Review by Fila

"The secret agent woman is back!!!"

Guess who’s back, back again, Catey’s back, tell some men, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who…..

Never mind that, let’s get serious. NOLF2 (No One Lives Forever 2) is the sequel to the hit (can you guess it) No One Lives Forever 1 (was it hard? It was wasn’t it?) where the main character of the game was a woman with attitude problems (I call it “being realistic”) and her name was Cate Archer. She was just a rookie secret agent that was never assigned to any real missions. Due to the fact that someone was killing all of their top agents the UNITY had no other option then to send her into battle. To make a short history long (or is it the other way around?) she kicked everyone’s arse (of the bad guys of course).

In NOLF 2 our dear Cate Archer is back with a vengeance. Only this time she is their most valuable agent. Initially I thought they will mess up the game because of that but to my surprise they didn’t and the feeling that she was the ONE only occasionally hit me. She’s up against the evil organization called H.A.R.M. (to which she kicked their butts in NOLF1) and will try to save the world again.

The game brings you right into the action. Right from the first chapter our beloved Cate Archer must die (it says so right in the title). Once you start the game you might be kidnapped by the beauty surrounding Cate. Even though the engine used in the game is the same Lithtech (improved of course) the game comes with beautiful graphics. Watching the grass (and some of the trees) move in the wind is truly amazing and at the start it might ruin your concentration that is required for the mission. They made very good use of high quality textures and in some areas the landscape can again kidnap your concentration. The frozen water and the lava look awesome and well, the graphics are high quality and that’s it. No use to continue writing nonsense in this chapter. Oh not to forget, the dynamic lightning of the game is very realistic. Just use the first weapon you receive, go near a light and move around to see how the weapon is illuminated, it’s always different and depends on the position you have to the source of the light.

For me more important then the graphic is the sound and the game again receives high grades. There is nothing wrong with the sound and the background music is from decent to very good (I loved the music in Russia). I don’t think my ear encountered any problems with the sound otherwise I would write it down exactly “here”. Ok so there is one little thing my ear gave a bigger attention to. That’s the voice of a computer which sounds like the voice of the robot from “Lost in Space”.

The game, as I already said, plays a lot like NOLF1. If you played it then you will immediately feel right at home and ready to kick some H.A.R.M. arse. The most innovative idea of the game is perhaps the tornado (which was available in both demos). This time around you can also improve abilities. You have abilities like Stealth, Search, Marksmanship, Carrying, Stamina, Armor etc that you can upgrade (much like Deus Ex). The upgrades are optional because if you are good enough you can very well finish the game without the need of upgrades. The way you upgrade is by gaining points. These points can be gained by completing the missions (both primary and optional missions) and by collecting additional random information (for example you search a drawer, you search a dead body etc etc). In true tradition to the first game, the silly conversations appear in the sequel as well. It’s a pleasure to stay and listen to them as some of them are really stupid and can produce a good laugh occasionally.
What I simply didn’t liked about the game is the fact that by approaching the end I had a strange feeling of deja-vu. This was due the fact that during the game (especially near the end) you fight against Uber-soldaten, much like the ones in Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The story is decent. But I don’t think they ever wanted to create a breath taking one. It’s pretty simple. You are Cate Archer (the best secret agent) and your goal is to save the world from the evil H.A.R.M. That’s it, nothing more nothing less + adding the fact that she almost died along the way I doubt it that in 2 weeks she was that ready to kick arse again.
The characters are the same from the first one for the exceptions of the US general (which has the tendency to use nuclear warfare whenever possible) and the secretary of state (I might be wrong though, don’t quote me on that). They are just there to give you the missions and to provoke the possible end drama.

The AI is again in the same tradition as the first game and namely “the more the dumber”. On normal difficulty they shouldn’t give you any problems (occasionally perhaps). So don’t select “Easy” at the start or the game might actually be boringly easy. The bosses don’t prove a bigger IQ neither they are at the same intelligence line as their soldiers just that they die harder.

Oh how could I forget, Cate Archer suffered an important face lift since the previous game. Not that they changed her, they simply added a lot more polygons and she looks very nice with them. Add to that the fact that they added, “independent eye moves” (which means they move independent from the way the rest of the face moves) and some very nice lips moves, she can look very pretty in some cut scenes. Also thanks to the above mentioned features they managed to accurately show her expressions and it proves again she hasn’t changed (for some she has attitude problems, I call her “being realistic”).

At the end in my humble try to sum up the review I can say that the game is good. I don’t feel I am convinced enough to say which one is better and as a result I call it a tie. Perhaps the first one had more innovative gameplay. Both games have their upsides and downsides. All I can say is that if you truly liked the first one then most likely you will like the second one also.

Graphics – 9

Sound – 9

Story – 8

Overall – 9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/04/02, Updated 11/04/02

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