Hidden & Dangerous 2

Review

posted 11/13/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
It seems like the new trend in first person shooters is to move away from killing Nazis and reach out for new and fresh enemies. Hell, even Medal of Honor, the definitive Nazi-killing simulation, has decided to branch out and give you a chance at the fending off the Japanese. This leaves the market wide-open for someone to step in and quench your Nazi thirst. Enter Illusion Softworks, the geniuses behind Vietcong, Mafia and the game to which this sequel is based on, Hidden & Dangerous.

Hidden & Dangerous 2 is pretty overwhelming to start with. From the beginning you’re given a pool of over 40 individuals from which you’ll have to form a 4-man-squad. Each of the individuals have their own strengths and weaknesses, it’s up to you to find a group who complements each other in the battlefield. When you finally assemble your squad you’ll be sent to the outfit screen where you’ll have to take variables such as weight, skill and proficiencies into account. It’s not your average shooter screen like in Ghost Recon; you’ll have to have some knowledge of how the weapons work in order to be successful. In a nice nod to realism certain weapons can only be used while you’re in certain stances, a real-world hitch that was actually forgotten in similar games like Raven Shield.

After you finally outfit your guys you’re ready to head into some of the Second World War’s most intense battles. You’ll start out with some small rescue missions, working your way up through the countryside as you toss a monkey wrench into the plans of the fascist regimes. The default control scheme is a bit weird and will probably give you bouts of claustrophobia on the first couple of runs. Left click shoots, right click activates objects a la System Shock, End brings the sights up to your eyes for precise aiming, right shift and right control manipulate your stance while the spacebar brings up the tactical planning view. The default controls have you moving your character with the directional arrows as opposed to the traditional WASD keys. Initially this threw me for a loop as the controls seemed to be heavily concentrated on the middle of the keyboard which game my wrist cramps for a little while.

As the namesake implies the game is about acting covertly and striking at the opportune moments as opposed to rushing headfirst into battle. To help this along you can control your movement speed with the mouse wheel a la Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. There are four different movement speeds ranging from a tip toe to a full out sprint. As you may imagine the slower you travel the less noise and ruckus you make. Most times the game will test your patience by requiring you to trudge methodically throughout the environments at a snail-like pace.

You can take to the battle from either the third or first person perspective, both of which have their advantages. From the third person viewpoint you can see around corners and get the drop of enemies in confined quarters. While it was nice that the designers added a 3rd person mode I opted to go for the 1st person mode for more precise aiming and maneuvering. The tactical map is now in full 3D but it’s a bit too clunky for my tastes. You can dish out commands, dictate waypoints and call in support but it’s all for naught because the system is just so unintuitive. Likewise the command system is a bit weak too as your units will sometimes choose to ignore your orders entirely. There were times when I engaged in combat with my enemies, expecting some cover fire from my compatriots. Only after I died did I find out that my squad mates were still at the starting point while I was getting slaughtered by five enemies.
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