wielded by Devastation.
- Dark Staff: A staff coated with nanoblack. Used by Judas and Brock.
- Juggernaut Fists: The hands of a Juggernaut, used by Gorge, Arclite, and Jackhammer.
- Cryo Swords: A pair of swords that utilizes the same technology used in Cryo Staffs used by Sapphire.
- Skaarj Claws: The traditional Skaarj mêlée weapon, Skaarj Claws can wound enemies with poison. Can be easily identified by the signature green energy glow. Used by Torgr, Szalor, Korig, Karrg, and Garek.
- Cryo Staff: A staff that freezes enemies solid by dropping their body temperature with every hit landed. Only available to Malcolm.
Pistol weapons can be used as normal projectile weapons, but can also freeze an opponent in alternative-fire mode.
- Nakhti Scorpions: Rapid-fire energy pistols loosely based on TCA dispersion pistol design. Alternate fire is an energy charge that shocks and immobilizes opponents.
- Skaarj Razik: The dreaded Skaarj blades are just as dangerous at a distance, firing a pair of deadly laser-charged poison projectiles. Alternate fire is a debilitating poison that slows opponents.
- Liandri Rivet Guns: Modified construction tools that rapid fires red-hot rivets with quick reloads. Alternate fire is a super heated spike that stakes opponents to arena walls.
- Dual Enforcers: A simple pair of pistols, these weapons may be used by Human, Juggernaut or Necris fighters. The Enforcers' alternative-fire mode will infect and damage the target over time for a Necris fighter but if used against a Necris fighter will recharge their health, while it simply fires faster when used by a Juggernaut. Used by a Human, it will freeze target temporarily.
- Lightning Bolts : A unique weapon available only to Raiden that fires lightning bolts and may shock an opponent when hit. Appearance-wise, they resemble Nahkti Scorpions made out of electricity.
- Sniper Rifle: Commonly known as the Axon Research Long-range Target Interdiction Rifle, this is an advanced variant of the sniper rifle, firing a three-round burst with each shot. Alternative-fire mode activates the scope and kills with headshot.
- ASMD Shock Rifle: A distinctive weapon of the ASMD series, the Shock Rifle is an old crowd favorite that fires a hitscan laser beam in primary fire while the alternate fire fires a slow-moving projectile that can freeze the target. The shock cores (alternate fire) can be ignited by the primary fire, creating a very damaging explosion (called a Shock Combo). An evolution on the Rifle now causes shock cores to be frozen in mid-air to create airborne mines that vanish after about 4–5 seconds. This can be used to create complex traps for unsuspecting victims or even larger Shock Combos.
- GES Bio Rifle: Another stock weapon of the series, the Bio Rifle rapidly fires dozens of small blobs of deadly green goo (a byproduct obtained from the processing of Tarydium crystals). Alternate-fire loads many small globs into the chamber creating a large glob that will kill any opponent instantly upon a direct hit.
- Stinger: Originally a Liandri Corporation mining tool, the Stinger is an energy-based minigun that fires razor sharp Tarydium crystal shards at a very high rate of fire. If the player keeps the trigger pulled, then it goes into overdrive, doing more damage. The alternate fire launches larger, slower-moving shards that homes in on opponents if lock is active.
- Rocket Launcher: A powerful projectile weapon, the new Tri-Barrel Rocket Launcher fires up to three rockets that consists of two missiles locked together at any given time, both of which may lock onto a single target. A third firing mode fires six rockets in a "drunken" firing pattern.
- Flak Cannon: This squat, huge-bore weapon fires a hail of molten metal shards capable of gibbing virtually any foe at close range. Particles of shot can also be deflected by narrowed walls.
- Grenade Launcher: A relatively new addition to the series, the Grenade Launcher is a standard canister gun that flicks small explosive ordnance a short range. These rounds may be detonated at any time by the player if in alternative fire mode. Grenades can also be triggered in mid-air but this is less effective as they are not fully charged yet.
- Ripjack: A descendant of the Ripper and Razorjack weapons of previous Tournaments, the Ripjack fires a razor-thin circular saw blade at the target, which ricochets around the environment and decapitates an opponent with a direct shot to the neck. Additionally, the blades explode on impact when fired in alternative-fire mode, a result from rapidly spinning the blade to increase its overall kinetic energy. A third firing mode allows the player to charge up a razor blade and stick it to a hard surface. It then acts as a proximity mine, exploding whenever it detects a player nearby. It doesn't distinguish between friend or foe however.
Pickups / Power ups
Pickups replace those things normally expended during the course of play. To take a pickup just walk into it. Some Pickups will be ignored if they aren't needed. After a pickup has been taken, it will be replaced by game officials via teleporter.
- Health: Nanosurgeon packs that work for biological, mechanical, and nanoblack competitors. These appear in small and medium varieties.
- Adrenaline: Tasty polysaccharide adenosine triphosphate provides all the extra energy combatants need for their special abilities.
- Energy Ammo: Tarydium energy crystals used in Sniper Rifles, Shock Rifles, Bio Rifles, and Stingers.
- Explosive Ammo: Semi-stable percussex explosive used in Rocket Launchers, Flack Cannons, Grenade Launchers. and Ripjacks.
- Super Health: Boosts the combatant's health to the maximum.
- Super Adrenaline: Gives the combatant a full recharge of adrenaline.
- Damage Amplifier: It wouldn't be a Liandri tournament without the damage amplifier, also known as the UDamage by spectators. The UDamage changes the colour of weapons and projectiles to purple, and makes a loud noise with every shot. When you notice these, run.
- Invisibility: Makes the combatant nearly invisible. A favourite of sneaky assassins and snipers everywhere. Note, some adrenaline abilities will counter this effect.
Liandri tournament arenas are filled with special features that combatants must recognize in order to survive.
- Teleporters: Teleporters provide instant one-way transportation to a different part of the arena.
- Overdose ball & Spawn Point: After an Overdose ball is delivered, or the ball carrier is killed, the ball will be put out of play for a short time. The ball will be put back in play at one of the spawn points, chosen randomly.
- Overdose Delivery Point: Each Overdose arena has a gold and a white delivery point. Maximum points are gained by delivering a ball to the goal with the same colour.
- Flag & Base: In Capture the Flag, competitors must steal the enemy's flag and return it to their own base.
- Chimneys: Many levels have areas which are custom-made for climbing by rapid wall dodging. Look for these chimneys, which aren't always obvious, but will often give a tactical advantage or a quick path to a power up.
- Manual Jump Pads: Manual jump pads launch a competitor upwards, but only if the jump while standing on it.
- Jump pads: Jump pads launch combatants upwards to another level or area of the arena. Direction in which the competitor is launched is predetermined.
As in other Unreal titles, players are rewarded for performing certain features in each round. Awards like for surviving for a period of time and killing multiple enemies at once.
- Cavalier: Achieving 5 kills using melee weapons.
- Samurai: Achieving 10 kills using melee weapons.
- Rejected: Killing an enemy by deflecting a shot back (in melee mode).
- Combo: Rejecting a Necris freeze attack back at the player of the Necris, or purposefully shooting a Necris with a charged up Necris shot (it gives Necris characters health).
- Flawless: Winning a round without a single death or defeat.
- First Blood: First player in a match to make a kill.
- Headshot: Fragging a player by taking off his/her head.
- Brain Surgeon: Achieving 7+ Head Shots.
- Interception: Freezing an opponent in Overdose in order to steal the ball.
- Jumpy Bitch: Awarded while killing an opponent through excessive jumping.
- Smack Down: Reflecting an opponent's charged adrenaline fueled melee attack.
- Wasted: Missing an opponent with a charged melee attack, or firing a poison Skaarj claw at another Skaarj.
Spree Ratings and Multiple Kill Ratings
As in other Unreal Tournament games, the player is awarded a Spree Rating for making a certain number of kills without dying. This feature was notably absent from the first Unreal Championship game on the Xbox.
- Killing Spree: 5 kills.
- Rampage: 10 kills.
- Massacre: 15 kills.
- Dominating: 20 kills.
- Unstoppable: 25 kills.
- Godlike: 30+ kills.
Furthermore, the player is awarded a Multiple Kill Rating if they kill a certain number of enemies within the space of just a few seconds. Each successive kill resets the timer needed for continuing the chain. Unreal Championship also had Multiple Kill Ratings awarded, but stopped at the same rating for only five kills (Monster Kill in that game), repeating the rating award for every kill beyond the fifth as the same award.
- Double Kill : 2 kills.
- Multikill : 3 kills.
- Mega Kill : 4 kills.
- Monster Kill: 5 kills.
- Ultra Kill : 6 kills.
- Unholy : 7 kills.
- Impossible : 8 kills.
- Unpossible : 9 or more kills (continuously announces "Unpossible!" for the ninth and subsequent kills done in the allotted time).
Getting a certain number of kills with a specific weapon will earn the player Weapon Awards.
- Disc Jockey: 10 kills with Ripjack.
- Eight Ball: 8 direct hits with Rocket Launcher.
- Rocket Scientist: 20 kills with Rocket Launcher.
- Biohazard: 7 kills with Bio-Rifle, or 5 kills using the Bio-Rifle's alternate-fire.
- Goop God: 15 kills with Bio-Rifle.
- Blue Streak: 10 kills with Stinger.
- Shock Therapist: 10 kills with Shock Rifle.
- Flak Monkey: 10 kills with Flak Cannon.
- Landmine: 5 kills with Grenade Launcher's alternate-fire.
- Sharp Shooter: 5+ kills with the Sniper Rifle.