Review by liquidmessiah

"Espionage at it's best!"

In NOLF2: A Spy In HARM's way you reprise your role as female UNITY agent Cate Archer. Just like in the first game, the evil organization known as HARM is up to no good.
The original was a fantastic FPS so I had high expectations for the sequel. Thankfully this game delivered in almost every aspect. To start off this is one of the funniest games around. NPC's stand around cracking jokes and carrying on hilarious conversations. A new welcome feature is the ability to upgrade your stats from gathering intel and completing optional side missions. For example, you can search through file cabinets, foot lockers, and even dead bodies to gain mission info. In return you gain points that go towards upgrading your stats like stamina, armor, marksmanship, stealth, etc. This little RPG trait adds a decent amount of variety to a very linear, but very fun game.

Cate Archer finds herself on the trail of The Director, HARM's most vile villain. She soon uncovers a major plot by HARM called ''Project Omega.'' Getting details on this mission proves to be very difficult. And The Director doesn't make it any easier by sending his new assassin, Isako, to block Cate every step of the way.

The developers did an excellent job paying attention to detail. The 1960's era is very well represented. Character models are done with great detail and the lip sync work is some of the best I've seen. Cate Archer has never looked so sexy! The environment is highly interactive. You'll dodge security cameras, press alarms, break glass, and carry bodies in the shadows to conceal them. Walk in the snow and you leave tracks that enemies will pick up on and eventually follow back to you. Which also says something about the fantastic AI. Lighting effects and shadows are very decent. Need more shadows to conceal your location? Shoot out that light. All of this contributes to some of the best graphics I've seen in awhile.

The music, albeit cheesy sounding, captures the corny, 1960 spy theme down to a science. If you ever watched an Austin Powers movie you will know what I'm talking about. The music seems to change at just the right time to add a more tense effect to the environment. Character voices are well acted out and suit the models perfectly. The sound effects are very well done. Little things like snow crunching under your feet and the sound of bullets piercing the skin of an enemy from your silenced machine gun make you feel more into the game.

FPS standard controls. The default settings work well, but I suggest changing the zoom key to the middle mouse button if possible.

Fun Factor:
You will have an absolute blast with this game. The variety in environments keeps everything interesting. Each locale has a new set of enemies and a new set of weapons to use to dispatch them. Nothing is more handy than your rocket launcher equipped purse, or your hairspray welding torch! Wanna sneak past an enemy? Toss a coin in the opposite hallway and watch him follow. Heck, why not take him out with a tranq dart? Better yet, ice him with your silenced pistol and hide the body! I'd say a good 75% of the fun comes in the many ways you can take out the baddies with your cool gadgets.

I've beaten this game 3 times already. And though the story remains the same, I've played through a different way each time. You can go through using only stealth, taking out your enemies silently and from the shadows. Or you can grab your trusty assault rifle and open fire to a cluster of enemies. Then toss in a grenade for good measure. Or you can mix it up and do a bit of both. Difficulty too hard for you? You can switch the difficulty setting on the fly just in case things get too hard. There is a seemingly infinite number of ways you can upgrade your stats depending on your needs and how you like to play the game. Aside from the completely linear story, this is a game that you will definitely want to play again from time to time.

I highly recommend buying this game. You will definitely get your moneys worth and then some.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/11/03, Updated 06/11/03

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