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Spec Ops 2: Operation Bravo Expansion Pack
By Chris AbeleImprovements and New Features
The first new feature (which will probably get most current SO2 owners interested) is the addition of the twenty-five new missions. I found these missions a lot more solid than the original campaigns, however much they may have been lacking any sort of plotline or depth. While the original Spec Ops 2 game offered campaign intros using a photo slide show, the expansion pack saved itself some megabytes and simply skipped that altogether.
Because of the lack of these “movies” and the lack of any real locales to the missions, the expansion pack does its job well of simply offering more missions to play out. The enemy terrorists are much better positioned and the maps seem to be fairly well thought out, making for missions that are simply more fun than the original missions. One particular exemplary mission was the “D-Day” mission, in which you invade a beach not unlike Omaha during World War II.
There were also interesting changes to the size of your team in the original Spec Ops 2 missions. Prior to the ex-pack, a team typically came with a full-sized four team, making them good for either canon fodder or back up play. One of the interesting decisions that Zombie made was to shrink the teams down to just two players, one human controlled character and one backup AI player. Naturally, not having these two extra lives causes the missions to become a lot harder (because of the inability for players to simply fall back on their third or fourth character).
Rumors are also floating about that Zombie did this to eliminate some of the problems with three AI characters following your leader character’s every move. Despite the claims of improved path-finding AI, I was once again frustrated with my teammates: while improvements have been made, the Spec Ops 2 is still a poor counterpart to the AI found in games like SWAT 3 and even Rogue Spear.
While some graphics and textures have been upgraded and improved via this patch, the overall effect does by no means improve the image quality to the standards of either Rogue Spear or SWAT 3. DirectX 7.0 does help, but it can only make so many improvements.
As a whole, the features and game improvements were not much to write home about. The bug fixes still left a lot of holes in the game, the AI remained as agonizing as ever, and the textures were really not that impressive after becoming so used to Rogue Spear and SWAT 3.
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