Today I sat down with what could possibly be Gameloft’s finest game of 2010 – NOVA 2. Tapping the NOVA 2 icon on the iPhone 4 and watching the jaw dropping high definition intro movie totally had my attention and had me eager to get sucked into the action and save the universe this time from the clutches of an alien race called the Volterites. To give you a brief rundown of the story NOVA 2 takes place 6 years after the events depicted in NOVA. Humanity has been thrown into a civil war fought on one side by the central government of the Terran Orbitals and the Human Alien Alliance. Our hero Kal Wardin has once again retired and is now loving life living on the desert planet of Scorpius, among the villagers of that colony. As you know war never spares even the most peaceful of places and poor old Kal is called back to fight once again.
I have to say that straight off the bat NOVA 2 has to be one of the most visually stunning FPS I have seen on the Apple iPhone. The amount of detail that has gone into the level designs, character models and environments is outstanding. Gameloft have really hit the nail right on the head taking full advantage of the iPhones retina display.
After a dramatic video intro, the first level has you crash landing on an unknown beach. Here you’re taken through a quick tutorial and can select the type of control system that best suits your play style. Even though I wasn’t used to it – I would totally recommend using the Gyrometric control system. Once you get the hang of aiming with it, taking down those pesky aliens will be walk in the park. Well not necessarily, aiming is one thing but ultimately you’re going to have to use wit and skill to outsmart what looks like much improved AI enemies.
Speaking of AI the first real threat in the game appears pretty much as soon as take a few steps onto the beach. Known as a Volterite Psycher, this monstrosity uses an invisibility cloak and has the ability to pick up and throw large objects your way using its psychic telekinetic abilities. But don’t worry Captain Kal Wardin has a few tricks up his sleeve to combat this deadly foe and any other enemy that comes his way. Returning is his electromagnetic freeze pulse that will allow you to freeze enemies in their tracks, temporarily allowing you to plow into them with a barrage of bullets. Kal also has 2 new special powers, one is neat new melee attack you can select by switching between the electromagnetic pulse attack that allows you to use some sort of disc style blade. On regular enemies like the Red Fury Troopers one slice of this deadly looking weapon will end their pitiful existence. The second is a Slow time power – when activated the whole world around you is slowed down and you can get stuck into whoever’s been caught in the time freeze.
There are some ultra-cool weapons at your disposal in the game, switching to GOD mode I was able to unlock and test them all out. Some of the Alien style weaponry was a complete BLAST to use, unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the names of each of the guns but they all handled very well especially the Plasma Gun, Lightening Gun and the Rail Gun (sorry not going to tell you what they do – no spoilers) The standard weapons are back like the assault rifle, you now have dual pistols as your lower end weapon, the snipers looks and feels the same as it did in the first one, an awesome automatic shotgun, a grenade launcher, a gun that looks very similar to the “Hammer Of Dawn” and a heat seeking rocket launcher that was very useful when taking down huge robotic mechas hell bent on blowing you into smithereens and YES this all happens within the first 5-10 mins of the first level !! I could only imagine what other action packed mayhem we can expect from the eleven other levels ahead (Campaign has twelve levels taking you to several orbitals = planets with various settings)
NOVA 2 will also have multiplayer (which I wasn’t able to test out) from what I was advised the game supports up to 10 players online compared to only 4 with the original NOVA. Along with a new ranking and PERK system, there are five different modes: Capture the flag, deathmatch and team deathmatch, Freeze Tag and Instagib. There will also be Exclusive multiplayer rewards that automatically unlock for veteran players who have played the first N.O.V.A. They are: The BAGS ( Bass Ass Gold Suit), starting with an advanced ranking that will automatically unlock advanced weapons and a special achievement. So if you want these cool rewards go out and download N.O.V.A right now from the iTunes store and get up to date with the story before N.O.V.A 2 comes out.
NOVA 2 looks and feels like nothing I have ever seen before on the Apple iPhone. With upgraded controls, graphically enhanced visuals, intelligent AI, an amazing array of new weapons.. PLUS did I mention you can also drive vehicles!! well now I did (damn I wanted to keep that a surprize) oh well that cat is also out of the bag as well Kal will be able ride motorbikes, mecha’s also shoot from a running jeep. If you craving a new FPS to take with you everywhere you go then NOVA 2 will be the game for you.
Expect deployment into the Orbital iTunes store in December hopefully before Christmas !!