Set during World War II, this sequel to 2000's Mortyr: 2093-1944 is a first-person shooter in which players take the title role of British intelligence operative Sven Mortyr. When the hero learns that his father (who played an important role in the first game) has been taken prisoner at a secret Nazi base, he sets out on a one-man rescue operation that leads him through Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Available weapons include historically accurate firearms, as well as speculative equipment based on rumored experiments of the time. The single-player game spans 11 missions, and four additional maps are included for multiplayer competitions.
You know, The Onion does an annual Least Essential Albums award, and if they extended that to games, Mortyr II would be high on the list. The original was a guilty pleasure at best, never reaching beyond the mediocre, from beginning to end. Five years later, not much has changed, astonishingly, despite the heavy and heavyweight competition in PC shooters. In the wake of Far Cry, Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, you really have to have some kind of angle if your shooter isn't going to be able to compare.
Sadly, Mortyr II goes in the opposite direction. Instead of adding another gimmick, like the time travel we saw in the original, it attempts to shore up the failings of its older brother and add some more helpful mechanics. The result is something mediocre instead of shudderingly crappy, and that's probably the strongest praise I can heap on Mortyr II--that they didn't screw anything up too badly.
That said, there are fundamental issues. The game starts you out with a silenced Parabellum and nudges you towards stealth tactics. After taking out a few oblivious guards, you're left with the impression that stealth plays a factor in the game. This could not possibly be further from the truth, as spawn triggers and psychic aiming will dominate the rest of your play experience. The enemy will come at you in unbelievable numbers, and chip away at you from a maximum distance.
Guys with MP40s will kneel down and spray, forcing you to find cover, burst fire, and crawl your way through most of each area just so you can keep your head down. It's aggravating more than challenging, and they also take a lot more damage than the long list of WWII shooters has gotten us used to. Expect to unload half a magazine of MP40 ammo before the SOB finally dies. And grenades are a little awkward to use, since they don't bounce like they should, can't be cooked, and don't make use of the reticule. That disappears when you switch to them.
Consider yourself lucky if you can get that precious headshot, because they're typically attacking from so far away that nothing really does the trick except for the sniper rifle, and there's hardly enough ammo to go around - usually because you're using it all the time. Then they throw grenades, but there don't appear to be any sound effects for a tumbling grenade. So maybe you'll see it, or maybe you're about to get your ass blown off. Then there are sections where you're fighting massive amounts of enemies, all keeping their distance, chipping away at your health, throwing grenades - and you're dodging mortar shells. Except you can't really dodge them. There will be an explosion next to you, and it's back to the reload screen. The mortar explosions seem to be randomly timed and placed as well, so you can't inch your way through, quick-saving every few feet.
Speaking of loading, I can't remember the last time I sat through such a long loading screen. Quicksaves come up fairly fast, but entering a new zone takes an impressive amount of time, and there doesn't seem to be much to justify this.
Thank god you can save at almost any time, or else I would have driven a screwdriver up my nostril to end the pain. When you're in a vehicle, you can't save the game. Don't ask me why, but it's usually not a problem. There is one section, however were you have to fly a lumbering helicopter that appears to be made of toilet paper through a gauntlet of machine gun nests. That was awesome. I discovered that I could hoof it, eventually, and managed to get through after several tries.
So the game is basically something I would have given up on had I not needed to review it. Truthfully, I wouldn't have even chanced it, based on the first game and the personal backlog of stuff I still haven't gotten around to.
It doesn't look too bad, I guess. You can opt to use the game's internal antialiasing and anisotropic filtering routines, which I did, and that looked pretty clean. Textures were pretty clean and objects fairly complex. Animation is terrible, though, and fire appears to be blurry 2D sprites. Not so good. When the enemy runs, they look like they're swimming through molasses. Sound is pretty generic, although the occasional voiceovers are surprisingly decent. Music is competent.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that you could tell they were trying to do Call of Duty-style set pieces, but the low-budget production values and rudimentary AI just can't bring it to the table. Perhaps a less ambitious scope would have worked better. In a less competitive environment, Mortyr II might have scraped by, but instead it feels generally dated and decidedly unsatisfying in the face of fare like Brothers in Arms or CoD: United Offensive.
People who downloaded Mortyr II have also downloaded:
Mortyr (2093 - 1944), Mob Enforcer, Nitro Family, Pariah, Marine Heavy Gunner: Vietnam, No One Lives Forever, Line of Sight: Vietnam, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way
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