Soldier Of Fortune 2: Double Helix
While something can be said for innovation, something can also be said for good old solid dependability. Being a big fan of the original Soldier of Fortune 2, I looked forward to the Xbox version of this title, as right from the get go I had heard rumors of many fixes being made to the multiplayer, correcting the sometimes horrendous multiplayer experience from the PC version of the game. Additionally, another game with realistic weapon effects, and a real world storyline is always worth a look to me, given how many Tom Clancy novels I read.
Right off, you should notice that the level appearance and design, while confusing at times, is good but not quite top notch. Buildings and props look realistic, but still have a rather low-res feel to them, compared to other games that manage crisp if somewhat spartan visuals. Aurally, there isn't much going on here. Music doesn't get in the way, and it sometimes seems that weapon sounds are a little louder than they need to be, but that isn't without adjustment.
At times, the gameplay can get a little tedious, switching between long moments of necessary stealth and furious gunplay. Sadly, it didn't seem like the hit location based damage was even as detailed as I'd seen on, as head shots didn't do much, and the only thing that tore off any limbs was a really close shotgun blast. While I'm not addicted to the gore, if it's one of the staples of the series (and let's face it, SoF1 did offer the goriest action around) I expect to be well treated with some chunkariffic action. As is commiserate with the previous title, the enemies do increase in toughness, making the end of the game somewhat frustrating.
Multiplayer was difficult to diagnose, as almost every time I leapt online the servers were nigh empty. However, being rather dogged, I managed to play quite a few sessions, and I found something there that surprised me. The multiplayer was well done, with multiple gameplay modes, and a code base that actually lets you fight an opponent, if sometimes it does seem like you're well tougher than you should be. There's also a random mission mode that sadly is more tacked on than a post it note about your next dentist appointment. This was my single greatest disappointment in the game, as the random missions were small, boring, and frequently displayed the downside of thegraphic engine.
In summation, I can only say that SoF2 had good, but lackluster, multiplayer gameplay. This is a very traditional realistic FPS, lacking in any serious innovation, relying on the same gameplay that's worked before. However, ultimately, I found it a bit boring, and I'd be hard pressed to pick this up in a bargain bin.