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The Operative: No One Lives Forever (PlayStation 2) artwork

The Operative: No One Lives Forever (PlayStation 2) review


"I've slowly come to the realization that everything deserves a second chance. Cheaters, liars, thieves and even sardonic FPS like No One Lives Forever. Bringing out the lighter side of a very violent genre this game is a complete 180 from anything else. You may scoff at the obvious attempt to break precedence but after years and years of demon hunting and Nazi blasting I think it's a welcome change. "



I've slowly come to the realization that everything deserves a second chance. Cheaters, liars, thieves and even sardonic FPS like No One Lives Forever. Bringing out the lighter side of a very violent genre this game is a complete 180 from anything else. You may scoff at the obvious attempt to break precedence but after years and years of demon hunting and Nazi blasting I think it's a welcome change.

Obviously trying to lure in the audience 007 games created, No One Lives Forever thrusts you into the spyís world of intrigue, conspiracy and dangerous allure. Sort of. From the moment the game starts the design smacks you in the face, looking a lot like an Iron Butterfly video. The Seventies. Big sunglasses, even bigger hair and flowery dresses on your main character that completely defeat the attempt at secrecy. The bad guys have eye patches and cheap names like Mr. Smith. Important documents are strewn all around each level like travel brochures. At first the game just comes across as cheesy. Eventually though, and it may need to be your second time playing it, you will start to see the smart humor lying beneath the lava-lamp exterior.

Graphically, the game is even more an enigma then its subtle jokes. The cut-scenes are a visual nightmare. I wonít lie. With no emotion or change on the faces while the mouth flaps without purpose the characters remind me of a deranged puppet. Their bodies are squished together and shoulders go no further out then heads, itís like a fat man in a phone booth. But then you step into the game play and discover everything outside of those cut-scenes is gorgeous. The weapons have more detail then a Stephen King novel, by both their design and the slight reflection of the surrounding light. Shells barrel out of your gun with an insane realism and dust billows every time you shoot something that isnít human. The environments may get a bit redundant after a while, but with vibrant colors and smooth quality itís a majestic repetition.

The design of the enemies is also a bit outmoded, but there is an upside. It may not always be entertaining to look at them, itís a crack-up to listen to them. Spouting out things like ďforget about living, my friendĒ and ďIím giving you an order now to stay frozenĒ in an Indian accent may make henchmen all over the world cringe at their stupidity, for the rest of us itís amusing. Another perk in the sound department is all the tiny details. If you play target practice with the couch your shot gets muffled, shoot a vase and it will resound with an echo. Water splashes, heels click on the floor and countless other things I never would have thought of, but apparently someone at Monlith did.

Though for all its cracks at seventies spy movies, No One Lives Forever also pays homage to the genre by providing enough original gadgets to make James Bond envious and all of them are fitting for a female agent. With sleeping gas perfume, lock picking hair berets and explosives camouflaged as lipstick itís easy to dispatch of your enemies in creative ways.

And with precision controls, using them is just as effortless. Your movement is swift and pushing the left analog stick leads you into the quickest turn around Iíve ever seen. The targeting system also allows for a few mistakes. You canít automatically lock-on to enemies from halfway across the screen, but if you drag your crosshairs close enough the game does the rest of the work for you. Itís not as easy as automatic systems like Syphon Filter but at the same time it saves you from completely missing in a panic like Silent Scope.

Iíll admit that I hated No One Lives Forever the first time I played it. Second time around though I realized this game is meant to be fun; plain and simple. With subtle humor and a different style itís unlike any FPS out there, so long as you donít take it too seriously. Just like "Hogs of War" was a satirical look at strategy games, No One Lives Forever is a sardonic look at FPS. This game is completely worth the second chance I gave it and even more worthy of a first.

Rating: 7/10

True's avatar
Community review by True (November 04, 2005)

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