Although graphical and gameplay similar, Ultima Underworld II is a totally different setting to Underworld 1. UW1 was set in the Stygian Abyss, an ill fated underground city. UW2 marks a return back to more familiar territory and is set in and under Britianna Castle. Unlike UW1 where everybody you met was a stranger, UW2 will see you bumping into your old friends again. Unfortunately the likes of Iolo and Dupre cannot join you. Like UW1 you are are still a one person show. A brief rundown on the story sees you at Britianna Castle for a celebration. The Guardian as always has other plans and in the wee hours of the morning encases Britianna Castle in a mantle of Blackrock. Your mission is to find a way to undo the Guardians spell. Before you can do that you have to explore the castle sewers and travel to alternative worlds via a strange multi faceted Blackrock gem. In each world there is a puzzle or two to solve, a piece of Blackrock to find and a Guardians power centre to destroy. UW1 was very linear, UW2 will require you to revisit some of the worlds several times.
Graphics wise UW2 is very similar to UW1. The main play window is slightly larger and best of all the creatures and characters you meet are far better drawn. It still amazes that software is coming out today that is still inferior to UW1 and UW2.
Combat in UW2 is virtually identical to UW1, I did however find it harder, in fact ,much harder. In UW1 I chose Axe as my weapon, in UW2 this seemed unfortunate as the best weapons found were all swords. The magic element of UW2 is also more important, in UW1 you could possibly stumble your way through without casting a spell. I would hate to try that in UW2.
Believe it or not I still prefer UW1. UW1 was ground breaking, whilst UW2 was more of the same. I found some of the worlds in UW2 such as the Ethereal Void a little boring as well. But that is only a minor complaint about an otherwise great game.