Stealth action titles are some of the hottest games out today. If you need any proof for that, simply look at the popularity surrounding games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. Maybe it’s the nature of the world today, but more and more players are interested in becoming covert operatives striking out against rebellious factions and saving the world. Up till now, every secret agent stepping out of the shadows has been a tough as nails, grizzled veteran who’s got a chip on his shoulder. Well, Kemco and Bitz Studio are getting ready to put a new spin on this clandestine world with their new title, Rogue Ops.
Players are cast as Nikki Connors, an ex-Special Forces agent whose life is ripped apart by tragedy. One day, her husband and child are murdered in an explosion that rips through their car. A terrorist organization called Omega 19 claims responsibility for the act, and as Nikki starts to search for answers, she quickly discovers that her departed husband was a member of a covert organization called Phoenix. Desiring payback against the people who destroyed her family, Nikki joins Phoenix and trains with them for multiple years to exact her revenge.
Apparently, this training has paid off in spades, as she appears to be rather agile in her movements. Nikki can change her pace from a stealthy crawl to a light walk to a steady jog with increased pressure upon the analog stick. This nimbleness in her steps allows Nikki to quietly creep up on enemy guards and pick their pockets for weapons, access cards or keys. This same sneakiness can be used to disarm and silently eliminate enemies before they can call for backup. In a rather creative twist to the typical stealth kill, players have to input the correct combo sequence in a limited span of time to be successful. Failing to do so results in the escape of the target and the immediate raised alarm of any reinforcements in the area. This lends a definite air of tension since there is no guarantee of taking out your target.
Taking these risks are necessary, however, because you will have to kill enemies more often than sneaking past them. While firing a gun or throwing a blade into a guard can quickly kill them, there are two downsides to assassination from a distance: 1) bodies will have to be hidden to avoid detection and 2) these guards will often spout blood or leave trails behind them, which can raise the alert status of a base dramatically if stumbled upon. Though it won’t force players to restart a mission, it will make navigation of each level significantly more difficult, especially with automated defense systems activated. Fortunately, Nikki has ten weapons to defend herself, and a number of gadgets, including a grappling hook to scale walls and a pair of sunglasses that can detect body heat as well as see through walls.
The character models for Rogue Ops are smoothly animated, and exist in very detailed environments scattered throughout the world. Nikki’s motions in particular are rather fluid, particularly when she attempts to stealthily kill someone, which involves the game fad of the moment, Matrix-like camera angles and sweeps. Vocally, the acting for both Nikki and her handlers is very well done, which makes the story much more appealing to play through. Rogue Ops could be a stealthy hit when it sneaks into stores later this year. Check back for a full review!
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