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S.K.I.L.L. – Special Force 2 (PC) review

 
SKILL - Special Force 2 logo
SKILL - Special Force 2 logo
SKILL - Special Force 2 logo

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC (reviewed)
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
6.0
6/ 10


User Rating
6 total ratings

 

We liked?


  • Fairly no-nonsense shooter - log in and fight
  • Possible to play the game for free, and still remain competitive against paying players
  • Shards mode is a hectic and fun blast, although still with flaws

Not so much?


  • Lack of originality - other than Shards mode, little here that hasn't been seen elsewhere
  • Not all weapons are equal - and none are customisable; as such, some if not most are just content filler
  • Feels "average" - not bad, but not outstanding in any way either


Final Fiendish Findings?

S.K.I.L.L. – Special Force 2 could probably be summarised as “average”. It is decent enough fun, although stands out in few ways. It is perhaps best seen as an MMOFPS stripped down to the basics. But for free? Certainly worth a play, though it may not set your world alight.

0
Posted September 15, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

S.K.I.L.L. – Special Force 2 was formally released last week, after a few months in beta. And let’s start at the beginning – there seems to be no clue what “S.K.I.L.L.” is an acronym for, a title the game only carries in Europe and the Middle East (the game is known as Special Force 2 in its originating Korea, and Soldier Front 2 in North America). But the game itself, sequel to the original Special Force (released in 2004 in Korea, and in various years around the world since), doesn’t worry about that – as long as you can keep running and shooting.

On starting for the first time, you choose a real-world special forces unit to “join”, although this appears to change little than more your starting weapon and cosmetic appearance (and as in-game teams are formed randomly, the choice really does feel little more than personal preference), before you can then jump into one the game’s matches.
SKILL - Special Force 2 screen
The game joins a growing number of free-to-play MMOFPS titles available, and should be quickly familiar to FPS fans. The game modes range from the standard – free-for-all or team deathmatches, attacking/defending objectives – to the bizarre in the Shards mode.

With the exception of the free-for-all mode, the game is heavily team-based, with a degree of co-operation and co-ordination being the key to scoring well. However, the game does tread a middle-ground, being less forgiving of lone-wolves – skilled or otherwise – than multiplayer Call of Duty or Battlefield, but more easy-going in terms of realism than other squad shooters like Counter Strike or Insurgency.

Realism does go out of the window with the Shards mode however, an arena for two teams to face each other made entirely of glass. Given a pistol with infinite ammo on starting (which does as good as no damage to an opponent), the aim is shoot out the walls and floors, causing opponents to fall to their deaths instead (unless they hit the rotating pinball bumpers on route and get fired back onto solid floor).
SKILL - Special Force 2 screen
With a chiptune soundtrack, strong visuals and extremely fast rounds (with each round rarely lasting a minute and scoring being first to 10), this is a frenzied break from the usual street based, semi-realistic approach taken everywhere else.

It’s not perfect though – the arena also carries random, bonus weapons, which do do damage to other players. The approach of trying to gun out a floor while someone runs across it doesn’t really fit when some players are firing actual weaponry – especially given that often their targets can’t effectively shoot back. In my opinion the mode would benefit from the random items being removed – but even so, it stands out for being something different.

The weapons – a cross-selection of assault and sniper rifles, smgs, shotguns and the like – can be bought for in-game currency, and are permanent (albeit needing more money for regular repairs). Other equipment like body armour or helmets can be “rented” for a fixed time, giving bonuses to your survivability, preventing headshots and so on. Unusually though, there are no weapon add-ons – no options to change scopes, add compensators or similar – which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it keeps players relatively equal in terms of gear, regardless of rank. On the other, it means that there is little real selection – you can either choose a weapon that is how you like it out of the box, or not; and these tend to be the same small pool everybody else uses. This means that ultimately, your role in a team is the game as everybody else – shoot the enemy, don’t die, don’t specialise beyond your chosen weapon.

SKILL - Special Force 2 screen

On dying, you can see your last few moments from your killers point of view – usually kicking yourself on seeing that grenade you missed or realising how exposed you really were.

The game has the option of becoming a VIP (i.e. subscriber), naturally costing real money, with perks including extra maps to play on and variant weapons – often re-skinned versions of the basic weapons, though not requiring repairing.

And while we’re talking real-money, as is fairly standard for free-to-play titles these days, there is also special equipment available via a cash shop for real money, ranging from longer term rented equipment to more cosmetic effects like graffiti tags.
SKILL - Special Force 2 screen
In conclusion

S.K.I.L.L. – Special Force 2 could probably be summarised as “average”. It is decent enough fun, although stands out in few ways. Perhaps best seen as an MMOFPS stripped down to the basics – jump into lobbies and play, with no metagame trying to customise yourself; this also means that you simply fill the role of your weapon – shoot at enemies, score points. The game modes are predictable though fun; though Shards is novel, fast paced and commendably different – albeit not perfect. The paid elements of the game are ever present but can be avoided if you want it to remain totally free-to-play; however, VIP players will have extra content and fewer in-game costs to cover. For free? Certainly worth a play, though it may not set your world alight.


Peter

 
Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.