No One Lives Forever 2

Review

posted 10/19/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Building upon last year’s success, No One Lives Forever 2 is a game that comes out of the very same mold that made the original such a hit. This means campy 60’s spy humor, plenty of gadgets and a lot of hot hot Cate Archer action. The sequel to Fox and Monolith’s surprise hit improves upon nearly every aspect of the game and it is immediately inherent from the moment you boot up the game till the game’s wading moments, this is an excellent title that does not fail to live up to expectations.

Unlike the Bond movies that the series parodies, the beginning sequence actually ties in the to the rest of the game. Assuming the role of superspy Cate Archer, players are placed in the midst of 1960’s Japan. After sneaking and fighting your way through a village full of ninjas, you’ll encounter a brand new foe, a sexy ninja who’s role in H.A.R.M. seems rather uncertain. The confrontation ends with Cate being wounded and thus our tale begins.

Players who are looking for a great first person shooter need look no further. Most of the aspects that made the original so great make a return appearance here. That means you’ll be able to eavesdrop on humorous conversations, play around with excellent spy gadgets and kick tons of Un-American ass. You’ll also have odd toys to play around with such as a robotic kitty that looks cute on its exterior, but contains enough explosives to rip a pack of Russians to shreds.

Much like the first entry in the series, the levels are a blast to play. They tend to combine elements from other genres to form a hell of an entertaining time. Sometimes you’ll have to use stealth, and other times brute force. Enemies that actually have a brain and objectives that fit into the context of the storyline. Throw in a few puzzles that (gasp!) actually make sense and you have a first person shooter that outdoes the competition in nearly every possible way. No One Lives Forever 2 provides the best single player FPS experience of any game this year, period.

The intelligent enemies from the first game make a return here. The AI seems to have been refined since I last saw it, while the AI in NOLF would do some brilliant things such as hiding behind obstacles and firing around them, they seemed to be running on set scripts. Now the scripting seems to be much more random and intuitive to the game. Throughout the duration of a gunfight, an enemy could pop out and charge me at any time. They even use some squad-based tactics in that they’ll try to flank you from time to time. Of course there are a few errors in the AI but it’s definitely some of the best to appear in a FPS this year.

Another brilliant design choice comes in the missions, each of them are structured so well that I would not mind revisiting them all over again. Usually FPS have only one or two moments that may be worth revisiting, but in NOLF2’s case, it’s the entire game. This is one game that just doesn’t get old and manages to remain fresh no matter how many times I’ve played it. I’m currently on my third run through the game, it’s that damn fun.
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