After making the Deluxe (=patched-up) original instalment abandonware to download, fans sent this game to the top of the charts on release. Now the second one is here and that blind faith is sadly only partially justified by the standard of the end product. Sadly Illusion Softworks and Take 2 have returned to test the patience of their fans on a reliability level as well as the entertainment return on time invested, in the sequel to the classic which has taken four years to arrive.
The first had drama, addiction, excitement, frustration, stealth, squad-based combat, and hair-tearing bugs. The sequel's no different- but that addiction level is still there which keeps you coming back for more and more, again and again. The first time this was played, it turned into a ten-hour stretch and this was just the singleplayer. You'll be doing well in a mission, get something wrong and can get mown down easily, and after cursing loudly…you'll be back for more. Yes we're talking Championship Manager levels of addiction. You're back controlling the SAS as they travel through their lush European and African locales covering twenty missions.
There's variety in the gameplay modes alongside the linear structure though.If you liked Project IGI you can re-live it WWII style by doing these tough missions all alone rather than in the squad, if you think you'll last long enough. In the same vein Postal and Soldier of Fortune fans can tweak it so that the squad has to liquidate every single soldier rather than being selective.
The last squad based soldier sim was Conflict Desert Storm II, which was above average in its control method, tweaked with the help of that fanbase. Being the sequel of the pioneer, the menu command system for your H&D2 squad (whom you choose out of 40 soliders plus kit, or leave to the computer) has different tactics at every layer for offensive and defensive moves, or an all-out stealth coordination ability. This coordination is aided by the switchable viewpoints between first and third person and in Tactical mode the action stops to let you cue up all the orders for the whole squad before you execute them all and see if it works. If not, back to the drawing board. Within missions you can save but you're stuck on the single mission until you succeed. Much like Syndicate you'll be tempted to go back to try and succeed with no Allied losses as you progress, to better your chances in the future.
As a bonus over the original there's also full-blown deathmatch, capture the flag and objective-based multiplayer modes even if Take 2 strung along its fans with the old “Maybe co-op maybe not” line, only to reveal that you'll be able to play the nine mission pack levels as a team but not the original game “but Maybe”. “Maybe” the mission pack will work like they could be bothered to playtest the game before release, but then again “maybe not”.
So after a four-year delay it's a shame to be writing the same kind of review we'd have written were this site in existence for the original. Low stability means no award. If you're a fan you've already bought it, and we wish you all the best with the patch cycle. It's a crying shame Hidden and Dangerous 2 isn't fully stable with the amount of time invested in it (again). Put up with the bugs and you are, however, eventually and grudgingly rewarded with great gameplay.