"To spend money on a free mod for a few extra maps just seems like madness to me."





Platform: PC

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: Kamehan

Developer: Microprose

ESRB: M (Mature)

Released: Q2 2002



- New lease on life for Unreal Tournament

- Great weapon choices

- Developed by average Joe gamers! Yay!



- Gameplay not as polished as competition

- Available for free download with less maps

- Realism/action mix a little unbalanced

- Where is the tactical side of the game?


Related Links:

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

Review: Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza (PC)

Review: Halo (XBox)


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Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror

Score: 6.4 / 10


tactical-ops-assault-on-terror-1.jpg (80651 bytes)   tactical-ops-assualt-on-terror-2.jpg (92355 bytes)   tactical-ops-assualt-on-terror-3.jpg (95821 bytes)

Iíll be the first to admit it.  I despise the idea of games that are meant for online play only.  Sure thereís a practice mode in Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena, Global Ops, and this game too, but Iíll even admit that it doesnít match the level of intensity of playing online.  Thatís not why though I hate the idea of online only games, but thatís a rant for a different article.  This is relevant though, because my general distaste for online game play I've never played Counter-strike; Tactical Opsí most obvious point of reference for those drawing comparisons.  As Iíve never played Counter-strike, you can be sure that I wonít be comparing the two.  How this game stacks up against the competition I have played, I will comment on, and let me tell you now, the forecast looks grim for Tactical Ops.

Tactical Ops (TO) follows suit with the latest style of online game play.  For those of you unfamiliar with this style, it's one where the players are separated into two teams, each with opposing objectives.  Usually, like in this game, one side will be the bad guy Terrorists, and one side will be the good guy Special Forces.  One scenario has the good guys attempting to rescue hostages and the bad guys trying to keep the good guys at bay.  There is usually a time limit on the game and the team to achieve its objectives by the end of the round wins.  

At the beginning of the mission, players have a small amount of time where they cannot move to buy weapons and equipment from the loadout menu.  When fragged, players also return to this same location, and will be frozen for a small amount of time.  Players earn money to buy weapons by killing opponents or achieving objectives.

Now, TO is a Mod for Unreal Tournament, and is available for a free 200M odd download.  The retail version, which I am reviewing, is a standalone version, does not require Unreal Tournament to run, and has more maps than the free version.  The redundancy of this madness is striking to me.  The price of Unreal Tournament right now in most shops must be somewhere from 10 to 20 dollars.  If I put this to the consumer, telling them that they could have two games for the price of one, and that of the two, one would be the game that they would have purchased had they chosen the single game, they would no doubt choose to buy Unreal Tournament.

Donít get me wrong, Tactical Ops is a great Mod.  However, to put it on retail shelves and ask consumers to pay for a few extra maps is just nonsensical.  Ok, but then you scream at me, that you would never play Unreal Tournament anyways, and that you love this kind of game where there are real weapons and tactics, and objectives, all in a slick online package.  Well, then I would point you to Global Ops, which in many respects is an unfair comparison, but the fact is that the two games are similar in purpose and game play and in my humble opinion, GOps is better than TOps.  Herein lies the flaw that I found with TO which sinks it below the level of other online tactical shooters that has nothing to do with the retail aspect of the game.

As it is marketed, you would expect Tactical Ops to have some level of strategy rather than just being a glorified team deathmatch.  Well, on the maps and the servers that I played, this was not the case.  Even in the practice mode, your AI buddies donít seem to care about you or each other, and just run around trying to frag enemies.  This is quite fun, but there are other games that do this too, and do it much better.  As a pure team deathmatch, TO fails as the weapon damage is too strong.  The purpose for this detail was to increase the realism of the mod, while slowing down maverick players, creating a more cautious team oriented game.  Some of the maps donít lend themselves well to this style of play and neither do a lot of the gamers online. 

As a mod, TO is an absolutely impeccable use of the Unreal Tournament (UT) engine.  It is worth every minute of your download time, and is a must for those owning UT.  TO as it stands on retail shelves though is not worth your money.  If you really wish to contribute to the developers, who really do deserve your support, mail them directly the money you would have spent on the game, buy UT, download the free mod, and enjoy.  TO is fun, but there are a diverse number of games to play these days that are worth your time and money.  To spend money on a free mod for a few extra maps just seems like madness to me.

- Mark Leung

(June 5, 2002)


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