For this week’s Game of the Week, we decided to pay tribute to a genre that’s really been picking up in popularity lately – the first-person shooter. These are action games played from a first-person point of view, where you actually see where you’re aiming your gun as you run around in a stage. You might’ve seen these types of games before on consoles such as the Call of Duty series and Halo on Xbox 360 , but the iPad has its fair selection of titles as well.
Among them is N.O.V.A., which is short for Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. Last year, the original game made quite a splash on the iPad. Now, Gameloft has released N.O.V.A. 2 HD, which is available for a $6.99 – a much cheaper price than most first-person shooter games go for on consoles. For that price, it’s definitely worth the investment.
The game takes place six years after the events in the first game. In this near future, humanity has thrown itself head first into a bloody civil war between the Terran Orbitals and the Human-Alien Alliance. The game’s main hero, KalWardin, is trying to stay out of the way and live a life of peace, but when there’s war about, you know it’s only a matter of time before it shows up on your doorstep. And the game picks up with Kal getting right back into the swing of things, in full N.O.V.A. gear.
If you’re a fan of this genre, then N.O.V.A. 2 should feel very familiar to you. The on-screen controls make it fairly easy to both move around and aim, as you keep your sights trained on any incoming enemies that may stand in your way. The game also utilizes a number of cool weapons, including the Alien weapons (Plasma Gun, Lightning Gun, mines) and human weapons (automatic shotgun, rocket launcher, etc.) You can also use special powers to your advantage when it comes to up-close melee attacks, including Slow Time, Freeze and Disc. All of them prove quite useful, even against stronger foes. And you’ll need all these abilities, because they’re fighting to stay alive – just like you.
N.O.V.A. 2 looks very good for a high-definition shooter on the iPad, almost on par with Bungie’s Halo games on the Xbox. The environments are simply stunning and the enemies move around frantically, jumping around and taking pot shots at you. The audio is equally impressive, complete with great music bits and sound effects. This is a perfect showcase title if you’re testing headphones for your iPad.
There’s also plenty to do within the game. Along with a single player campaign that’ll take you a few hours to complete, N.O.V.A. 2 fully supports multiplayer, both local (through Bluetooth) and online via Wi-Fi Connection. Up to ten players can take part in a match across five modes, including Team Death match, Capture the Flag and Free-For-All, traditional entries in a game such as this. Ranking and perk systems are also available, so you can level up your soldier and equip them with any new gear you manage to unlock. Ten maps are available as well, so you’ll have no shortage of fighting spaces. The worldwide leader board support is a nice touch too, should you feel the need to compare yourself with other fans of the series.
Until N.O.V.A. 3 rolls around (or someone manages to make a Halo game for the iPad – not looking likely since Microsoft’s a mobile competitor), this is quite simply one of the better first-person shooters you’ll find for your tablet. Download it and keep your finger trigger moving. You’ll definitely need it.