Act of Valor II is a First-Person shooter developed by Frontier Unlimited and came out on November 16, 2011 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC. It was later released on Mac in January 23, 2012 and iOS on June 5, 2012. It is the second installment in the Act of Valor series.
The game is set during World War II and the campaign mode is experienced through the perspectives of four soldiers: one in the Red Army, one in the United States Army, and two in the British Army. It contains four individual campaigns, split into three stories, with a total of twenty-seven missions. The game was announced on May 12, 2010 at a Press release.
The game was met with positive reception. Critics praised the game particularly for the graphics and sounds. The Xbox 360 version sold over 250,000 copies in its first week, and had sold 2 million copies by January 2013. It later was given a third installment, Act of Valor III, on Fall 2013.
Act of Valor II is a first-person shooter that has a single-player story mode and a multiplayer mode. The player takes on the roles of several Allied protagonists in specific missions during World War II. The player can crouch and lie prone, and is able to scale low walls and other obstacles. Two firearms can be carried, which can be swapped with those left on the battlefield, and both fragmentation and smoke grenades can also be carried. A gun's iron sightscan be used to aim more accurately. A compass on the heads-up display (HUD) shows both allies and enemies, and objective markers to indicate locations the player must reach, areas to defend, or enemy cannons or tanks that the player must plant explosives on to disable. Emplaced weapons such as machine guns and flak cannons are available in some locations to take out enemy troops. In addition, some missions place the player in control of a tank.
The player has a set of binoculars. While it is generally ignored during infantry-limited gameplay, it is vital to the long-range use of the Crusader tanks and one of the missions in which the player must direct artillery fire to defend a town. It is also important for scouting, though most of the game takes place in personal, close combat situations reducing the importance of this tactic.
Should the player take severe damage, the screen will turn red and the sound of the character's heartbeat will increase in volume; this indicates the player's health is low. The player must find a way to stay out of fire to recover before entering battle again or else will die and restart from the last checkpoint. Health is only restored through automatic recharging when the player is not taking fire. Some attacks, such as explosions from grenades or shells, will kill the player instantly if the player is too close.
In April 2013, Frontier Unlimited released the Act of Valor II Map Engine, which allows a player to create their own multiplayer or single-player maps. Along with Map Engine, the mapmaker includes Maya plug-in support, an effects editor, and an asset manager which allows custom models to be made and imported into the game, as well as custom effects.
Act of Valor II features several game types: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Search & Destroy, Capture the Flag and Headquarters. The maps include Normandy, Africa, and Russia. Each team can choose a variety of weapons, depending on the map. Players can choose between American soldiers, Soviet soldiers, and British soldiers for the Allied forces, while the Axis forces must play as German soldiers.
Each PC multiplayer server can hold a maximum of sixty-four players, while the limit is sixteen players on Xbox 360 and PS3. In the Xbox 360 and PS3 version, players can play on Xbox Live and PSN and get new map packs. There are a total of thirteen official maps, and three of these are remakes from the original Act of Valor. There are also three extra map packs named Bonus Pack, Skirmish Pack, and Invasion Pack, adding a total of eight maps.
Act of Valor II contains four individual campaigns, split into three stories, with a total of twenty-seven missions. Each story concerns a World War II soldier overcoming the odds in the war. The game also has four difficulty levels: Easy, Regular, Hardened, and Veteran.
The player controls Private Dimiti Pacotronki of the 33th Guards Rifle Division, initially involved in the defense of Moscow from the advancing German forces. The next level involves the destruction of a German stronghold in Stalingrad during September 1942. The next objective involves battling for strongholds throughout Stalingrad throughout December 1942, including re-connecting cut telephone wires and re-capturing the rail-yard and train-station. The final mission takes place during the final Soviet offensive in Stalingrad in January 1943, which involves the re-capture and defense of city blocks and Stalingrad city hall.
The player takes control as a British soldier, Sergeant John Daksons of the 56th Armoured Division in North Africa, led by Captain Joe. The first level has the player taking part in a sneak attack on German Afrika Korps troops, ending with the destruction of a German supply station. The next level has the player defending a town from overwhelming numbers of Germans sending counter attacks from North, West, South and East; finally achieving victory by destroying much of the German tank force using artillery. This is followed by theSecond Battle of El Alamein, during which the player has to fight through several trenches, machine gun nests, 88 millimeter guns and finally taking the German's field headquarters. The assault on El Dabaa to intercept the remaining Germans in Egypt and destroy several 88 millimeter guns soon follows, ending the first British campaign. An addendum to the second set of missions has the player taking on the role of a British tank commander, David Welsh. The first mission of the third campaign in Toujane, Tunisia, has the player immediately under fire, holding a house with a single machine gun and then wreaking havoc with an armored car. They soon break out and rendezvous with the second squad. The final British campaign takes place during the Battle for Caen as part of Operation Overlord.
As Corporal Bill Michael of the 6th Ranger Battalion, the player starts off by playing a part in D-Day, at the assault of Pointe du Hoc, to destroy a German artillery battery, and hold it against a massive German counter-offensive in the following mission. Soon after, the player captures a nearby town and serves as a sniper against mortar crews until reinforcements arrive. The second objective is focused on Hill 400, involving the capture of Bergstein, a disastrous charge at Hill 400's bunkers and the defense against the German counterattack, with the player again performing sniper work against German mortar teams, destroying enemy armor, and generally holding the hill against the counter-offensive, all the while burdened by artillery and overwhelming numbers of German soldiers. The final mission is set amongst the Americans in the Rhine River crossing into Germany. It begins as one of the few missions with the player immediately under fire, providing cover fire against the Germans until reaching the river banks and then fighting through most of the town. The final fight has the player defeat two German Tiger I's.
On May 12, 2010, Frontier Unlimited announced that they are officially developing Act of Valor II, set for release in Fall 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
According to the press release, players will now be able to engage the enemy in a more non-linear battlefield, tackle the major battles chronologically, and use squad tactics not available in the previous Act of Valor games. Frontier Unlimited also confirmed and made a "Battle Chatter System", similar to Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, where squad members use dynamic dialog to create situational awareness in real-time.
The game engine—proprietary Valor Engine—is a modified version of the Frontier Engine used in the Maverick series, which was also used in the first Act of Valor game. With the new game engine, Frontier Unlimited expanded the scope of combat to deliver a realistic battlefield experience and enhanced the visuals. The developers were able to cloud visibility with smoke from smoke grenades and create weather effects like dusty sandstorms and whiteout blizzard.
The game was known to "let players experience four individual soldier stories as they overcome insurmountable odds in multiple campaigns. Players have the freedom to follow each of the four storylines through for the ultimate character-driven experience, or they can engage in the historic battles chronologically for quick hitting action. Squads now have the freedom to take on a variety of mission objectives, on expansive battlefields that allow for multiple paths and the ability to utilize actual combat tactics like outflanking and fire and maneuver capabilities".
Act of Valor II was going to be more immersive than the original Act of Valor. MrDjThompson, creative director of Frontier Unlimited, stated "We didn't want to take any of the parts out that made Act of Valor so good. But there were a couple of things that we admit could have been done better". A demo of the game showed a more open gameplay style and a new and improved enemy A.I., where they'll be actively seeking to come out and go after the player. There are a set number of enemies set on the map that will begin reacting to the player's presence once the first shot has been fired. Groups of enemies farther away will send units up to see what is happening and add to the combat while enemies directly in front of the player will join in and take cover quickly.
Frontier Unlimited had spent a lot of time traveling the world to take a look at areas where the war actually took place. Some of their findings caused them to scrap whole levels for parts of the game that took place in France, since they found the location study to be a lot different than what they imagined. One of the details the team added are post-war effects that continue on the battlefield throughout the game, where dust and smoke continue to roll through the streets, clouding up vision, and junk and debris scattered everywhere. The game has sound attenuation and context sensitive dialog, with a total of twenty-thousand lines of dialog. Each of the soldiers fighting alongside the player will call out the position of enemy soldiers, warn of flank attacks, and help out in ways that were not possible in the first game of the series. Thompson stated "We really wanted realistic battle chatter going that's not only entertaining, but actually adds to the gaming experience. So now you'll hear your guys telling you that there's [sic] two guys hiding behind that rusty car in the street or that there are people on the second floor of a building".
A collector's edition of the game was released for Windows on November 20, 2011 and for the Xbox 360 labeled as the "Special Edition". It features the game and a bonus disc, which includes interviews, a making of the movie and two mission walkthroughs. On May 17, 2012, Frontier Unlimited announced a Game of the Year Edition for the Xbox 360, which includes material from the Special Edition, plus a token to download the Skirmish Map Pack. In June 5, 2012 Scorpion Studios released Act of Valor 2 for iOS. The mobile version is a 2D top-down shooter. It received a favorable review from IGN, praising its length and storytelling.