|Welcome to the world of the elite. You are about to join the
ranks of one of the United States' finest fighting forces ever. You are a Green Beret. As
of now, you are the newest member of a crack team of highly trained specialists that can
go anywhere and do anything. The newest release from Ripcord games is everything Spec Ops
was--and more. Special Ops II--Green Berets is a fine sequel to what is fast becoming one
of the most popular gaming styles on the market today. The combination of war strategy and
first person shooter is much more than the point and shoot of Duke Nukem. Like the popular
Rainbow Six games recently released, Spec Ops II is a thinking mans
Once the game is installed you are ready for action. All that is left to do is choose how much you want to suffer (I mean your difficulty settings) and the location of your first campaign. Now if youre a "green Green Beret you had better plan on spending some time at the training center before rushing off to battle, or else your parents will get a depressing telegram from the Dept. of Defense informing them of your demise. There are training missions for just about everything. For those of you that think you're too good for training, that's OK. The training sessions are always available, so after you get worked a couple of times you can slink back to train when no one is watching.
With mission areas like Antarctica, Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, and Germany, just about every landscape is covered in depth. From plains of snow to desert sands, you--being the finely trained killing machine that you are--can kill anything, anywhere, at any time. There are anywhere from four to six different missions in each area, and they can be completed in any order. This makes for a lot of game options, but does mean that there is virtually no story line. Once you pick your select the area and mission to be carried, all that remains is to gear up and go do it. You can however equip your soldier(s) with supplies and weapons of your choice, but a missions success or failure has no bearing on the game.
The game itself is pretty cool; there are, however, a few issues that I need to jump up on a soapbox about. The graphics are great; the landscape is incredibly detailed and so are the Green Berets. Even the footprints in the snow and mud are detailed. I am pretty sure that the enemy soldiers are just as detailed, but I cant say for sure since if you get within 50 yards of one, you will be running for cover from a wild spray of bullets. The scenery is very detailed and makes it much easier to become immersed in the game for hours at a time. That said, the only flaw that leapt out at me about the graphics was only a problem in zones with trees. In the jungle/forest, areas the trees would shift from normal shades of green and brown, to green and brown trees with a shock white outline. Like a bad trip, this kind of graphical error can really bring you down. It's kind of like playing war-games in the forest under a strobe light. It doesnt really effect game play but it sure is distracting.
The other problem that I had was with the buddy AI. This AI is supposed to be updated and make your buddy soldiers much smarter (than what I dont know). I cant tell you how many times I would be in the middle of a mission, scouting out an enemy location off to the side of my team. When I would return to gather them up and lead them to our target, we would almost always get jumped by a small enemy force (guess I missed some on my patrol). Anyway, about half the time one or two of my buddies would charge the enemy position (guess they dont like me in charge much) while the rest of the team would be shooting from behind, trying to shoot through their comrades to take out the enemy. Needless to say, it makes finishing your mission pretty difficult, but it is pretty hilarious to listen to part of your team calling out over the radio to hold your fire while the other part of your team guns them down.
The character that you choose to play does handle well. You can choose to take control of any member of your party at any given time by using the tab key, and if you get killed you automatically assume control of one of your buddies. The play control is great. There are lots of movement options from walking to running, crouching, crawling, and even sneaking, which you will need to master if you want to get anywhere in this game. The problem is that the controls are so spread out over the keyboard. What you really are need three hands. One for the mouse and two for the keyboard since control keys range from F1 to the keypad on the right. I never did find the best way to handle all of the controls. Even at the time of this review, there were times when I would get killed because I was looking down trying to find the best way to switch to my scope without moving my hands.
This is definitely not a run around and kill everything game like Doom or Duke was. If you make noise or are seen by enemy troops they will come and investigate, and they usually come out shooting. To impart the best strategy, be sure to learn the buddy commands. Now, there are only 4 commands, and they dont seem to listen well, but you can always hope. Your orders consist of Move Up, Follow Me, Hold Up, and Hit The Dirt. I guess the Get Me A Beer and Finish The Mission For Me orders were decided against at Ripcord. Maybe Spec Ops III will have them.
This game is still pretty cool, you can select different soldiers like snipers, infantry, machine gunner, etc. And the weapons that you can pick from are incredible; my favorite rifle is the Vektor/5.62 mm X . Nothing works better at gunning down a group of enemies quite like it, especially in multiplayer. Well, except maybe the grenade launcher, but you will probably kill yourself as often as the enemy so I would stick with the assault rifles. I was also extremely impressed with the multiplayer aspect of this game. It handles extremely well, and is a blast to play with others. There are several options for multi-play; you can use Mplayer or you can use the RTIME ripcord server. I preferred the RTIME servers much more then the Mplayer. Granted, there are fewer people on RTIME, but it was incredibly stable and didnt seem to mess with my system like Mplayer does. If you are hosting a game you can select from any zone and choose from standard Death Match or Team Play, even king-of-the-hill type games are available. All of them are a blast.
This game was developed to be as realistic as possible, and the sound effects that were used support the realistic feel of this game. Each weapon has a clearly different sound when fired. Explosions from grenades or mines are intense and, of course, are in stereo so you can tell where it came from. The enemy even babbles at you as they try to gun you down. Your team will also speak to you periodically as enemy targets approach or in response to your orders.
Over all I would have to say that this game is pretty impressive and worth picking up if you liked Spec Ops I and the Rogue Spear games. The realistic environments and audio provide for a very immersive environment for you to be the soldier you always knew you could be. It will take you back to the days when you ran around the block with a plastic M-16 with your friends fighting imaginary bad guys. The only difference is that you have a lot more options as far as weapon selection and environment. The sound effects are incredible and help to bring the game to life. Just watch out for your buddies. Try to keep em in line and if nothing else, do something about that itchy trigger finger!