| Violence, Blood
| The Good
Lots of missions, including a random mission generator
System link and online play
You can do some serious harm to your enemies
| The Bad
Blocky character models
Noticeably load times
Single player is fairly standard
As Soldier of Fortune John Mullins, players are given the
mission to stop a terrorist organization set on releasing
a horrible virus upon the world. The first mission of the
game has you rescuing a scientist from Prague. Ten years later,
the same scientist becomes advisor in your mission to stop
one of his former colleagues.
At the heart of Soldier of Fortune II is your standard
FPS, hailing from the Quake days, where you head from
beginning to end, usually locating something or someone to
extract. Rather than facing a series of smart enemies that
use varied and advanced tactics against you, you'll find most
enemies are in the same places every time and can be handled
with the same heavy-handed tactics of every other standard
shooter out. Yeah, you can try and sneak around or just go
in guns blazing, but the end result will usually be the same.
There will be times that you can employ stealth tactics, but
this just boils down to walking up to someone with their back
turned to you and hitting them in the back of the head with
Fortunately, the single player mode comes with over fifty
missions taking you to wonderful locations such as Prague,
Columbia, Hong Kong, and New York to name a few. Throw in
a random mission generator, which gives you a number of choices,
including mission type (Escape, Infiltration, etc.) and you
can enjoy the game outside of the story mode. Of course, to
really get the best out of Soldier of Fortune II, you
really need to tap into the multiplayer experience, either
with the system link or over Xbox Live. While the multiplayer
experience provides nothing new in its various modes (Deathmatch,
Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, etc.), it does provide
a good time outside of the single player mode.
Controls for Soldier of Fortune II are your standard
lot. The Right Trigger fires your weapon, while the Left Trigger
employs a secondary fire, like a grenade launcher or sniper
sight. At your disposal is the ability to jump, crouch and
even crawl across the ground in a prone position. There's
a button to quickly access grenades, reload your gun or use
items and unlock doors. With the D-pad, you can lean left
or right around doors and even fire from cover.
One of the prominent features built into the game is a certain
level of violent realism, in which you can inflict some devastating
harm on your enemies. Limbs can be blown off and enemies can
be wounded. You can take a shotgun and make a bloody mess
of some enemies. Unfortunately, though, this kind of realism
doesn't carry over to your enemies ability to react intelligently.
There are times where you can shoot someone and they won't
act in a manner appropriate to a situation. Heck, I've even
stabbed someone in the neck, only to have them nonchalantly
walk away from me.
The graphics engine is as much good as is it bad. And, not
to say that the bad parts are "bad", but merely disappointing.
The locations are large and have a fine level of detail that
really helps set a specific and palatable ambiance to each
stage. While the outdoor stages show some nice touches, including
some nicely modeled foliage, the indoor areas look a little
stiff and have a lot of repeated aspects and textures. While
the character models do have some great animations, they suffer
from a blockiness and lack of detail that's only made worse
by the low variety of enemy types in each stage.
Sound effects, in their own right, are pretty dead on and
feel relatively real in their delivery in the game. The only
problem is that many find themselves repeated often because
of the nature of the game. About halfway through the game,
you'll be begging to hear something different other than the
non-stealthy pound of your footsteps. One of the nicer touches
is the fact that enemies don't speak in accented English,
rather they usually talk to each other in native tongues,
making the scenarios feel more true to life.
Unfortunately, what Soldier of Fortune II does right
seems to be held back by all that it does wrong. With lengthy
load times, rare slowdown, the occasional clipping problem
and an imperfect graphics engine, the basic "corridor shooter"
feel of the single player mode can be bogged down and even
become tedious to some. There doesn't seem to be enough variety
to keep most players going and even the stealth elements are
If you have Xbox Live, you might want to rent this for the
novelty factor, but the single player experience is not as
rewarding as it is in other FPS titles. Considering how many
loose ends seem unresolved, I wish that the developers had
spent some time to polish off what could have been at least
an entertaining entry in the genre.