Written by  :  weregamer (169)
Written on  :  Dec 11, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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A great game, though not quite as good as the original

The Good

Many of the great elements of the original game survive in the sequel - the strong story, real player choices, an interesting setting with a lot of intrigue which the PC must discover for her/himself. Like the original, you can approach the game in various ways - pure personal stealth, pure action combat, sneak and snipe, or various combinations between. Some of the changes for console compatibility, like the modified inventory system first used in the PS2 port of the original, work just fine.

The Bad

Sadly, the game does feel a little "dumbed down" for console compatibility. Removing the skill point system in particular bothered me, both because it seriously reduced the amount of character customization you could do and because it removed the ability to have small rewards for exploration; combined with the limited map size to fit in console memory, there are very few of the nifty little cubbyholes that were so fun to find in the original.

There are also terrible problems with PC graphics performance, resulting in jerky mouse response at any resolution and making resolutions above 800x600 look no better than 800x600 does. Finally, the choice to invoke the 20 second CD copy protection check on every level load, when the actual loading is only 5-10 seconds, was particularly stupid given the new small map size. It can take 2 map transitions to get back to a known repair or medical bot while you are conceptually on the same map (in the same building, etc.)

Finally, the game is a little too short. Even exploring every inch of every map and completing all possible side missions, I finished in about 20 hours of game time and perhaps 24 hours of total playing time. The original took at least twice as long to finish. By another metric, the original had about 14 mission locations (counting each visit to Hell's Kitchen separately because you have stuff to do and meaningful new encounters each time) while the sequel has only 8 (9 if you count the second visit to a particular city, where nothing much happens).

The Bottom Line

I was very disappointed in this game because I was expecting an improvement on the original. Since the original was so great, any net improvement at all would have made this one of the greatest games of all time. But setting that expectation aside and simply looking for a great game comparable to the original, I've really enjoyed it - and I did start playing through a second time immediately after finishing the first.