Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/03/03 | Genre: Action
To start things off, I will say I enjoyed most of my time with IGI-2: Covert Strike. I have my complaints, of course, but overall, Innerloop has made an impressive leap forward in the gaming world the second time around with this series.
Primarily, the graphics are amazing. The scenery is actually beautiful and I spent much time gazing into the distance at the stars or mountains or whatever they happened to place in the landscape. It just looked great, and very real. Also, buildings, lights, and weapons all had a nice, sleek style, which I don't often see in first person shooters. However, the shadows are inconsistent, and some character textures aren't so good, like blocky hands, etc, but for the most part, it was a really nice looking game.
The first major upgrade in the series, though, is changing IGI to stand for the Institute for Geotactical Intelligence. It is this institute you, David Jones, is working for. IGI is a covert operations institution dealing with the "confiscation of power and the dissolution of terrorism." This sums up the cause for your missions and the game's plot. Travelling to different locations to take on a number of challenging, often very challenging objectives. IGI-2 was made a stealth game, and therefore you should play it as a stealth game. Trust me, going in silent and unseen is almost always the preferred way.
The game is crazy-hard if you barge into enemy territory like a rampaging beast from the wilderness. The a.i. in this game are all elite marksmen, with whichever weapon they are equipped. If you are spotted, by guard or camera, it is possible to escape and regroup to take on the situation more carefully, but it's gotta be quick. Guards can and will attack in numbers, and if they decide to shoot at you, you will die, and then probably swear at the computer while looking at your dead body in a pool of blood, trying to decide if you'd like to finally go to bed, or try it again because you know you made a stupid mistake that caused all the guards to come herding towards you. The game is addictive, and takes careful planning to complete each mission. Help items to plan your route include binoculars, thermal goggles, and an overhead map of the outside terrain, with enemy markers. Helpful, but still not easy. The game is hard, sometimes very, don't say I didn't warn you.
Sound effects are done very well. One thing I like particularly is to run my blade across a wire fence. It's the effort to put in that cool "ching" noise that makes you appreciate the detail in IGI-2. Voices are so-so, but that's good, because they could be worse. Music I thought was very nicely done, by adding a certain suspense, but not overpowering the sound effects. If this game were a movie, I'd like to see the music remain, it's quite captivating.
I'd really like to see this series keep going. The amount of effort and detail the team put into making this is very apparent in IGI-2's sleek, finished style of game. The level design was made carefully for a stealth action challenge, and it is provided with great sound effects and visuals. Even after wearing out my stealth/action appetite with Splinter Cell, I deam IGI-2: Covert Strike a success and I recommend it to any first person shooter fan looking for some challenge. Great job, Innerloop, the series is heading in the right direction!