Review by delateur
"It's $19.99 now, what are you waiting for?!"
I felt that a review needed to be submitted when this game became a ''bargain'' (anything $20 or less is a bargain to me, it's when PS2 games become ''Greatest Hits'' and serves as a good guideline for any modern system, IMO. :)
Graphics: 9/10 - There are better graphics out there, but they are few and far between. You won't find too many games out there that have been recently released that look as good as this game. Granted, the game itself is a bit on the cartoonish side, with the colors overall standing out bright and vivid, but this certainly isn't a bad thing, it lends to the psychadelic feel of the time, and if you've played NOLF1, then you'll definitely notice that the engine has received an upgrade. It's a bit heavier on system requirements, though. I noticed a slight slowdown in some parts with my system with all the effects maxxed out, but nothing horrible (2.53ghz, Ti4600, 1gig ram). Even though it only gets a 9, you'll find very little to complain about.
Sound: 9/10 - The music is very good. Not overwhelming, but it blends in nicely to the scenes, and isn't obnoxious. The sound effects are all nicely done, from footsteps, to weapon sounds, to ambient effects of the environment. All is very nice. The voice acting, like NOLF1, is top notch. Most of the original voice actors are back if they made it into the sequel, and they do a great job. They changed Cate's voice, however, and although it's noticeable, she still does a fine job, and does a lot of the supporting voice roles, as well. If I had to choose, I'd say I enjoyed the woman in NOLF1 more, but it's only by about a point (Part 1, a 10, part 2, a 9).
Gameplay: 9/10 - They changed a lot of how the game is played in this version, some of it was an improvement, some things I liked better in NOLF1. The skill system is a great improvement, and really allows you to customize yourself however you like, on the fly, and rewards you for being thorough, which is a double reward, actually, because you don't end up missing anything since you're looking for every last intelligence item. The shooting aspect of the game was made more difficult. I noticed I could score head shots, but unless I was using a high powered bullet of some kind, rather than standard FMJ ammo, they might not drop in one hit unless I managed to sneak up right behind them, or was using a sniper weapon like the crossbow or sniper rifle, which are highpowered 1 shot weapons regardless, and typically will drop anything hit in the head or the heart. The added shooting difficulty is somewhat offset by the excellent skill system and interesting level design. You'll find all the levels challenging (15 chapters, and typically 3-4 different areas per chapter, on average). This game is definitely as long or longer than NOFL1, as well, taking a good 40-50 hours to complete, if you don't cheat and do the normal setting. There's a nice balance of stealth and full on firefight throughout the game, that is mixed in such a way that you never get bored with either throughout the entire game, with some fairly easy puzzles thrown in here and there to tax your brain a bit.
Plot/Storyline: 10/10 - This deserves a comment all by itself. If you just like to run around and frag things, this game isn't for you. There's a deep story, where each intelligence item and cutscene reveals more and more of the underlying reasons each person acts the way he or she does. It's truly a magnificent experience, with plenty of action, and some truly creative and funny dialogue before, during, and after each chapter that will literally have you laughing out loud! Any game with a plot could look to the NOLF games for cues. They definitely know how to string a story together. It's just about as good as Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2, although the gameplay varies greatly, and each one is strong given how it was set up.
Final note: If you want to try a great game, give this a try. It's definitely worth $20!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/23/03
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