985th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Illusion Softworks
Publisher: Gathering of Developers

On my quest to slowly round up the duplicate genres that are left, I’m rounding off one of the shoot ’em up list – we’ve still got a bunch of them left and this makes for the last third person shooter that I believe I have to cover for the list.

We’ve seen Illusion Softworks’ work fairly recently in Mafia: City of Lost Heaven, which is the type of game they started to lean towards more, but here we’re looking at the second of three military shooters they made. It’s not exactly my favourite, but I’ve seen this done well too, so I am curious how that’ll work.

Our Thoughts

Possibly despite appearances, I try to play through the tutorial of each of these games when they’re available. If possible I skip the basics – I don’t need another game explaining WASD to me – and some lengthy ones end up in a “I’ll figure out the advanced stuff later” category as well, but I figure I can afford to spend half an hour to get an idea of what works. In the case of Hidden & Dangerous 2 though, I didn’t finish it. I killed myself with grenades in the tutorial too often to be able to complete it, as it required me to start from scratch each time. It’s fine to skip it, but it’s weird how that can happen.

The set up there as well as the cut scene movies create an odd feeling as well – a British gung ho feel that never really connects with me because none of this feels that genuine. It’s one of those things that always bothers me about these shooters – their approach to real life wars as a bit of a lark where we’ll take over easy always feels a bit off, and this game really seemed to draw on that.

Once the game starts, we get a squad based shooter where you control a group of four randomly generated soldiers. You play as one and give others to the others, in a system we’ve seen elsewhere in, for example, Operation Flashpoint. It’s an okay system, which stands out a bit in the RPG lite elements that are present, as your soldiers’ stats will grow as you go through. It’s a nice way to add something to hold on the otherwise replaceable characters for. The objectives have some interesting set ups as well telling the stories, requiring you to meet a contact who’ll lead you through the swamp (that you could probably walk around anyway). It’s a neat touch even if in the end a lot of it comes down to killing your opponents.

The downside comes in with the jank in the game. In the most egregious example I remember, I was climbing up a tower for something, but when I got to the top I suddenly started falling down to my death. I had someone else to switch to, but I felt like the game just going against me without a good reason. It all felt that little bit off, which ties into those earlier tutorial issues – it’s a bit too much work to deal with.

Final Thoughts

While I see where this is a good military shooter, the setting and the jankiness felt like it got in my way a bit too much. I know I’m just not into these things, but this didn’t have anything to try to win me over either.

  1. […] a way that isn’t necessarily that engaging for me. It’s something I felt recently with Hidden & Dangerous 2, but goes back to Call of Duty and has always been a thing. I guess it’s because I grew up in […]

  2. […] excuses don’t really apply to Hidden & Dangerous 2, which gave me trouble on its tutorial and continued to have issues afterwards. I can see how it […]