|Spec Ops II|
Aiming is a chore because your reticule is by default a laser sight, which is all but unusable since it is impossible to see. Aiming your laser sight means you must settle in, moving your mouse around on the terrain or an object to pick up the laser’s reflection and then moving it onto your target. By this time you’re usually dead and starting to curse this feature loudly, but this can be fixed by choosing a yellow crosshair for a reticule.
This eases the task of finding your aiming marker but it doesn’t make it any easier to bring it on target successfully. Put it this way, bringing a gun to bear on an enemy in SOII is about as easy as laying the main gun of a WWII Sherman on target. Get the picture?
Each time you stop you have to work to get the crosshairs on the target. It’s not simple like Delta Force or Rogue Spear where you can just point and shoot as any highly trained soldier (as the Green Berets are) should be able to do.
While some may argue that the way those two games model their aiming crosshairs is unrealistic, I feel they are realistic enough to give you the feel of being there without sacrificing a most important aspect - enjoyment. Playing in the 3rd person perspective is not easier, rather it is much harder to do than in the first release. Movement is also frustrating as anything you do happens very slowly after a small delay. It reminds me of the old days of playing Doom on a 14.4 modem, it's slow like that.
Speaking of highly trained soldiers, I mentioned earlier that your AI isn’t the brightest, didn’t I? If this game accurately models the Green Berets then these guys need to spend some more time at the JFK Special Warfare Center, as they’re pretty damn stupid. Not only do they have a very hard time following you over terrain that is not flat, they have a tendency to run into a hail of gunfire at the drop of a hat.
About the only thing I found the 2 extra ‘buddies’ good for was cannon fodder. That is, when they weren’t stuck somewhere behind me on a terrain feature like a small rise or tree or something of the like. I found myself constantly looking behind me to make sure my team was intact and keeping up with me. This gets old pretty quick. As an added head scratcher you'll find times when your buddies will take out enemies long before you see them. There is no consistency here.
Night fighting is once again modeled in SOII, as it was in the original. But this is another area that leaves you scratching your head. You’re all but blind at night even with night vision and picking out targets is a very tough deal. You can’t easily see the enemy unless you use your IR scope. The problem here is that the enemy doesn’t seem to have the same problem seeing you at night that you have finding him.
The mission designs themselves are very linear. They are designed for you to follow a certain path through the level and take on the enemy at non-random, preset locations. While this was pretty much standard a couple of years ago that has all been changed by Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear and even more so lately with Sierra’s SWAT 3.
Well, not so with SO2. Here it’s just move along, find the enemy and take them out, then repeat. It feels more like an old corridor shooter than a modern tactical shooter. There’s no tension or drama in the game, but there is plenty of frustration and exasperation due to the clunky controls.
Overall I was very disappointed with Spec Ops II. I expected so much more from this sequel. I wanted to have another shooter to add to my addiction list along with RS, SWAT 3 and DF but this one just didn’t do it for me.
SOII is marred by clunky controls, weak AI and pathfinding as well as an unfinished feeling. The die-hard fans of Spec Ops will be happy to see that multiplayer is incorporated and it works well. The only problem will be finding gamers to hook up with, since this game just doesn’t have the staying power to compete with the likes of Rogue Spear and Delta Force.
Core Rating: 50
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Last Updated December 7th, 1999