Soldier of Fortune 2
It might not have been universally loved as a singleplayer game, but Soldier Of Fortune II is making a killing online. Although it’s far behind the online popularity of Half-Life and all its modded incarnations, it’s in the same tier of popularity as the other main contenders -just behind Medal Of Honor and Return To Castle Wolfenstein, and catching up all the time.
And it’s not difficult to see why. With no pretensions of rewriting multiplayer shooters or offering a sophisticated, thinking fragger's battlefield, SoFII inhabits the middle line between Counter-Strike's subtle, teambased 'realism’ and Quake Ill’s fast-paced killing-frenzy. Which is the best way to attract two very different sets of audiences.
Slower, Faster, Kill, Kill, Kill
At the slower-paced end of the spectrum is the Infiltration mode - in which one team must infiltrate the opposition’s camp and retrieve a briefcase, while the other defends it. It’s the most popular mode by far, mainly because it’s the most team-oriented. the maps are well balanced and the action can still get quite frenetic despite the emphasis on tactical play.
At the manic, oh-my-god-there-go-my-brains-again end is the Team Deathmatch mode, where you’ll find yourself respawning every other minute, sprinting like crazy in search of a weapon and generally cackling with glee before dying. Its greatness lies in running around with up to 63 other players -that’s right, 63 - in a frenzy of gunshots and grenade blasts. Incredibly, there's hardly any lag on an ADSL line even with full servers.
Deathmatch is good but not quite as much fun (as is Elimination, a team last-manstanding mode), while Capture The Flag suffers from random generated maps. This might sound great in theory, but most maps tend to look the same, and they’re all too big and fog-ridden. It does mean at least that all players start on an even footing and it is possible to find servers with no fog, although the framerate drops dramatically.
A Scar Is Born
Version 1.1, apart from fixing lots of single-player glitches, includes a handful of new maps and, more importantly, a whole new mode called Demolition. This takes the game further into CS territory, since it’s basically a plant the bomb/defend bombsite scenario. It’s also the least popular mode at the moment, and it can be hard to find games running, though this might change as people get used to it.
The player animations are a bit rigid for the pace the matches are played at, but it's not really much of an issue, and you do get lots of different realistic costumes to go with the settings. Somehow, Soldier Of Fortune II manages to use real weapons and still be intensely entertaining - something that many Quake III and UT mods never really were. And with the modding community already buzzing with projects it seems certain that SoFII is here to stay. So turn up the gore factor and keep a mop and bucket handy. You’re bound to get splattered.
Download Soldier of Fortune 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
John Mullins is back as the guy that gets sent in when the regular covert ops guys can't handle it, and of course you've got full control of him and his impressive arsenal of fire power and nifty gadgets. Like the original Soldier of Fortune, this is a first person shooter with a dose of tactical strategy built in, but in the end it's a shooter through and through, and a good one at that.
Your mission is to travel the world meeting interesting and unusual people and dispatching them. From neo-Nazi wannabes to South American drug lords to Middle Eastern terrorist kingpins, it's the modern day menagerie of 'safe'? bad guys ' targets that no red-blooded American would feel bad about waxing (plus you get to save some civilians while you're at it).
That, in and of itself, would make this pretty much like any other non-WW2 shooter, however, in the process, Soldier of Fortune 2 delivers some pretty amazing environments and a really nice balance of modern weaponry and gadgets, plus a number of mission objectives that require stealth rather than brute force (you can crawl and lie prone, have a 'toolkit'? of special gizmos, and can drag dead bad guys into the shadows so the other bad guys won't notice what's become of Dieter or Pablo), all of which gives this game enough novelty and fun to make it a definite recommended buy.
Four other things to notice about this title:
- This is not a title for kids, and Activision realized this by putting a gore password-protection lock right into the game installation. This is a nice touch if you don't want junior seeing a skinhead's brains splattered on the wall or his arms get blown off by a grenade. That's really not an exaggeration; the gore in this game doesn't pull any punches whatsoever.
- The graphics in this game are great, but demanding on both video card and PC resources. Crank them up much and you'd best be running at least a P4-1.4ghz and have a Ti3 or better video card or you'll get some jerkiness when there's a lot going on.
- Multiplayer isn't anything special here, just adequate. Still too realistic to bring the same fun as the likes of Half Life and Unreal Tournament.
- A cool addition is the random mission generator ' choose your locale, your time of day, weapon loadouts, etc. and what kind of mission you want (infiltration, assassination, demolition, etc.) and you're off (side note: check out the stock photo of the drug kingpin here it looks like Brendan Frasier in Bedazzled, which gives you all the more reason to want to take him out. Now if only they could add in a mission to go after Carrot Top)
All in all, a very worthwhile new title from Activision, which seems to be on quite a roll lately.