IGI 2 Covert Strike
If there was one word you could use to sum up Project IGI it would have to be infuriating. That's not to say that the stealth shooter, in which you played the ex SAS soldier David Llewelyn Jones wasn't good. In fact it was a superb game in many respects but there was one infuriating omission, a save game feature. You just couldn't save the game mid-mission. This simple omission meant that most gamers were playing some levels well over a dozen times. It really made you want to pull your hair out when you'd almost completed a mission only to get shot from an unseen enemy. However Project IGI is now history. It's time to look at the sequel, IGI-2 Covert Strike.
The IGI (Institute for Geographical Intelligence) was created by Senator Pat Lenehan in order to combat the threat of war. Once again you control David Jones and under the employment of IGI, you will have to stop this threat of war dead in it's tracks. There's a huge range of weapons and observational tools to help you in your quest. The weapons range from the humble combat knife to the PSG-1 sniper rifle and of course some of these weapons come with silencers for those silent kills. Once again you'll have the use of the IGI satellite map computer and binoculars and this time you also have a thermal imaging device, which is essential for night missions and also good for spotting people who are close to the other side of a wall that you're next to.
The game comes complete with a 19 mission single player game as well as an impressive multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is team based, kind of like Counterstrike. You can either choose to play as IGI or Terrorists. Whoever you choose, you will get three objectives that must be completed before the time runs out. The game comes with five maps to play and they are all quite good. The multiplayer game supports voice communication and this may cause a problem for deaf gamers unless they can play in games where this is not being used.
I was thrilled to find that in IGI-2 you can save the game. I would say that this is perhaps the biggest single improvement over the original game. The number of saves you can make is limited to 3 per mission. This limitation takes the "save every few steps" attitude away from the game whilst not punishing the gamer. I still found myself retrying a level once or twice, in order to get to a more advanced position before I could save, but it was a huge improvement over Project IGI. In actual fact the limited save feature is kind of like a checkpoint system with you having the ability to set the checkpoints.
The AI in IGI 2 is something of a mixed bag, both brilliant in some ways and less than average in others. It is possible to blow up a security camera that's right above a guard's head and have them not notice it and it's also possible to have enemies run helplessly into your firing range on some levels. What the AI excels at though is accuracy and it's quite disturbing just how many shots they get on target when firing at you. It's for this reason alone that you should try and play through the game with as much stealth as possible.
If you have played Project IGI one thing that will have impressed you is the amazing detail in the outdoor parts of the levels. You can see for miles into the distance. There wasn't any distance fogging at all and the really impressive thing was that the framerate didn't suffer as a result of this. The same can be said for IGI 2 as well. On our Athlon XP2000+ system we were able to turn up fully all the details without harming the framerate, which is very impressive. Of course the look of the graphics have improved since Project IGI but it would be fair to say that IGI isn't as impressive as games like No One Lives Forever 2 or indeed Unreal II.
It's always a bit tricky commenting on how stealth games are suitable for deaf gamers. By the very nature of the stealth game there is a strong reliance, at times, on the ability to both remain as silent as possible and also to be able to hear your enemies. Whilst IGI is not perfect for deaf gamers, I think that those of you who are interested in the game will be able to enjoy it. The game includes a visibility meter which shows you how visible you are to your enemies which helps you to remain as stealthy as possible. You can also take advantage of the satellite images on your map computer to locate enemies when you are walking around outside. Obviously the quicker you move and the nature of the surface you are moving on will also determine the amount of noise you make. Of course deaf gamers will not be able to take advantage of the whirring noise of the security cameras and the audible conversations of your enemies but the game is playable, if slightly more difficult, if extreme caution is used and if you wisely use the limited save feature. It is also worth noting that the games cutscenes are subtitled and the objectives can be recalled at any time.
IGI 2 Covert Strike is a worthy sequel to Project IGI. The addition of the limited save game feature is a most welcome one and will cut down on the frustration. It is also impressive to see that the game is not completely linear and that you can complete a lot of the missions in virtually any way you wish. The enemy AI is something of a mixed bag but all things considered IGI 2 is a very good game and if you enjoyed Project IGI then you'll be pleased with Codemasters latest offering.
Game Rating: 8.0/10