It will make a believer out of you!
You are the hero, Corvus, of the Sidhe elf people. When you defeated the serpent rider D'sparil, in Heretic I, you were cursed to wander the outer worlds with D'sparil's dying breath, rather than return home to your people. After years of wandering one hostile alien environment after another, you discover a dimensional portal called a World Ripple. As you step through the portal that you think will lead you back to your homeland, you realize the extent of the curse that D'sparil laid upon you. It is not the home you left behind. You return to find the remnants of the land of your once proud people, now in shambles. Your people are diseased, dying and violently insane from an unknown plague. You, Corvus must find the reason and if possible heal your broken race.
This game has an eerieness to it that is sure to spook as well as intrigue you. The combination of surroundings, setting, and music takes fantasy action-adventure to the limits.
The graphics are unbelievable. They are straight out of a Boris Vallejo painting. The characters and the environment are as accurate in every detail as things one would find in a rulebook for Dungeons and Dragons. The environment is dynamic in that it changes permanently with your actions. The lighting effects are pure eye candy. The graphics and detail have a likeness to match or surpass that of Unreal (I know, I know, it doesn't do as many poly's per second, but I'm talking aesthetics here), and gives you a third person prospective. Heretic II uses an enhanced Quake II engine and it flows like reality. Even without 3D acceleration, this game looks good. It is artwork in motion.
The controls are excellent. The movement in this game is simply unbelievable. Movement includes climbing, flipping, dodging, tumbling in all directions, even in mid air. The revamped smart camera works like a wonder. It stays with the action and prevents those blocked perspective shots that so many of us seasoned third person gamers are used to. Believe me when I say this because I tried hard to make the camera get blocked off by a wall. Not a chance, this time Activision delivers everything they promised.
You can pinpoint specific body parts on your enemies, adding variety to your attacks. You can hack of arms, legs, and heads or disarm weapons sending some enemies fleeing. This changes the need to kill everything, like in most games of this genre. You can be more of a good guy or just plain evil, which makes it more like role-playing in Dungeons and Dragons.
Which brings me to my next point. The enemy AI in Heretic II is good to average. I usually play these third-person and first person games on the hardest possible level. Many of the new games out there have really improved the character AI, such as Unreal, and Sin. Heretic II, in comparison to these newer games, could have done a better job making the bad guys a little smarter. On the hardest level in Heretic II, which is called Armagedon, seasoned gamers will still find the enemies a little too easy to beat.
In your arsenal, you not only have traditional weapons, but spells as well. One example is the Meteor Swarm where you call up rock from the ground to hurl at your enemies. The use of spells can be compared to the use of Jedi Powers in Jedi Knight II, except that Heretic II's presentation handles it ten times better, and classier. The animation that goes along with each spell is awesome. Also, what's cool is that when you acquire different weapons along the way, they are displayed somewhere on your character rather than just disappearing into your endless magic pockets. Even these simple weapons are rendered magically. For instance, when your battle staff is not in use it turns into a small stick dangling from your side. When you grab it, energy lights it up and it grows into a battle staff.
A couple minor, but nice features: You can change settings for almost any option on the fly. Also the loading is great. It's not like Sin, where it takes an eternity.
The multiplayer works well, but is nothing spectacular. It's just Deathmatch that happens to look awesome with fluid, solid gameplay. Did I mention this game is artwork in motion?
Heretic II just might make me one of those lonely gamers playing video games on a Saturday night I always talk about.
You have got to buy this game!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. If you like 3D shooters, third person shooters, or just plain love to see the power and glory of computer games today, then you must buy Heretic II. If for nothing else, you should just buy this game for its unbelievable artwork that will capture your imagination and bring back that kid in you that used to wish that they made games like this. Heretic II is one of those games that nearly achieves perfection!