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No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way
(hx) 12:16 AM CET - Oct,29 2002

No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way is the sequel to No One Lives Forever - one of the most crucially acclaimed first person shooters to come around in a long time. No One Lives Forever 2 is a game that comes out of the pretty same mold that made the original such a hit. Once again you play the role as Cate Archer, a sexy, fabulous and deadly British secret agent who returns to stamp out the evil forces of H.A.R.M.! Yeah, as the title of the game reveals, H.A.R.M. is back, completely reformed and stronger than ever. You're introduced to a new character, Isako, the deadly leader of the ninja clan, and re-introduced to The Director, the leader of H.A.R.M. who was revealed to players at the very end of the first game. The Director's primary objective: Kill Cate Archer!

The original NOLF was definitely a pleasant surprise to many gamers, especially with the original gameplay, character interaction, environment interaction, and humor. NOLF2 simply expands upon those concepts in much greater detail, and with a much-needed graphical upgrade to the LithTech Jupiter engine. So just like it's predecessor, NOLF2 does an excellent job of making you feel like you're in a James Bond flick.


Graphics
As I mentioned above, NOLF 2 utilizes the LithTech Jupiter engine. Honestly I didn't expected much from this new LithTech engine, because all the games that have used Lithtech powered engines have never been known for having top of the line graphics. Now I must say that NOLF2 looks really impressive and the improvement from the first game is considerable. Admittedly it is not visually as stunning as the UT 2003, but it is nonetheless a visually stunning piece of work. The Jupiter engine is capable of rendering large environments with a lot of detail, and it seems particularly suited to creating some striking water effects. I have played it at 1600x1200/32 and it was really nice, it got a little choppy in some scenes but for the most part it ran nice. Of course, not all of us have 2GHz + processors and 128M video cards at our disposal. However, even at low or medium displays the graphics are great. You can expect bright colors, interesting character models, and fully developed environments that make you feel like you're a part of Cate Archer's world. Sadly NOLF 2 does not have any graphic violence like SOF2, the blood and violence are minimal at best, it looks a bit strange (childish) especially during combat with katana.


Sound
Sound is an important aspect of any FPS and NOLF2 is chock-full of great sound design. The weapons all sound accurate, and the background noises are never annoying, the game's soundtrack is reminiscent of "Bond" movie scores, and also the voice acting is by far the best I've heard in a game to date. Overall, the sound does a great job of creating a movie like atmosphere in the game.


Gameplay
NOLF2 combines the regular rules of the first-person shooter genre with new and unique twists on how things can be done. NOLF 2 definitely rewards players who love to play stealthy. Players can unscrew light bulbs, disable cameras, open and close drawers, chests and cabinets, flip through stacks of paper for intelligence items, and search defeated enemies to gather weapons and ammo. One of the game's new features is that the player can upgrade general talent areas that increase stealth, accuracy, and gadget manipulation skills, which are earned from completing objectives. By increasing stealth skills you can play more stealthily, or more aggressive by boosting accuracy and weapons skills. There is a wide assortment of creative spy weapons like G180 utility launcher (shoots tranquilizer darts but also has special ammo to disable camera's, and so on), Angry Kitty Proximity Bombs, sleeping and laughing gas, banana peels, in addition to regular firearms such as the AK-47, RFA Series-4 Bolt-action sniper rifle, McAllister .32 Automatic Handgun, Gordon 9mm Submachinegun, Vindicator Sportsman's Crossbow, two different swords and several kinds of grenades. There are varying types of ammo for a few weapons, such as phosphorous ammo for the AK-47 and exploding ammo for the crossbow. Another interesting thing here is a compact decoder, which enables quickly decipher encrypted messages and I shouldn't forget to mention the ability to drive the snowmobile (Sibera mission), although the actual snowmobile physics and HUD seems to be pretty cheap.

The AI is really very well done, each time the game is played, the scenarios change. AI will engage in various activities including smoking, sleeping, walking, urinating :P Guards will try to flank you or pin you down with suppressing fire, they will turn on any lights to expose your cover and swarm you from different angles, they will notice your footsteps in the snow, also hear your footsteps, ninjas will dodge or runaway as you attack them, etc. It seems that there's nothing wrong with the AI's combat and idle routines, though I found a few bugs too. NOL2 has definitely one of the best AI I have ever played.

Overall, there are 15 chapters in the game, from the Japan, India, Siberia, to Ohio. Each chapter contains several scenes/levels. The goal of each level varies from basic assault, to sneaking your way through an enemy compound, to fixing broken machinery which allows you to escape. Although it may sound like pretty long game, NOLF2 is shorter than its predecessor. While the original took about 25-30 hours, NOLF2 takes only 15-20 hours (normal mode).

The game also has a multiplayer option, but it's very limited, to be exact, there is only co-op multiplayer mode. In multiplayer, you play as one of a group of UNITY agents sent in to rescue Cate, or to finish off a job that was an optional quest for her. Sadly there are only four maps, but we can expect some new maps form NOLF community. Deathmatches and Assault stages are promised as an addition in a future patch, so we will see. I hope they will release it as soon as possible.


Overall
If there is one bad aspect about NOLF2, it's that the gameplay breaks no new grounds. But on the positive side, the gameplay in NOLF2 has been refined to near perfection. If you liked the first game you will enjoy this one as well. Download playable demo (158MB).


System requirements:
Minimum: 500 MHz Pentium III or equivalent, 128 MB RAM (256MB for Windows XP), 32MB Direct3D compatible video card with HARDWARE T&L, 32-bit color support, and DirectX 8.1 compatible driver, DirectSound compatible 16-bit sound card with DirectX 8.1 compatible driver, 1.4GB free Hard Drive Space, 56k Modem or LAN for multiplayer games.

Recommended: 1 GHz Pentium« III or equivalent, 256MB RAM, 64MB Direct3D compatible video card with HARDWARE T&L, 32-bit color support, and DirectX 8.1 compatible driver, DirectSound compatible 16-bit sound card with DirectX 8.1 compatible driver that supports EAX 2.0, 1.7GB free Hard Drive Space, Broadband Internet connection or LAN for Multiplayer (in order to host or join a multiplayer game, your computer should meet or exceed the recommended system requirements)


snd: 5/5 - excellent voice acting + well done weapon effects, ambient noises and weather effects, decent music
gfx: 5/5 - impressive environments, bright colors, interesting character models, lip synch is actually real lip movement, animations are top notch, well done level design, a little choppy in some scenes, almost no violence, nice cutscenes
playability: 5/5 - addictive and entertaining, exciting storyline, simple and straightforward controls, 15-20 hours of gameplay, special skills system, limited multiplayer (only co-op mode), long loading time between missions, some occasional slowdowns, multiplayer lags a bit too
genre: first-person shooter
release: October 2002
developer: Monolith
publisher: Fox Interactive&Sierra
Excellent
Overall: 90%


last 10 comments:

NOTHINGposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 00:43
So this game has some mini RPG components to increase stealth, etc? Interesting. I recall Project IGI which was supposed to have some stealth aspects to it, but failed miserably. I enjoy 3D action shooters, and I'm gathering NOLF2 adds some little extra to set it apart from other generic shooters? I'll still have to wait till the price of the game comes down though.

Mikkoposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 01:18
to the dude above me JUST BUY THE DAMN GAME!!!! Its brilliant and while your buying it, get the original GOTY edition cause thats just as good. Most people who have played Nolf think its better than Halflife, the stealth in this game is sweet.

nekrosoft13posted - Oct, 29 2002 - 01:42
great game bottom line

vavavoomposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 05:10
Good lord, it's MUCH better than Half-Life. Apart from a few decent scripted moments, HL is just a hurry-find-the-exit game that managed to be more polished than its 10 thousand predecessors. NOLF offers a lot more, with surprisingly good dialogue and characterization, a nice mix of Thief-style lurking and fighting as well as mission skullduggery, RPG elements, a very cool 60s-style soundtrack, and an engine that blows the dated Half-Life engine out of the water (not just in the scale and beauty of the levels but also in the character models -- wait until you see the eyes, man...)

magaposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 06:04
meh, i still don't get the "comic" moments, like Volkov in the wheelchair, etc...

Donposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 07:27
Absolutely Superb and Blazingly Funny! I just Can't Wait the Third Part! :)

Iceberg_Slimposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 07:33
im a big fan of the NOLF series, i got the original NOLF1 over 2 years ago now, it really is a great game and NOLF2 gameplay is 1,000 times better then NOLF1. there will be a DM and AM mod relased soon for NOLF2. www.nolfgirl.com

yo momma gots aids nposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 07:38
wow how bout that...some reviews that aren't slamming the game thats pretty rare for this site

ritzposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 07:57
Probably the best FPS single player experience I had since Half-life(but then Hitman2 was also very good). The AI and modeling were top notch. The maps were pretty good but sometime I felt they were staged just like a movie... anyways the plot was smooth and the ending was satisfying. Did I mention the great sound tracks and voice acting? Too bad it lacks replay value.

magaposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 10:02
yeah, and the tricycle part...man, that was....lol !

Tomposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 15:29
Ya awesome game, especially playing on the hardest skill level. To the guy wondering about the guy in the body cast, that was from skiing I believe... hehehe, something ridiculous like that.. I thought it was funny. He was the big honcho in the first one really. Anyhow, I think the game was great. I got my moneys worth, more than Medal of Honor which took me only a few hours to finish and honestly, it was blah. The last time I felt this good after a game was when I played Deus Ex. Now if they can blowup the multiplayer and add various modes of play.. this game is going to severely kick ass. If it's done right. I loved the feel of the weapons in this game. The Silenced SMG was of course my favourite.

Chance Norrisposted - Oct, 29 2002 - 21:06
Hey, I was just reading through the comments and i was needing some help with the game. Im on the level where the president gives the speech and i have to find some super solider surrome. I'm suck as to what i do i know that the bird told me to find the solider thing but i cant find it. Could someone help me out?

Iceberg Slimposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 00:43
you get special anti super soldier serum, ASSS. its in containers near parachutes, they are drop points, after awhile of the super soldeirs firing at you, they stop and sound liek the run out of energy, thats when you shoot them in the chest with the ASSS. then they blow the fuck up. its hard at this point in the game. http://killwhitey.fromadia.com

NOTHINGposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 04:47
Actually I'm playing the first NOLF right now. I'll wait till the price of NOLF2 comes down a bit before I pick it up.

PERVERTposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 04:52
The girl is hot. Buy this game

Iceberg Slimposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 05:21
yeah cates got huge cans. the cutscences have really good graphics and the AI movoment and model movement is very good. downside, the single player aspect is not as long as NOLF1, but a good sized campaign. but you play in a lot of cool places.

Robertposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 13:31
Lots of fun. The tornado scene in Ohio was worth the price of the game! Only wish there was a toggle for 3rd person view.

ComVladposted - Oct, 30 2002 - 23:49
Glad to see so many people like this great game. To answer the volkov question volkov was one of the final bosses in the first game. You fought in an ice cave in the alps and if i remember right he either fell or the cave collapsed on him or something but thats why he is a wheel chair and now in the seconds game he is telling everyone that he was in a skiing accident rather then admit Cate beat him. The only thing I think should have be done differently in NOLF2 was that they should have left the inventory selection before a mission like NOLF1

nolfgirlposted - Oct, 31 2002 - 01:06
its way to short though, and frankly it blows compared to the original. Respawning enemies, nowhere near as intriging story, not enough cool set peices..where the cool stuff from nolf1? I was so much hoping to get a chance to drive the shark minisub, to go skiing down a mountain with bad guys in persuit or some other Bond type moment but no....to be fair stealth is much better but the fact is the game isnt as memorable as the first. nolf 2 seems more cookie cutter to suit casual gamers and as such is more like any FPS compared to the experience of being part of a world in nolf 1. What happened to the intrigue? In the original, we got to see the villains and all the twists etc. In NOLF2, we just have the played out Director and his on-running joke about his controlling mother. It got thin really quick. In Nolf2, I was simply playing an excellent game whose characters were hard to get emotionally attached to in any way.

NOTHINGposted - Oct, 31 2002 - 03:01
Damn, it's been awhile since I've been able to play a game that had some good stealth portion to it. Still playing NOLF (the first one) and I'm surprised. Based on what everyone else is saying, I'm really looking forward to the sequel NOLF2.

ted arcidiposted - Oct, 31 2002 - 05:17
why can't you play the full single mission game in coop, instead of some rubbish minor missions. it just make any sense !

Dr Dposted - Oct, 31 2002 - 07:15
Well I wouldnt say that it "blows" compared to the first one, but does lack something...I have played through nolf1 4 times since its release and laughed everytime.. Me thinks that Maybe the cut seens in 2 are too short,,,, though still very well acted and funny....Just not enough Kate? Overall Nolf2 is probably my pick of the year hands down........I hav'nt spun UT2k3 in weeks now. What a Boring waste of dough that was......

hot shootposted - Nov, 01 2002 - 05:08
Indeed, it's a good game, BUT somehow right now I'm get a bit borring, the enemy is too MUCH..I'm sure have shoot two guards in a particular place, suddenly they are appear again...again and again..frustrating tough..

Iceberg Slimposted - Nov, 01 2002 - 07:18
yeah becuase they respawn, thats 1 bad thing about the enemy AI, at alot of points in the game, they respawn. like in siberia, theres no need for them to respawn but they do. its fun to fight them though, they sometimes retreat, or bum rush you, dodge your shots, lean and shoot around corners. its f`in awesome AI scripting.

Erbozposted - Nov, 01 2002 - 10:03
As expected. GREAT game !

brujo_02posted - Nov, 01 2002 - 10:19
This game is just plain great! I loved the first one, and I love this one just. The only thing that I miss about this one that I loved about the first, is the multiplayer game. I was kind of looking forward to some more H.A.R.M vs. U.N.I.T.Y, or deatmatch type multiplayer games, and was surprised to find that it's only co-op. Haven't played the co-op game yet. Some here were commenting about the enemies respawning continuously in some levels. I'm guessing that the creators of the game meant for players to use stealth to get around. Either way, beautiful game!

Iceberg Slimposted - Nov, 02 2002 - 20:53
brujo, monolith is making a am/dm mod right now for nolf2, it will be released soon hopefully.

brujo_02posted - Nov, 03 2002 - 22:20
Well thanks Iceberg Slim, nice to hear the news. Now I have something to look forward to.

Jackposted - Nov, 04 2002 - 23:58
My PC only 1 ghz and have TNT Riva 32 mb and there's no T/L in my VGA card, i can't play this game :p.... HELP ME.............!

Iceberg Slimposted - Nov, 07 2002 - 15:11
yes, you MUST have T&L on your card for the game to run.

Dziuby (Polska)posted - Nov, 20 2002 - 02:01
Zajebista gra... Dawno nie gra³em w takie cudo... Pierwsza czêœæ te¿ by³a super, ale ta jest poprostu nie do wy..bania... POLECAM WSZYSTKIM

Robertposted - Nov, 20 2002 - 13:43
I thoroughly enjoyed the game in every way, yes a bit short, but lots of fun. The "SuperSoldier" scene near the end is great stuff!! I wish there were a way to have Cate wear some sexier outfits. By the way, I palyed NOLF2 1st and am now starting NOLF1.

Merengoposted - Jan, 02 2003 - 14:00
Questo gioco fa davvero schifo...uno dei peggiori fps degli ultimi anni.La storia è poverissima, il gioco è cortissimo e noiosissimo, i nemici stupidissimi e senza nessuna personalità!! Il tutto si riduce a cercare documenti nei cassetti e a sforacchiare quattro pagliacci indifesi che fanno ridere i bambini! La componente stealth è inesistente e le musiche ripetitive e poco coinvolgenti!!

Jonathanposted - Jan, 03 2003 - 18:07
I have just finished NOLF 1. I got a bit stuck in Dumas factory sneaking around, so gave up until last month when I started playing it again. I now plan on playing NOLF 2 which I got off Ebay. I only have A P3 677 with 320 Mb Ram and 32 MB PCI graphics Card and it works fine. Sadly I won't be able to see all the beautiful graphics but at least I'm still able to play it.

Lord Simonposted - Jun, 19 2003 - 01:48
This is a great game! And Cate Archer... Ohhhhhh lalala! ;)

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