No One Lives Forever 2

I’m loving it! I’ve only just cracked Project Omega and am about to fight my way back out of the base, but the game is an utter blast to play so far. And on normal difficulty it’s posing quite a challenge, thanks in part to the enemy AI.

Anyone else agree that in this area (AI) they’ve pretty much set the high water mark? Bad guys seem to go about their business differently every time, so that replaying a level with the exact same approach can garner entirely different results. It really encourages thinking and acting on the fly as the situation unfolds, which results in some terrific “cinematic” moments. They’ll flip on the lights in a darkened room, investigate a door left ajar or footprints in the snow, all behavior I’ve never seen before in a computer game and which really heightens the tension of stealthy action.

I know most of you will probabaly be picking it up if you haven’t got it already – and I don’t think it’ll disappoint.

Oh I can’t wait to get this game. When is it coming out in Australia ?! :?:

I spent most of this afternoon searching for a copy of this game to no luck. Just have to try again over the weekend. :cry:

I did however snag a new demo disc in some publication that includes an exclusive teaser look at one of the Siberia levels NOT included in the Official demo release. Pretty sweet! Any more Teaser/demo releases and I’ll have played most of the game before getting my hands on a copy.

While I agree that NOLF2 is a fantastic game, and is so far my pick for Game of the Year (I’m enjoying it more than BF1942 or Jedi Knight II, my other favorites), I have found some rough edges on the AI.

For example, in the Siberia levels, I killed about 5 guys and dumped their bodies in the bathroom before I realized there were infinite guards. When I left to plant a bomb and came back to the room, I noticed a guard going on his patrols – in a comepletely dark room with five bodies at his feet. He didn’t seem at all concerned about the carnage on the floor.

In another section a guard spotted me and ran after me. I ran into a building, turned off the light, then ran into another room and turned off the light. He came into the first room, looked around for a second, called me a slippery capatilist and then left even though he clearly saw me run into the room. Perhaps the difficulty level had something to do with it (I’m playing on the default.)

But apart from these minor problems, NOLF2 is a fantastic improvement over a very good original.

In another section a guard spotted me and ran after me. I ran into a building, turned off the light, then ran into another room and turned off the light. He came into the first room, looked around for a second, called me a slippery capatilist and then left even though he clearly saw me run into the room. Perhaps the difficulty level had something to do with it (I’m playing on the default.)

I think this is just their way of making it fun and playable. Obviously, the guards are stoned idiots. But the fact that they react to stimuli in a predictable and sorta logical way is really cool.

But it did take me awhile to figure them out; for example, they can only see about 50’, so you can walk around in the open without fear of being spotted as long as you keep your distance. Now that I’ve accepted that, and their other quirks, I’m having a blast being sneaky.

Have you caught any of the guards going for a piss? Pretty surprsing the first time I saw it: he walked to a secluded wall and let out a stream. SO I SHOT HIM!

There are other games that have done similar things with AI – Thief springs to mind, and actually Commandos did similar stuff although it was a very different kind of game.

I’m psyched to hear that stealth is a viable option in NOLF2. I love that stuff and have been crying into my beer ever since Looking Glass closed down. Very few FPSes implement stealth in any kind of useful way. (And don’t get me started on Deus Ex, the ultimate bait-and-switch game. Stealth works really well until you have about 25 hours invested in it, and then suddenly it’s useless and there’s no way to re-allocate your skills. Thanks, Warren–you’re an asshole. Great game up until then, though.)

I have run into several quirks in the AI just playing the various demos, mainly nitpicky stuff that involves an enemy guard’s priorities to go and check for a pulse on the nearest pile of dead bodies instead of trying to eliminate or avoid the evil presence(Cate or me) standing 3 feet away as I plunk another bullet into yet another victim as if they were dominoes lined up and ready.

No big deal though, I mean there have been many occasions where I have found myself more impressed by the AI actions than dissapoointed. After clearing out a cottage in the recent Siberia teaser demo, I turned on the lights in the room only to hear a guard whom I hadn’t noticed outside wonder to himself what was going on in the empty cabin, so I turned off the lights, waited in a dark corner(silenced pistol ready)and as he entered the cabin cautious, curious, and nervous, I let him have it. Not the most impressive example, but I was shocked at the ease of playability the entire scene played out. I really felt like quite the sleuth…with a license to kill of course.

Oh and NO quickloads or quicksaves necessary! My main problem with most ‘stealth’ based FPS titles. I really couldn’t get much into the Thief games because of the over-reliance on using those cheap hotkeys to keep resimulating the same scenario until you were able to crawl past a certain obstacle only to go through the same tedious motions all over again for the next set of obstacles in your path. Save/Load, Save/Load, etc…

With NOLF2 the stealth elements have finally reached(or begun to reach) a similar level of playability as the usual run and gun methods. progress can be made without placing bookmarks at each and every enemy encounter. It’s about damn time! (If you couldn’t already tell, I actually RESPECT games that limit the gamer to a certain number of quicksaves per area…) I just don’t respect most titles that make the stealth elemtns so insanely difficult to contend with that a huge reliance on the save structure is required to make progression comfortable. Thief II just didn’t flow particularly well in this area for me. Great game, just not all that enjoyable to play through.

Oh, and can anyone comment on the use of security cameras in NOLF2? Despite the flaws in going stealth in that title, I really enjoyed dodging and outwitting the placements of the guard patterns and cameras in that game. I loved how lenient they were in detecting you and the various options you had in progressing past them to reach “POINT B”. A lot of the time I felt like I was playing an enjoyable Metal Gear clone in a FP perspective. Do they still follow a similar system where you have a second or two to hide as they try to focus on Cate? Mix in the AI enhancements and I can’t wait to face some of these challenges!

>> Oh, and can anyone comment on the use of security cameras in NOLF2? Despite the flaws in going stealth in that title, I really enjoyed dodging and outwitting the placements of the guard patterns and cameras in that game.

There didn’t seem to be anywhere near as many cameras in NOLF2. I remember in the first game, it seemed like you had to follow an invisible line on the ground in some cases or else you’d be spotted. In NOLF2, you’re usually given enough camera disabler ammo (assuming you take the time to search for it) to progress unimpeded, and not have to duck from camera station to camera station.

Overall, NOLF2 has a more natural feel to it, where NOLF1’s guard patterns seemed more like a puzzle you had to solve.

  • Sluggo

Yea, I can agree to that, the camera layouts did feel like glorified puzzles in some ways. While you can approach them in a few variations, for the most part there was always just one direct route through them you had to deal with. Half the game’s levels were pretty much involved getting from Point A to point B pushing through the obstacle course Monolith had set up, and while I enjoyed each scenario for the most part, it didn’t really feel natural as you say. More like filler you had to just push through.

So if you disable cameras now, the security guards watching on the other end don’t catch on?

Well, in the original game, you used a special disabler that made it appear (to the guard watching the monitor) that the camera was still working.

  • Alan

Yea, it’s kind of funny, I pretty much played through the entire game of NOLF1 without utilizing half of the gadgets. Because of the broken stealth elements some of them were a bit too difficult to use than they should have been. I mean outside of the occasional scripted need for gadgets when they popped up here and there(like the almost useless robotic dog thing in that one level) I pretty much relied on a very small arsenal, chucking quarters being the most useful tool.

I stopped playing NOLF 1 on the first (I believe) camera level where you are in the office and once the secretary leaves her desk, you are supposed to walk around and do stuff. I had moved it down to the easiest level. I had followed every walkthrough. I tried every possible speed, crouching and jumping, etc. I could, and I could not walk past the first two cameras on that level (one on the left path, one on the right). The very first two! Uninstall, move along.

What? Sacrilege! Everyone knows NOLF was Game Of The Year 2000!

It isn’t a perfect game, but seems to have that delicate balance between style and gameplay that makes it a great game. It has great atmosphere, the AI is adequate, if not fabulous, and the missions are sheer fun.

Can you tell I like it? :D

I thought the ending of the prelude was just fabulous. The game also
seems to have the humor of the original, but takes itself a tad
more seriously – all to the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Looking forward to multiplayer on this one, too.

Cheers,

Loyd Case

I played NOLF 1 without much probelms on the stealth levels. They aren’t that hard imo. You do know you could have just got a level skip or kill all enemies cheat or something.

BTW, NOLF 2 really is a Thief game underneath. Probably the best combination of pure shooter with stealth gameplay out. Surely beats Deus Ex. I’m playing on Superspy (OHIO LEVEL WAS HELL! Cool opening map, like haunted house!), and the stealth elements are close to as good as Thief… and in some cases the NOLF 2 AI IS better because it interacts with the environment. With the alarms and guards (on Siberian levels), reminds me of SS2 respawning… some are hating this… but I like it, it forces the player to move and hide instead of sit in the dark camping your ass safely.

BTW2 I love putting the guards to sleep then taking there stuff, and then when they wake up they cry about it! The game has all these funny little details! Or like the Indian cops running out of breath! Games great!

etc

Also, for each progressive level of Stealth skill that you buy, you can shake your pursuers more quickly.

The attention to detail in this game is outstanding. I agree that the first part of the Akron level is completely amazing in its atmosphere. At first, it’s like a creepy haunted house, and then the more you find out about “Tom Goodman,” the more kind of sad and pathetic and hilarious it is. I burst out laughing and just shook my head in admiration for the designers when I noticed what “Tom” had rigged up as the door to his secret spy den.

I can’t believe how many times I’ve laughed out loud in the course of playing. The writing is top-notch. All of the little inter-evil-office memos are a riot, and there are some truly inspired set piece throwaway comedy bits.

Yeah, I can see some people getting pissed about the infinite guard patrols, but I agree that they use it judiciously, to propel you along and keep you on your toes. I just finished the first mime level, and so far I think the Siberia level is the only one that’s used respawning patrols, though I suspect there’ll be more of them up ahead…

NOLF2 has lots of tiny little flaws or quirks you’ll eventually uncover, mostly becuase the rest of the game is so flawless that they stand out by comparison. I’ll see lots of threads on message boards for players that totally love the game, but then have a bunch of little nags - nags they wouldn’t even bother to bring up in other games, because they’ve got bigger problems. =)

Multiplayer is…well…“a mixed bag.” The problem is that every server is just someone hosting a game they’re playing. So this server has to handle running their game AND all the network stuff, unlike a dedicated server. The result is that the first several games I joined had very poor network performance even though they’re just 4-player games on a good DSL connection (shouldn’t be too tough). Movement was smooth, but accuracy was poor and things like door opening and searching were delayed and jumpy. Turns out that they just didn’t have a beefy enough computer to handle it. I played last night on a server and it was really quite smooth and responsive - about as good as Counterstrike.

When it works, it’s really quite fun. It’s fun to fight guards that are a lot tougher, becuase it gives more time for the enemy AI to work before the guy drops and the pitched battles are neat. You’ve got to use cover a lot more, go for headshots, toss grenades - stuff that isn’t as important in single-player. It’s also pretty crucial that everyone try to be stealthy and disable cameras, hide bodies, make little noise, etc. Just a few alarms set off per level really put a hurt on the whole UNITY team. There’s not enough ammo and items to deal with it and the guards get tougher the more players are in the game, so they can cut you down pretty good.

I tried the multiplayer just by hosting my own LAN game and playing by myself and didn’t think it was that special. Playing with three others, it’s really more entertaining than I thought - when you get on a good server.

Which is the other problem: since servers are only there when the host is actually playing, there are very few online games to choose from. VERY few.

I was pissed about the crappy net code until that game I found last night. Now I’m at least a little hopeful it’ll be quite good when they release the dedicated server and DM/team mods.

Well, I finally got the full retail NOLF2. So far so good. It’s everything the original should have been, and unlike the original, it’s a legitimate candidate for action game of the year.

I still don’t like the inclusion of the snowmobile, though.

If someone has a beefy or dedicated system to host some coop multiplayer deals I’d like to participate in it.

— Alan

Well it is a technically amazing game. The guard behavior, when it works, is very nice to see, and it’s wonderful to play a game which was designed by someone with intelligence and humor. In comparison, a dull game like NWN (solo campaign) has less than 1% of the intelligence of just one of NOLF 2’s overheard guard dialogues.

However…

The game is kind of difficult in places, isn’t it? Parts of that Soviet base scenario are like playing Frogger with the screen turned off in that there are these guards you can’t see whose lines of sight you have to discover by trial and error, and whose movement patterns you can’t see all at once. I had to do an awful lot of reloading in that mission.

So far I’ve only tried to play through the Akron ninja onslaught once, but it seemed like it would be quite a challenge even on easy level. There are way too many ninjas for my ammunition, I don’t have enough armor, and they are dancing around throwing shuriken at range so I can’t just run after them with a katana. By the time I stumbled randomly from the outside-the-house area into the ninja-mayhem-in-the-backyard area, I didn’t have enough resources to last more than a few seconds. I guess if I optimize to run for the mayhem area I might eventually get through it, but it seems to be a serious challenge.

Still, difficulty aside (I’m not really a FPS afficionado so I’m not really great at the head-shot motor skill that the game rewards) it really is an impressive game. If it gets much more tough I might either quit or cheat through some parts, though… and I’d hate to have to do either of those things.