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     " The game is not without its charm…it's just not nearly the stealth adventure game it should be. "

      Title: IGI 2: Covert Strike by Codemasters

      Format: Stealth/Action FPS

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: Coming into the rush of tactical and stealth shooters hitting the market, IGI2: Covert Strike takes a slightly mottled approach and combines the stealth and sneak elements of games like Splinter Cell with the intense one-hit-one-kill fps aspects from the likes of Rainbow 6. But can it keep its own or will it catch a round scrounging for cover? Read on, my monkeys- to find out for yourself.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: When we rate games here at Game Monkeys we have a real simple philosophy: how it compares to comparable in the industry. That being said, I kinda felt bad for IGI2. The graphics are nice, they really are, but they're only really good when compared to games that came out a year or a year and a half ago. The animations are nice but really jerky and exist completely independent of the environment. The models are pleasant but a whole long way from the detail we've seen in other games. And the effects, such as thermal imaging and fire effects end up hardly being noteworthy. Again, that's all not to say the game looks bad, just that it's noticeably dated. 3.5 out of 5

      Playability: As is becoming increasingly common lately, IGI2 is a game that tries to do many things but can't quite decide where to put its emphasis. At its heart it really is a solo action shooter game. Load up on modern weapons and engage against numerically superior forces in a very "James Bond-esque" style. It tries not to be, what with it's semi-realistic damage scale and its strong encouragement to rely on stealth, but unfortunately all it's other aspirations are in vein. The root of the problem lies in the ridiculously overwhelming odds you face. The levels, from enemy numbers and placements to layout and design, really seem to be made for a straight assault shooter like Global Ops, but instead of a squad or a nice amount of receivable damage the game wants you to rely on stealth to get through. Which, while the core for such successful games as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, doesn't work against those odds. Trying to get through a level without being scene or tripping an alarm becomes unnecessarily difficult, the tools they give you to accomplish the task don't aid you nearly enough, and once an alarm is tripped it stays tripped forever, thus you will most likely become frustrated and just blast your way in as time goes on. And once that happens you'll quickly long for the team-based tactics of IGI2's competitors, as you will be swamped from all sides and take damage from a ridiculously accurate AI way too quickly. Still, the game is not without its charm…it's just not nearly the stealth adventure game it should be. 3 out of 5

      Story and Drama: As with most of the games in the genre, the story in IGI2 is sparse but at least mildly interesting. Basically, it revolves around you as operative David Jones, special forces extraordinaire, who for reasons never really specified gets dumped solo into hostile situation after hostile situation, in which you will have to complete a series of stealth objectives before extraction. 2.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Given the amount of time it will likely take you to beat the single player missions (expect to replay them a lot) you probably won't run through the campaign again. The multiplayer, however, can be a ton of fun. Based on a currency model similar to Counter Strike, you earn cash through kills and play time which can be traded in for better weapons, ammo, and gizmos. The levels are pretty keen and the damage to weapon ratio isn't half bad. 3.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       In the end, it's not that IGI 2 is bad…just that it's not great. And in an genre and industry that currently has some seriously heavy hitters strutting around a half-assed show just doesn't impress. I played it, and I enjoyed playing it, but the whole time I seemed to be thinking "Fun…but such-and-such game did it better."

      The Good: Nice attempt at a cross genre game

      The Bad: As the old saying goes, "I can't feed my family on attempts"

      The Overall Ugly: Hopefully IGI 3 will be a bit more solid.

      What it's Worth: $20

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