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IGI 2: Covert Strike [Preview]

Discussão em 'Jogos - Discussão Geral' iniciada por possessed, 12 de Julho de 2002. (Respostas: 0; Visualizações: 878)

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    When it was released just a couple of short years ago, Innerloop's Project IGI was one of the first true 'stealth shooters', a pioneering new breed of FPS which placed the emphasis on covert black operations, rather than all-guns blazing action. IGI's contemporary setting and highly realistic approach won it a legion of admirers and now with IGI 2 nearing completion, we've managed to secure a fresh consignment of preview code to bring you the latest news from behind enemy lines.

    Publishers Codemasters launched something of a covert strike of their own to capture IGI 2 from Eidos and although there are still some edges to be sharpened, all the signs are that they've landed a prime double agent. Once again you'll reprise the role of David Jones, the ex-SAS wet boy who now works as a roving trouble-shooter for the secret US military department known only as IGI. As you'd expect, the focus is truly global with a mission list that roves from Libya through Egypt to China, but your opening assignment is classic IGI, with Jones parachuted into a heavily fortified gold mine in the Carpathian mountains, to investigate the theft of an advance US computer chip.

    From the moment your size twelve regulation issues hit the floor, there's no mistaking IGI 2's credentials. The original game's engine was adapted from an existing flight sim and the sequel shares its truly vast outdoor levels and impressive real world architecture, which add a great degree of freedom and realism to proceedings. Scoping out the huge mine complex with your binoculars gives you some idea of the daunting task ahead - some guards are on patrol making their rounds, while others loaf around in small groups waiting for action, with alarm buttons, chain link fences and security cameras providing further obstacles and pause for thought. Reconnaissance is vital and it's important to spend the first part of your mission staying out of sight, timing the guards' routines and probing for any weaknesses in the enemy defences.

    This more cerebral approach to gameplay really encourages stealth and forces strong tactical decision-making, but most importantly, really builds a lot of atmosphere and tension into proceedings. Can you take out that single guard before he hits the alarm? Will you risk a headshot with your silenced Glock or can you get close enough to use your knife? Perhaps you should silently shadow him until he reaches his mates at the guard post and lob in a frag grenade to take the lot of them out in one fell swoop? Interesting tactical dilemmas and you'll face all three in the first ten minutes of IGI 2's opening episode.

    Although he's an ex-SAS op, Jones is definitely not superman and inevitably, once you do stir up the hornet's nest, combat tends to be short, sharp and on the uglier side of brutal. With a full complement of real-world weapons like the MP5, AK-47 and M4 and more exotic variants like the hefty Dragunov sniper rifle, Jones certainly has access to plenty of firepower, but with the odds usually stacked on the wrong side of overwhelming, you have to choose your ground carefully when engaging in any fire fight.

    Jones can stand, crouch or crawl which means a constant trade-off between speed, stealth, mobility and accuracy. The weapons modelling is also ultra authentic with accurate recoil and very limited ammo, which means that you have to conserve your stocks and scavenge for more at every opportunity. These factors combined with the impressive location damage modelling add up to what you can only imagine is a very realistic and deadly combat experience. Make one slight tactical mistake in IGI 2 and you probably won't be around to see the consequences.

    Innerloop have been promising big things for the title when it comes to opponent AI and in some aspects it's already looking razor sharp. Guards are quick to spot you unless you use cover properly or sneak up right behind them and they're even quicker on the draw at raising the alarm and calling for reinforcements once they've been alerted. Sound now plays an important role too and unless you're sneaking around, the sudden crunch of your boots on a new texture will have them squawking "intruder in the area" and bring others running. The AI is certainly decent and already provides a stern enough test, but we didn't see any overwhelming evidence for the co-ordinated squad based behaviour that they're supposed to exhibit to hunt you down. They certainly put up a tremendous fight on their own, but we'll have to wait for final code to see if they measure up to the imposing AI standard set by the marines in Half-Life.

    Still that slight caveat aside, there's already much to recommend about IGI 2. The game itself looks gorgeous, the combat and weaponry are highly authentic and if the AI goes according to plan, it's going to be one of the most challenging FPS shooters around.

    Yet in spite of all that it's IGI 2's gameplay, its atmospheric blend of stealth and cunning, interspersed with sudden bursts of frantic action that will really hook you and is already in evidence in this preview code. If development continues in this direction, IGI 2 is going to be the perfect title for FPS fans looking for a more cerebral combat experience that challenges their tactical acumen as much as their ever itchy trigger finger.

    John Houlihan for GameSpot UK


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