Soldier of Fortune II Double Helix
Soldier Of Fortune 2, or just SoF2 in short, was a game I loved to check out. This hit was released over a year ago on pc, but due to time constraints (yes, even then I had time constraints already) it didn’t live a long life on my harddisk. My heart therefor bounced up when this same game entered our review-basket, this time for Xbox…
Freeing up some extra time on a Saturday night, dimming the lighting in the house and a short twist on the volume button of the surround system to make it just that teenie weenie little more intensive than normal and we’re ready to go. Hmm… again a long intro… who needs a story when he can shoot people, certainly when knowing that you play John Mullins, a man with military background who travels the world for killing people. Skip that intro is the message but before going further it already had sent some signals to my brain stating something like “Hmmm… maybe those graphics aren’t what they used to be…”
Once the game starts you need to get used to the controls. It’s not easy to switch six years of first person shooter experience on pc towards decent and aimed console manoeuvers. Luckily, you can tune both sensitivity of both X and Y axis aswell as invert the view point so that a killer mercenary like John doesn’t need three seconds to make a 180 degrees turn.
The first minutes already make it clear that the AI and opponent’s reactions lean towards moronic. Apparantly it isn’t necessary to sound the alarm or explore the area when a colleague drops down due to a knife sticking out of his neck. Later in the game you’ll also notice that it’s perfectly possible to shoot a bullet from long distance through the head of a guard with a huge sniper rifle bang without the rest of the enemies even blinking their eyes. When on the other hand you’re sniping like a fully trained worm over the ground, you can have so many terrorists coming at you that it looks like you’ve got an American flag stuck on your back.
More positive things can be said about the weapons and the way of shooting people down… an essential part of Soldier of Fortune 2 and at the release in 2002 cause of quite some stir. Graphically aged or not, it remains damn fun to snipe around like a thief in the night to just rush around the corner and empty your clip at whatever has the intention of moving…
There’s plenty of change in weapons although I find the way of changing guns all but good… I caught myself plenty of times getting hit by a couple of bullets because of not selecting another weapon in time.
On to the graphics area and directly to the point: disappointing at some area’s. In the year 2002 I can imagine SoF2 could stand on the stage with the big ones on graphics, however, 1 year later we’ve been spoiled with loads of other titles and the looks of the different levels don’t give that “wow”-feeling anymore that I originally had in mind. You can compare it with a retro-game from your youth… in your thoughts it look like a super game (and it was), but in today’s reality this dares to differ. Nevertheless my disappointment they’re still decent, only it could have been better.
Another “feature” of SOF2 created a pile of frustration big enough to crash a ZB Monkey ir a Dax… (what’s your point ? Only the look of such a piece of trash is reason enough already to track one – red) the loathing times of the levels.
I once read that the casual gamer finds 8 seconds a reasonable amount of time to wait… SOF2 easily surpasses that, depending on the location of where you are. If they could have limited this problem to a one-time action per level there wouldn’t have been a problem but each time you loose in a fire fight and you only have to spawn 20 meters back everything will be loaded into memory again.
Qua sound I don’t have much bad but neither many good to comment on. The gunfire is as you would expect and the surrounding sounds like thunder, rain and jungle-jingles make for a nice gameplay experience.
Soldier of Fortune 2 luckily supports Xbox Live, although the pricy Live experience is not so appealing to the less fortunate gamer. SoF2 Live offers 6 classic multiplayer modes like Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Infiltration, … Standard there’s 20 maps available but the possibility to generate random maps will help when you’re tired of these.
Despite the AI which gives enemies sometimes the IQ of a cup of yoghurt and the somewhat disappointing graphics, SOF2 is not a really bad game. First Person Shooter fans who don’t care about long loading times of play the game in 1 time will definitely have fun with this title. If you’ve got the possibility to start fragging like a madman online, then the amusement value of this game will increase but personally I hope SOF2 will once join the bargain-bin.