When we heard the announcement of N.O.V.A. (Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance)1 last year we were ecstatic. A game which offered a huge campaign, awesome online and epic graphics for the iPhone and iPod touch wasn’t common within the App Store like it is today. N.O.V.A. pushed the boundaries not just on the iPhone but on all portable gaming consoles. So we were delighted to hear there would be a sequel released this Christmas.
Not to ruin the story but the gist of it is your character Kal has been called up once again to save humanity from an alien invasion. The story is very easy to follow, doesn’t get in your way and is enjoyable.
N.O.V.A. 2 is jam packed with action, you can’t go a 20 seconds without having to shoot or blow up something. This doesn’t get boring however due to Gameloft sticking a ton of weapons and powers into the mix and a fantastic upgrade system so you can build yourself by yourself. Enemies are lot more strategic now and the whole AI system has been dramatically improved.
It’s not just weapons Gameloft have gone all out on it’s transportation too. The previous N.O.V.A. had no controllable vehicles whereas now you can blast around on a motor bike. But the motor bike is nothing when compared to the giant mech you ride around on. The mech is an incredible addition, seeing out into the huge environments with the terrains, trees, water ect Gameloft have built really shows how much time and effort has gone into making this game absolutely perfect.
In terms of controls I found myself using the gyroscope which offers the maximum precision for shooting at your enemy. But if you don’t have a gyroscope within your iPhone or iPod touch not to worry you can use the on screen controls which are fully customisable much like the previous N.O.V.A. I found aiming, moving, using powers and shooting all very easy and natural to do with the on screen controls.
The graphics have one word to describe them ‘WOW’! They are superbly stunning, from the grass to the water. The amount of detail that has gone into design, shape, textures, lighting is remarkable. The detail on each separate gun makes them feel different in terms of weight and scale which isn’t always the case with FPS’s on the iPhone. Enemies look a lot crisper and fluid compared to the previous N.O.V.A. The vehicles are also designed really well and especially with the mech and depth of field you experience from looking out on it. Their is so much going on graphically but the game doesn’t drop a frame even on older devices.
The sound is on par with the graphics. Soundtracks and textures within levels have been created by orchestras which makes the game feel very epic. Firing sound effects are all unique and done very well which is carried out with every single element of sound the game has, especially the voice acting.
Replay value is not forgotten here either with online multiplayer featuring Deathmatch, Team Deatnmatch, Capture the Flag, Freeze Tag and Instagib. It doesn’t stop there Gameloft have gone all out and given us Ten Maps which are playable on via ten players.
Overall N.O.V.A. 2 might just be the best game we’ve played on the iPhone and iPod touch this year. A scorching amount of content with an awesome career, guns, an upgrade system, vehicles (including a mech), superb graphics, epic music, addictive online and bad ass enemies this should not be missed.