Review by dragonslayer20

"One of the Great Ones"

There are maybe ten games that I would give a perfect score to- this is one of them. Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix is an X-Box port of a PC game that is the sequel to a Doom-esque game with missions.

Story- 8
SOF2 does not have a mind-blowing story, but the plot twists are good enough and ample enough to make it interesting. It can be slightly predictable at times, but it will usually just keep you interested enough to see the story through. It's the plot twists here that really give this such a high score. Few games have so many good ones.

Gameplay- 10
But you really wanted to know about how it plays. This is the video game mantra I hold to- if the gameplay is fantastic, not much else really matters. And SOF2 has it where it really counts.
Remember when games could not be beaten in a weekend (Killswitch, I'm thinking of you!)? SOF2 has several dozen missions that will keep you occupied for about 30 or 40 hours. These missions have the best level designs for an FPS since the N64 glory days of Rare and Acclaim. they vary from jungles to mansions to the obligatory high-tech facility. Most of these missions are the mission-based fare you'd normally expect with objectives like plant bombs, kill enemies, and find object, but some put you on the turret of a number of vehicles to add some variety. Armorines did this as well, but SOF2 is better.
SOF2 is also a very gory game. It uses both a rag-doll system and hit detection system. This means that if you shoot someone in the head while they're standing in front of a desk, they die instantly and slump over that desk in a realistic, and sometimes grotesque fashion. With some precision accuracy you can lop off a few fingers or the very top of an enemy's head (a la ''Kill Bill'') or shoot off all their limbs to watch a writhing torso spout blood. The enemies react very realistically to being shot, making for some of the most satisfying kills of all time.
This game feels like an entirely new game from the original Soldier of Fortune (No, not the unrelated SNES game, the PC and PS2 game). Whereas Soldier of Fortune had AI that was reminiscent of Doom and Quake, SOF2 gives a very solid AI experience that is somewhere right below Goldeneye and Turok 3. The enemies will send out scouts to find you if you make noise, then come out in force if the scout sees you. Stealth becomes very essential in several worlds, where you would otherwise face nearly overwhelming odds.
The enemies far outnumber you, but in some levels you will have backup from soldiers and officers that provides a very pleasing experience of team play.
You are a mercenary, so you naturally have tons of weapons. Unlike the wimpy Master Chief who can only carry two weapons and a couple of grenades, you are more like the mighty Turok who can tote around an arsenal of mass destruction that would make Saddam envious. You have knives, assault rifles, pistols, rocket launchers, grenades, and a special weapon that is part sniper rifle, part assault rifle, and part grenade launcher.

Graphics- 8
The graphics look as dated as the game, and they show themselves to be the products of a PC through their pixelated shadows. The in-game graphics actually look better than the cut-scene ones and I've never noticed any slowdown. But the price you pay for a PC game on the X-Box running smoothly is long loading screens- the longest I've seen on the ''Box''. Still, explosions and smoke effects look very nice. The gore is done extremely well. It doesn't hold up to Splinter Cell, but its still better looking than most new games.

Sound- 9.5
Yep, that's a decimal point up there. The only reason SOF2 didn't get a 10 in sound was because the music is just not that good. Everything else is stellar. The sound of a grenade popping out of your launcher is perfect. Enemy shouts and bloody screams are fantastic. The voices sound realistic, never annoying.

Control- 10
SOF2 controls like a FPS dream. it all works smoothly, and all those extra X-Box buttons are put to use with a nice instant-grenade button that other games should have. Weapon inventory is easy to manage. Secondary functions are pulled off with one trigger and primary functions are used for the other. The reason, however, that this game gets such a perfect control score is because of the way the weapons handle. I am so tired of playing games where I don't hit what I aim at. I am talking about SOCOM and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. If I have a sniper rifle and Zoom in on an enemy's head, I expect to hit that head, not the background behind him and not some invisible wall that extends five feet from every object. Thank God for SOF2 where I hit what I aim at. Now, this is not to say that you will hit every enemy dead on if you aim in his general direction (Halo, Dino Crisis) because the longer you hold down the trigger on, say, an assault rifle, the more the shots will scatter. You are encouraged to use single shots and burst fire to take down distant enemies.

Replay Value- 10
With missions you'll want to play again and again, Four difficulty levels, deathmatch, and online deathmatch, this game has plenty of replay value. Buit add to that a customizeable mission creator, and you have a replay value surpassed only by a few games (Goldeneye comes to mind).

Rent or Buy-
Buy this if you can stand the gore and want a fun blast of a game that will keep you occupied for a long time.
Rent it or don't even pay attention to it if you like buggy games where your greatest enemy is that invisible wall that pops up when you least expect it or if you just like a quick video game that you can beat in a week.

Pros-
Lots of Fun
Creative Kills
Custom Missions
Tons of Weapons
Variety of Missions
Great Control

Cons-
Dated Graphics (For the X-Box Anyway)
No Great Music
Not Made by Acclaim


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/16/04, Updated 03/16/04


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