Soldier of Fortune II puts the player in charge of dealing with the real life world situation of terrorism. You take on the role of John Mullins, a mercenary currently working for the U.N anti-terrorist group, known as The Shop.
Firstly the game features an update to the well-known GHOUL engine from the first game. This time, with your trusty weapons, you can blow off the enemy's arms, heads, faces and legs. You can put holes through them or even injure them enough to see them die agonisingly, slowly and loudly.
The game provides you with a nice choice of weapons. Most of them however, you probably won't use. I spent a lot of the time using the M4 or the MSG90A1 because of its sniping abilities. While the other weapons were just either an inconvenience or there just in case I ran out of bullets in either of the above. There are missions where the knife comes into its own, but that just because the objectives state you must be silent. It did take me a while but I also found out that the grenades are not worth selecting as by the time you have managed to select the grenade, throw it and then get back to your gun you've been shot to pieces.
While I'm on the subject of getting shot to pieces I think its time for the AI bit. Well what can I say? Raven has managed to make the best AI ever if you want to face super human, all seeing all shooting enemies. Yes that's right, the enemies can see for miles, through hills, bushes & trees. They shoot like they are masters and can even throw grenades right on top of you.
The worst part of the above is that when you duck behind a bush or crate and think you're invisible you're not! Even though you can't see them they will most likely see you, which spoils the point of sneaking around 'Being Invisible'. I did read somewhere that going prone was the only way to avoid them, but this poses more trouble for the AI as they will just walk all over you and not even notice you.
The AI does however have some strong points. The enemies will always run to find cover and will usually come at you in groups to try and flush you out, circling you if they can to get in behind and cause you even more trouble. They will also pick up weapons to shoot back at you if they have been disarmed and will jump walls and fences to get to a safer shooting position.
While the AI does at times leave a little to be desired, I think the graphics are perfectly okay, well except for the bushes in the jungle levels, which you can barely see over. The levels are mainly well designed, although rather linear and it does not take you too long to figure out where to go or what to do. Most of the time however, you will spend going from door to door trying each one until you find one that opens, allowing you to continue.
There are other features in the levels, which obviously are there to add some variety. These include opening doors using your lock pick or cutting a tripwire to get past the bomb. The problem with these is that they serve very little purpose other than to slow your progress through the levels down. In the case of the tripwire, most of the time it can be jumped over or you can run through it taking very little damage as the explosion takes place so far behind you.
While the single player game isn't at its best and you feel like you're in a no-win situation with it, the Multiplayer game is quite another matter. This is really where SOFII shines. In a change to the normal offering, Raven has added a random map generator, which adds some longevity to the game, but I was not too impressed with the levels that it pumped out, as these were usually large, set outdoors and fog ridden.
Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch games are usually fast, furious and are very enjoyable. Capture the flag levels are always fun to play and while they have only supplied 2 levels they are well designed and fun. Other games on offer are Infiltration and Elimination. Infiltration is a team game where one team is required to capture a set objective and return it to the extraction point. Elimination on the other hand is basically a "last man standing" game where the game ends when all of one team are dead.
SOFII promised so much more than it delivered. After months of waiting, the single game is pretty poor and you can usually spot something, which would have been better if they spent a little more time on the preparation. On a positive note however the Multiplayer game is a gem and well worth buying the game for.
The above was written before the patch was out so I thought I would say something about the game with the patch. Firstly the AI is so much more improved. No longer do you get all seeing opponents, they will still, however, investigate the nearby area where you were last seen. That's assuming they have seen you, this on its own makes for much better gameplay. Also they have tweaked some waypoints on some of the maps so the AI won't always spot you if you're hiding.
They have not done anything to change the overall structure of the game and there are still some levels, which still leave a little to be desired. There is no getting away from the fact however, that the patch solves quite a few problems and does make the single player game much better.
A number of other changes have been introduced into the Multiplayer aspect of the game, these include a new Deathmatch mode (Demolition), a few more maps and one more weapon. You also get to bind some more useful keys and everything generally feels and plays much, much better. Yey!!!