If you have been following Gameloft for the past few years, you will know what to expect when they release yet another “original” game. And for those of you who don’t, that was sarcasm.
The gameplay and story are exactly the same as the iDevice versions. You play, as Kal, who is back in duty to defend earth from some extremely ugly aliens who have teamed up with humans to form the Human-Volterite Alliance that plans to take over control of the planet. N.O.V.A 2 definitely improved on the previous game on the iPhone in the ways of bigger levels, more weapon variety, and smarter enemies. Nothing’s changed here. The enemies still take cover, and the game still includes vehicles like the Transformers-alien-spaceship type robot, blasting through walls and pillars and battling enemy robots. A couple of stages will find you on the back of an off road vehicle managing a machine and decapitating the limbs of your enemies as they try to scurry through the forest to latch on to you. If you’ve played N.O.V.A 2 on the iPhone then there’s nothing new here, however it still delivers a layer of variety that most shooters on the Mac don’t manage to achieve.
For an iPhone port, the graphics fare pretty well. Textures are great and environmental elements such as cars look realistic enough. If you’ve played any other 3D Gameloft game on the Mac then you’ll recognise the low polygonal count and vibrant graphics Gameoft always seems to adopt. Saying that it’s certainly playable and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the voice acting says otherwise. They really do need to hire some new actors as it takes away a couple points from an otherwise superb game. The female computer’s voice is sometimes just painful to listen to and Kal obviously could never be a stand-up comedian even if his life depended on it. I was tempted to play the entire game on mute even if it meant that I was going to miss a few hints and directions here and there.
One particular aspect about N.O.V.A. 2 that I’ve noticed that sets it apart from the first is the difficulty. N.O.V.A. 2 can quickly become very frustrating if you are new to the FPS genre. Case in point where you are left on a desert landscape to build turrets to fend off the incoming waves of enemies. I found myself trying three or four times before I finally beat it. Another example of such is the final boss, which requires a number of strategical movements and placements to defeat, but I won’t try to spoil anything.
A feature of N.O.V.A. 2 that hooked players on the iPhone and iPod Touch was their fantastic online gameplay. On the Mac though, it won’t. Very few people are playing it as I write this review. In fact, there is only one other person who decided to blast some heads with me in N.O.V.A. 2, which is pretty sad in my opinion.
Overall, if you are hungry for some Halo action on your Macbook, N.O.V.A 2 is the right way to go. The graphics are far from a disappointment and the gameplay is amazing. Unfortunately, if you’ve already played it on another device or are just looking for some online action, you might as well skip it.
Price: $6.99 (£3.99)
Description: Halo-clone iOS Port from Gameloft
Pros: Commendable graphics, great level of variety.
Cons: Horrible voice acting, high difficulty, ghost town multiplayer.
Advised Control Method: Mouse Recomended