Review by Stone Cold What
"Move Over Freeman, There's A New Best FPS In Town"
Never...and I mean never...has a first person shooter managed to mix such varying elements well into such an incredible gaming experience.
The game, unlike a lot of FPS, focuses on stealth action over blazing gun fights and thankfully, it was done exceptionally well. Enemies will be alerted by the typical gun shot or uncommon noises. However, it's very neat how they do this. Footsteps will be softer on grass then on gravel. Bottles will fall over making a clinking sound alerting enemies if you happen to run over one. There are many more stealth oriented features like this you'll encounter throughout the game. So now you know ways you can alert enemies but it is nothing if you can't evade them. Thankfully there are many ways to evade enemies and this is what makes the game so fun. There is the typical run away possibility but there are so many more. Now you have a stealth meter that fills once you are hidden that will disallow enemies to see you. So now if you crouch in a dark corner this meter will fill and once full, you are for the most part hidden. However if you shoot or reload, sometimes the meter will deplete and enemies can spot you. You can now go in buildings and turn off the lights and surprised enemies will come turn them on. If that doesn't work for you, you can simply shoot out the light preventing light from ever being switched on.
New to NOLF2 is also a very good skill system. Back are the funny intelligence items but this time finding them had an award. You gain points for each intelligence item you find or for completing both primary and optional missions. These points can be used to enhance your skills such as increasing your stealth ability (the stealth meter fills up quicker) or increasing the quickness of gadget use (same thing). There is a real effect when you increase skills almost making it necessary throughout and very rewarding.
The same things return from the first game that made it so good aside from these great new features. The humor is intact and sometimes better. I won't give away spoilers but the story is exceptional again and some...familiar...faces return. The A.I. is still the best FPS haves seen and the level design and mission variance still will make you come back for more. Plus some of the new guns and gadgets are really neat.
Simply great! They've managed to keep the feel of the first NOLF while still making the graphics far superior (even though NOLF1 already had great graphics). Player models are animated beautifully. It seems they actually gave an effort into trying to match the facial movements with the words coming out and that gives the game a realistic feel. Gone are the signs with blurred letters are badly animated telephones to give a desk some character. Now all words are visible and sharp and all the really non-important non-interactive items suddenly seem more important. The level design is fantastic and the textures are great. The weather effects are an amazing sight.
Once again...perfect. Top voice acting matched by top sound effects make his a truly great experience. Every character sounds plausible in his/her speech. The humor is there still and makes it great. Back are the conversations between guards that will often make you cry with laughter. Cate Archer has a new voice actor but it's REALLY hard to notice. The weapons sound effects are great and sound sharp. That goes for every other sound effect as well such as doors opening or walking in the snow. The music is once again spectacular. It follows the 70's theme and really fits the game.
Replay Ability: 8/10
The game does have some incentive to make you want to come back. There is a short online cooperative single player campaign that, with up to 4 people, is really enjoyable. However, that is it. While they do unlock every mission for you to go back and play through individually, there is no death match or team-death match multiplayer. While it's rumored to be coming in a downloadable patch later on, the fact is that it's not there when you first open the box. So no fragfest for the time being. Still...without that, the cooperative play really gives an honest attempt at making up for it, but just like the first game, the single player campaign is the focus and you'll WANT to play more.
This is by far the best FPS in quite a while. It's nice to see a change from all these strong multiplayer games with weak single player campaigns because NOLF2 manages to give the strongest single player campaign since Half Life.
I am already hoping for an expansion pack as many games that don't deserve one get one. Well, NOLF2 deserves one and I pray it gets one. I can't get enough of this incredible game!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/14/02, Updated 10/14/02
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