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Ships Ahoy: NOLF2

Cate Archer is Back! Sierra Entertainment and Fox Interactive Announce No One Lives Forever 2 A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way Ships to Retail is the press release with word that the eagerly-anticipated spy shooter sequel has shipped in North America. Here's the portion of the release that describes the game, as well as plans to support it with the upcoming release of deathmatch maps and the game's modification tools:

While No One Lives Forever2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way is first and foremost a singleplayer experience with over 40 levels, one of the key features of the game are the stand-alone, cooperative multiplayer missions that allow up to 4 players to become UNITY agents working together against AI opponents. These levels are tied to the singleplayer campaign, and give players another exciting, intense view of the overall story. While cooperative multiplayer is included with the retail version, the team at Monolith wanted to provide the existing fan base with additional multiplayer options. In an effort to serve the community and continue to build the No One Lives Forever franchise, there is a plan in place to create new Deathmatch and Team-based maps over the next few months. In addition, players can expect the release of a stand-alone server as well as the engine code and tools.

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44. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 7, 2002, 20:36 Sharpei Diem
 
I was playing around with it last night(mainly chapters 3-4), and i found that the alarm doesn't have anything to do with spawned guards. Some guards seem to spawn automatically(or when you leave their spawn areas), others seem to be singular and will stay dead either forever, or at least for a long time. In one case(the basement boilder guard), the guard's body was still hidden away with his coffee cup still clutched in his hand.

I think this has good and bad points: It's great that you can never totally relax in an environment, it sucks though that you can(as you said, mithras) elaborately study an enemy's pattern, painstakingly kill them so as to cause no undue notice, only to have them spwan again 10 seconds later (In one case, the guard respawned less than 5 seconds after i dragged the body out of the way and used body remover). It's unfortunate, cause it makes the effort kinda pointless and forces you to either blaze through the level, or sneak through it...



 
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43. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 7, 2002, 09:28 mithras
 
Exactly, Sharpei, exactly. There could be scripted events that bring guards in on snowmobiles, trucks, etc. These could be triggered by radio calls, alarms, etc. I noticed some scripted events that caused guards to arrive by snowmobile, and that's fine (because I can hear and see them arrive from the correct vantage point).

I'm fairly sure that I didn't trigger any alarms to cause respawning. Perhaps I should just sneak and not kill anyone.
 
~the day is okay and the sun can be fun, but I live to see those rays slip away - i love the night, blue oyster cult~
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42. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 6, 2002, 23:44 Sharpei Diem
 
I noticed the respawning too, but am unsure if they were related to alarms being sounded...If it's true, I think it's a good idea(that they respawn if alarms are sounded, as it gives greater incentive to remain quiet).

I think a better compromise would have been to actually 'staff' areas more appropriately and prevent respawning unless something happened to bring them from outside the map(radio call, etc). Lets say for the remote russian post to have a squad of 16 (where 2/3s would be asleep/relaxing as in reality) as opposed to 4 that are constantly awake. How would you man a guard post with four people? 1 per 8 hours and a floater?

 
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41. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 6, 2002, 23:24 mithras
 
Maps are boring when you run and gun through them and kill every AI. However, using sneaky techniques to kill every guard WITHOUT alerting any of the other guards is using stealth. Watch their patterns, lure them one by one from the pack, take them out, and hide the bodies in a closet. Taking the time to eliminate every AI in a stealthy and proper way is not boring at all (at least not to me, anyway).

The respawning I am referring to is when I take out every member of the entire base without setting off any alarms or alerting anyone else only to find that when I go back to an area guards are still doing patrol. Hey, I took them all out - where did these guys come from? They respawn in isolated locations, too, where it would be impossible for me not to see these guards show up.
 
~the day is okay and the sun can be fun, but I live to see those rays slip away - i love the night, blue oyster cult~
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40. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 6, 2002, 23:00 BrianL
 
I only want to make one note here. I won't get into the HL vs NOLF2 debate, because I am simply too biased, haven't worked closely with both:

As I understand it, a decision made early on in NOLF2 was that stealth should be important. As the game is meant to be more based on stealth in addition to shooting, then next question was how to keep the map interesting. Maps are boring when you go through and kill every AI in them.

AIs in NOLF2 come into the map when you do something to alert people, and will remain unless there isn't anything for them to do. I consider this different that pure respawning -- I feel like this is closer to what MGS did with AIs coming in when you tripped an alarm or when someone saw you than IGN style pure respawning.

 
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39. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 6, 2002, 11:21 mithras
 
After installing and playing NOLF2 for a bit, I more than have a few comments.

Negatives:

Their copy protection sucks - it locks up my CDROM 1 out of 3 times. If a tech tells me to buy a new CDROM drive, I'm going to pop a couple of shiny discs into their a$$!

I always like to roleplay as the silent assassin - I use silenced weapons to eliminate everyone in sight. This can't be done in NOLF2 as guards constantly respawn. I hate respawning - it's the game makers way of cheating.

Direct3D sound issues galore. I have to turn off hardware acceleration so that some of the sounds don't muffle or drop off. If a tech tells me to update my drivers, I'm going to shiny disc 'em again!!! I already did that.

Positives:

Assigning skill points to increase skills in select areas - wide range of possibilities. Very balanced as I'm finding myself wanting to increase all of them (I love Fallout to death, but choosing between more Actions Points [or Quick Pockets] and Flower Child is like duh!). Way cool.

Ability to search bodies, desks, and various other items. I can increase my skillz in searching, too. The humor factor in letters and documents is still there. Way cool.

Level design is decent, and it does a great job of mixing up tasks. I'm often looking for something to do something else, but it's pretty logical to figure out. The in game cinematics are fun to watch! Well worth completing a chapter/mission for! Cool.

HalfLife Comparison Factor:

HalfLife is still the better game. It allows for more exploring, better sound support (EAX and A3D), better atmosphere, constant "in game" cinematic and level design, and sweet TFC multiplayer. I purchased Blue Shift just for the texture upgrade pack, and it was worth it simply for the fact that I replayed HL all over again. What a game.
 
~the day is okay and the sun can be fun, but I live to see those rays slip away - i love the night, blue oyster cult~
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38. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 3, 2002, 22:02 mithras
 
Sharpei Diem hit the nail on the head. It's the better game experience of the two. Only two games have caused me to throw my mouse off my desk in an absolute panic to get the heck out of an area - HL and Undying.

And few games have I looked way up, way down, on top of a building, etc, and thought, "I wonder if I can get up there" and have actually been able to do it. HL, Jedi Knight (the original), and Duke Nukem 3D.

I love going where I'm probably not supposed to and looking around. It's a cool thing - freedom of movement. Once in Serious Sam: the Second Encounter I was able to jump up a "pyramid" (bottomed out the old framerate). It's so worth it. If I can see it, I want on top of it!
 
~the day is okay and the sun can be fun, but I live to see those rays slip away - i love the night, blue oyster cult~
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37. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 3, 2002, 21:28 Sharpei Diem
 
I think it's because I could picture myself there as Gordon Freeman - total immersion on a visual, aural, and emotional level.

That's one of the innovations HL is known for. At no time was freeman given a voice, or were you detached from his 'viewpoint'. This created a greater impression that the gamer was him. I don't think a game since has tried it...

For me HL was fantastic because of the environment: it was creepily realistic and never shattered it's illusion by telling jokes (and yeah, the audio was awesome....just the sound of the alarm claxons...)

NOLF though, was lighter and more whimsical. I personally thought the gameplay was better than in HL(not the game, but the gameplay). It was less scripted (enemies would wander different places: different things could happen), and trying a situation again wouldn't end with the same result. I also thought the AI was better in NOLF, not just the way the enemies attacked you, but especially what they did when they were just wandering around(I vividly remember the highrise construction stage when i sniped one of a pair of guards from an opposing building and was amazed to see the other guard turn and kneel to see what was wrong with his friend....just before i took him out too). I also would play the same level over and over again, just to try to hear a conversation that i had missed before, or to try to complete it with a different loadout...

It's odd though, as much as I loved NOLF, HL was presented so well and so powerfully that I think of it as the better game experience of the two...

 
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36. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 3, 2002, 11:32 mithras
 
I've replayed HalfLife about four times since I purchased it (I have a very early copy), Opposing Force three times, and Blue Shift once. NOLF I played twice, and I enjoyed it immensely both times. Is it in the same category as HalfLife? No, it's really not. Don't get me wrong, they're both fun games.

However, HL did things that NOLF didn't. "Cutscenes" using the in game engine that keep you in game, interactive opening credits, intense interaction, guards and scientist that actually helped out and could travel a ways, several great followup expansion packs, superior multiplayer, and various other reasons.

I distinctly remember crawling through echoing vents and tunnels thinking "Sound just doesn't get any better than this." That giant creature in the firing chamber that just clanked on the metal floors and screeched sent shivers through me. The first time I heard a marine talking to another marine I stopped dead in my tracks. Everything from beginning to end was a complete surprise (first time through, did anyone think that the marines would actually help out when you first saw them? heh, heh).

NOLF being a great game just wasn't as memorable. Unreal was not as memorable as HalfLife. Not because HL was the first, either. I think it's because I could picture myself there as Gordon Freeman - total immersion on a visual, aural, and emotional level.


This comment was edited on Oct 3, 13:50.
 
~the day is okay and the sun can be fun, but I live to see those rays slip away - i love the night, blue oyster cult~
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35. Re: No subject Oct 3, 2002, 06:57 Hazard
 
It is consistently disappointing to me to see people read reviews (not just mine) and assume the worst

Well, that's just my experience with reviews. You have to admit that there ARE quite a few reviewers out there that don't take their jobs seriously. I don't know you, so I cannot tell beforehand what kind of reviewer you are, so I just take everything I read with a little doubt and try to find hints on wether the person that's writing it knows what he/she is talking about.

it would be nice if people were sure what they were talking about before making exaggerated accusations and calling a review's integrity into question on a public forum.

Come on, don't take it personal. I thought I had spotted two mistakes in the parts of your review that described things I knew about (i.e. NOLF1). Since I cannot verify the info about NOLF2 until I have the game I simply got suspicious and posted about it. After all, that's what a comments system is for.

 
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34. Re: No subject Oct 3, 2002, 00:23 Alciril
 
It was a good review, Sluggo -- thanks for heading here to clear those things up. I think a lot of us (myself included) aren't used to giving reviewers the benefit of the doubt anymore. I've seen the occasional rushed review put out by places like GameSpot, Adrenaline Vault, IGN, and even GameSpy. I know that there's a lot of pressure to be the first site to post a review as soon as the game hits shelves or your NDA expires, so finding that perfect review is a little hard these days.

 
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33. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2002, 23:55 Sluggo
 
Some clarifications:

On NOLF1: There was a bonus system in NOLF1, somewhat similar to the one in NOLF2. By finding intelligence items, it was possible to improve your accuracy, max health, stealth abilities, etc, although you could never actually assign points where you wanted. I played entirely through NOLF and don't think I ever found enough items for it to take effect.

I would have sworn there were times I had to move bodies in NOLF, but after reloading all my save games, I can't find it. Apparently, I confused it with the body removal powder.

On NOLF2: All told, I spent about 20 hours playing through NOLF2 after receiving my review copy, playing through many areas multiple times. This should be readily apparent from the amount of detail in the review, as well as the screenshots. Everything in that review is taken from my experiences playing both games, as well as the other countless shooters I've reviewed for GameSpy over the past few years. It is a very fun game, especially the later stages ... but you should be able to tell that from the review.

It is consistently disappointing to me to see people read reviews (not just mine) and assume the worst -- in this case, that we never played NOLF1; that we took parts of the review from marketing marterials; that we got the score right by accident ... basically, that the entire review isn't to be taken seriously -- because of one possible slip about a 3-year-old game. I apologize if that comment is incorrect, but it would be nice if people were sure what they were talking about before making exaggerated accusations and calling a review's integrity into question on a public forum.

- Sluggo

 
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32. Awesome Oct 2, 2002, 22:01 Hugenex
 
NOLF2 is simply fucking awesome and i don`t play multiplayer games anymore `cause im sooooooo tired of 14 years old nerds who i have to play against single player is way to go

 
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31. No subject Oct 2, 2002, 21:32 Elf Shot The Food
 
Yeah, I remember the skill system from NOLF, but it was quite limited, and you couldn't pick what to upgrade.

Hard too: I think I only found all the intelligence items on a map once or twice.

I think I got a health bonus or something like that.

 
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30. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2002, 21:24 Alciril
 
I didn't notice any sort of skill system in NOLF, but I looked around a bit, and it seems like there was one: http://www.nolfgirl.com/gameinfo/nolf/faq.shtml

Do Archer's abilities increase throughout the game? Yes. Archer can recover various intelligence items during a mission. The percentage of intelligence she collects will yield a mission ranking. If her ranking is high enough, Archer will become more proficient at certain skills. Only a very careful player will find every single item in the game! Cate may also earn awards based upon her overall performance in a mission.

This comment was edited on Oct 2, 21:25.
 
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29. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2002, 21:05 Sharpei Diem
 
I'm not so certain about that hidden skill system in NOLF. Their website also makes no mention of it. Do you know of any site/article mentioning it sluggo?

The only recent game i can think of with a hidden skill system is GTA3, but i think that was only with running(anyone know?)



 
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28. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2002, 19:54 Hazard
 
because you're not sure if NOLF1 had a skill system or the ability to remove bodies, that must suggest that this entire 1500-word article was "taken from press releases" and that we "accidentally got the score right"?

No, but as I said: it made me wonder how much else is not based on personal experience. Such things lead me to suspect that he has no problem to write down things he heard about as personal experience ... and that's a bad thing in a review. After all, reviews are essentially about trusting someone else's judgement and I want to be certain that that judgement is based on facts, not hearsay.

Additionally, I'm always a little prejudiced against early reviews - I cannot help to wonder if the reviewers really played the game long enough to form a solid opinion.

I apologize if there really was a skill system in NOLF1. I can only say that I played through the whole game without ever noticing any difference in Cate's abilities and the manual doesn't seem to mention anything about it.


 
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27. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2002, 19:36 Sluggo
 
There was absolutely a skill system in NOLF1. It was based on finding letters and other "secrets" around the game, and was completely underdeveloped -- you didn't need to use it at all to complete the game.

On the other hand, the skill system in NOLF2 can have a huge effect on gameplay. I loved it.

But let me get this straight -- because you're not sure if NOLF1 had a skill system or the ability to remove bodies, that must suggest that this entire 1500-word article was "taken from press releases" and that we "accidentally got the score right"?

Funny.

- Sluggo


 
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26. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 2, 2002, 19:25 Alciril
 
I remember playing the demo some time back, but for reasons I don't remember it didn't make my "must buy" list... I don't remember it being that bad, so it may have been budgetary reasons.

I know what you mean. NOLF didn't really spark any of my interest until someone urged me to pick up the GOTY edition last year. The demo wasn't anything spectacular either, but the full game started to grow on me. There's just something about it -- the humor, the 60s feel, and well, I can't really put my finger on it. All I know is that I'm not sorry for picking it up.

 
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25. Re: People still play single player games? Oct 2, 2002, 19:09 Jim
 
but I'd definitely recommend giving the original NOLF a try first

I remember playing the demo some time back, but for reasons I don't remember it didn't make my "must buy" list... I don't remember it being that bad, so it may have been budgetary reasons.

 
Jim
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