| Blood and Gore, Intense Violence,
| The Good
Great use of psychic abilities
Havok engine is a blast to abuse
| The Bad
Game is pretty easy
Could use some more originality
You have to give Midway credit where it's due - they are
trying hard to up the quality of their content. Even if it
isn't top-tier in terms of originality or play mechanics,
recent efforts from the company have shown a desire to improve
their gaming library with the likes of The
Suffering and Shadow Hearts: Covenant. With Psi-Ops,
Midway gives gamers a 3rd-person shooter with a nice twist:
the ability to use a variety of psychic powers to aid in the
Gamers play as Nick Scryer, a special psychic operative who
gets a memory wipe to infiltrate the Movement. Once inside,
he slowly regains his memories and abilities. Insert other
plot devices we've seen before in other games where needed.
Okay, so the plot and story is nothing new, but, that really
doesn't seem to be a big issue as the story shows up enough
to move you along. It's really only a means to deliver the
action and keep you heading in the right direction.
At the game's core is an gameplay engine that really doesn't
do anything that hasn't already been seen in the likes of
Max Payne, Metal Gear
Solid or Syphon Filter. In fact, the controls are
pretty similar to Max Payne, minus the Bullet Time.
You have the ability to sneak (by walking slowly when your
enemy's back is turned) look around corners and run-and-gun
with the best of them. Much like Halo, you're only limited
to holding two guns at any time, so you'll have to be efficient
with your ammo as you work through the game. The only real
problem with this is that one of your weapons must always
be the silenced pistol, which means you may be leaving a useful
weapon behind because you can't toss an assault rifle loaded
Luckily, Nick comes with a nice set of abilities that are
handed out at often enough intervals to keep you entertained.
Fortunately, the most useful ability is handed out early:
telekinesis. Because the game runs on the Havok physics engine,
using telekinesis is a blast. You can pick up objects and
people and throw them about for good measure. Or just sick
fun. Later on, you'll acquire Mind Control, Distant Viewing,
Pyrokinesis and Aura View. Each of these has their uses and
the game does a great job at making the player need to use
these to continue on through the game.
While the enemy AI is decent, the fact that Nick comes with
so many powerful abilities makes the game pretty easy to manage.
Boss fights, while interesting and challenging, prove to be
the real standouts in the game, forcing you to put away your
guns and break out your mind powers to survive.
You can tell that Psi-Ops was built as a multiconsole
release and doesn't really push around any serious power.
Visually, it does show off a lot of detail and looks pretty
good, but it doesn't shine like Max
Payne 2 for the Xbox or Metal Gear Solid 3 for
the PS2. The lighting and animation is pretty solid, even
if the character models are only moderately detailed. During
cutscenes, the game shows off some nice facial details, but
the in-game models look pretty static. Before long, you may
grow tired of looking at the same few enemies over and over
again. Fortunately, there are enough visual effects and a
wide range of locations to keep you interested.
The audio package is likewise up to snuff with a few minor
quibbles that keeps it from greatness. Music and sound effects
both work well for the game without really establishing a
uniqueness from the rest of the genre. They aren't bad in
any way, but they don't do anything extraordinary. Because
of the story element, the game's voiceacting comes to the
forefront of the audio portion. On the whole, the voice acting
works well, much like actors doing an action cartoon. They
have voices that fit the stereotypical parts, but don't really
do much more to establish a certain level of character depth.
Still, you'll be pleased with what you get.
Really, the only thing that holds Psi-Ops back is that it's
still just a culmination of other games in the genre with
a nice psychic ability angle to it. The fact that you can
use telekinesis in tandem with the Havok physics engine is
a nice plus and may keep some players more interested than
the actual story does. If you're a big fan of the 3rd person
shooter genre, definitely give this one a try.