The holiday season is, and has always been, the busiest time of
the year in the gaming industry. Between the months of October
and December, we bare witness to over 150 new titles. Some of
the year’s best and most original titles come out during the holiday
season. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also the time of year
that publishers and developers take advantage of the all-powerful
sequel. Fresh for the holiday season from NovaLogic, Delta Force
2. Let’s see how this sequel turns out.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of playing the
original Delta Force, let me just run down the gist of the game.
Delta Force is a first / third person action game based on the
activities of Delta Force, the U.S. Army’s counter-terrorist
detachment. As a member of this elite special forces unit, the
player and a group of two to three computer-controlled
squad-mates will be challenged to covertly infiltrate hostile
territory, eliminate or stealthily avoid enemy patrols, accomplish
an objective and get out alive.
One of the biggest changes in Delta Force 2 is the new Voxel
Space 32 graphics engine that takes advantage of 32-bit 3D cards
in the acceleration of polygon rendering. For those of you who
don’t speak the language, it basically yields expansive outdoor
environments. To explain further, those of you who possess an ATI
Rage or TNT card will be able to take advantage of Delta Force 2’s
engine. All the 3D polygonal objects in the game will run
accelerated, including the characters, vehicles and buildings.
Those playing with a Voodoo (3Dfx-based card) will be playing in
The main advantage of the voxel engine, as mentioned above, is
the actual rendering range. Landscapes and environments will
seemingly go on forever, providing snipers with an incredible
edge. Another environmental advantage of the voxel engine is in
the amount of texture used in the landscapes, so much so that
players can actually travel in tall grasses or snow and actually
hide in the terrain. This provides an excellent edge to the game,
making it that much more realistic. The main disadvantage of the
voxel engine is the frame rates. Delta Force 2 requires a fast
processor and truckload of RAM just to run at a reasonable speed.
The character models feature an impressive range of animations,
but they aren’t very clean. While outdoor environments are
breathtaking, indoor environments are just the opposite. You’ll find
a number of clipping problems in terms of walking through doors
and standing next to walls. What results is a lackluster atmosphere
that needs improvement. The voxel engine boasts some
impressive characteristics, but clearly there’s a lot of work to be
done in comparison to polygonal engines.
There are 45 missions enclosed in Delta Force 2. There are 25
missions in two different campaign settings, plus another 20
stand-alone missions. One of the problems with the original Delta
Force was the lack of any cohesive story. The campaigns were put
together in such a way that it felt like you were playing a bunch of
stand-alone missions. NovaLogic has done a fine job with Delta
Force 2 in terms of creating missions and campaigns that feel like
they belong together. The actual missions take place all over the
world, including the Antarctic, Africa and the former Soviet Union.
Some of the mission objectives include raiding enemy bases and
destroying assets, rescuing hostages, capturing drug lords, and
recovering hazardous materials.
The gameplay, while improved in several areas, still lacks in
certain other aspects. Most missions involve fighting several dozen
enemy troops from a position of cover. The voxel engine obviously
caters to this type of gameplay due to the extreme range of
environments it allows. Sniping enemies is the name of the game
and Delta Force 2 relies heavily on it. One-shot-one-kill means
death is a common occurrence, and unfortunately there just isn’t
enough tactical elements in the game to avoid getting killed. The
lack of a save-game option really causes problems in terms of
replaying certain missions over and over again.
The original Delta Force featured horrible enemy AI, and
unfortunately Delta Force 2 is no different. If two enemy soldiers
are guarding an entranceway, and you pick one of them off from
long range, the second will rarely react. There also seems to be
many times when enemy troops will just sit in their current
location, despite having bullets whiz past them and all around
them. At times though, the enemy AI is far too difficult. NovaLogic
has yet to balance the gameplay in terms of enemy AI, and it
NovaLogic has worked hard on weapon physics in Delta Force 2.
Enhanced weapons ballistics modeling mean that bullet’s
trajectories drop off and are affected by wind at long range.
Bullets can penetrate many objects and structures such as glass as
wood, but concrete walls are in-penetrable. They’ve also
expanded the amount of equipment each soldier can carry.
The best element of Delta Force 2 might just be the multiplayer
features. There are a myriad of options for mutiplayer including
NovaLogic’s Voice-Over-Net, in which players can talk to each
other with a push of a button rather than typing messages. A free
microphone headset is provided with the game, so you can talk to
teammates without taking away from the continual action. Delta
Force 2 supports up to 50 players on a single map and it’s free
NovaWorld online service makes it easy to find people to play
with. Delta Force 2 also features a game called King of the Hill, in
which members of a group of players coordinate their roles and
weapons on the battlefield.
If anything, Delta Force 2 comes out with guns blazing. It’s an
improvement over the original title, that’s for certain, but there’s
still a lot of work to be done. Delta Force 2 is at it’s best when it
throws you into the middle of a sprawling firefight. In terms of
tactical gameplay, it just doesn’t seem to exist on a high enough
level. NovaLogic might have been best advised to wait on this
particular sequel. However, in all it’s voxel engine glory, Delta
Force 2 is here. Love it, or leave it.