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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Midway

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2004

 

 

- All the psionic powers are handled very well

- Physics in this game are amazing

- No black hole inventories: only a pistol and one secondary weapon

- Good sound effects

 

 

- Stealth features are terrible and gun targeting take practice to use

- Only five available weapons? What is this Coleco?

 

 

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Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

If you had psionic powers would you become a fearsome opponent? Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy says, “Yes”… but then again, if I had telekinetic powers I would collapse his trachea or cause an aneurysm from a distance not throw him through a plate glass window and then shoot… just quicker you know?

 

psi ops review           psi ops review

 

Anyways, back to the game. You control agent Nick Scryer… an implanted agent into the “Movement” who possesses psionic powers. For your mission, you underwent plastic surgery and a complete mind-wipe… so you still have your fighting skills but no memory of who you or other people are. Once you’ve been brought inside the “Movement” a double agent re-activates your psi powers and as you progress you regain access to your latent powers. Your mission is to overthrow the organization from the inside and blow up stuff (that’s really more of a fringe benefit than mission outline).

 

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As you progress through the game you gain access to six psionic powers: Telekinesis, Remote Viewing, Mind Drain, Mind Control, Pyrokinesis, and Aura View.

Telekinesis is pretty much what you’d expect, pick up an object or person and throw it/them or bring the object to you; it’s pretty cool to be able to bring a gun to yourself (but it would be cooler if you could rip a gun out of someone’s hands). Remote Viewing allows you to leave your 

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body (without the use of drugs) and view nearby areas that’s useful for planning attacks on a room or getting security codes. Mind Drain is a way to absorb psionic energy from opponents or corpses… unfortunately you have to sneak up on an opponent for this to be successful. Mind Control is pretty self-explanatory – take over someone’s body and let them get all shot up while they thin the opposition. Pyrokinesis allows you to set things or people on fire! It’s a great way to set up those movie quality deaths. Aura View allows you to see the world in a different definition; you can see hidden objects and also tell if enemies are aware of your presence.

 

Combining these powers produces the best fun in the game, like picking up explosive items and throwing them at someone or by setting something on fire and then throwing that at an enemy. (Apparently it hurts more to get hit with something on fire than having something explode in contact with your face, who knew?)

 

All of the action takes place in the 3rd person with the camera generally centered on Nick. The camera might allow Nick to move out of the center of the picture if he’s up against a wall but for the most part, the view is focused on the hero. The hero is pretty much what you’d expect from a soldier, he’s a good runner and very agile but has a propensity to jump at doors thanks to whoever mapped the button for jump to be the same button which interacts with equipment and opens doors.

 

All gunfights take place with auto-targeting: you fire at the person or object once you move the reticule towards the thing that you want to play with. For some reason, it’s near impossible to take down an enemy with a head shot (except with the sniper rifle) and you are better off trying to riddle your opponents with bullets until they fall down. The gun control isn’t great and it will take some practice to get it to do what you want. But don’t worry much about gun control – most people will be disgusted by having only 5 selectable weapons.

 

Unlike most action games involving guns, the hero can only carry 2 weapons at a time:  a pistol and a secondary weapon that can be switched when you come across something different. Even more surprising is the limited amount of ammo that you can carry at one time: if you try to take out a large number of opponents from under cover, you could run out of bullets before you kill them all. Most of the battles involve you and 2-3 enemies at a time, so the best tactic is to try and knock one enemy down and then isolate and kill another. When you start getting into higher numbers, you should plan the attack to either kill a large number in the first few seconds or cause the greatest amount of confusion (using mind control to thin their numbers without getting hurt will help).

 

psi ops review           psi ops review

 

Stealth features are included in this game, but for some reason they don’t really work especially well as you can apparently always be seen in the dark and clinging to the walls doesn’t appear to do much more than let you leave blood smears on the wall when you get shot. The game physics is an impressive feature: when an object is picked up or dropped, it will totter and fall exactly if it were dropped in real life.

 

The sound is definitely a high point for the game: excellent sound effects, above average voice acting, and the soundtrack is pretty darn good (when it’s on, that is). The in-game movies are also excellent; the rendering engine that was used for the cutscenes did a great job. In-game graphics are excellent, the game looks and runs well and only slows down when more than about 6 people are on screen.

 

Difficulty wise: most advanced gamers can storm this game in a night, an average gamer or person with a job might take a little longer. Most times you will get killed for not using the correct strategy for an area, you usually used up too much psi-energy in an area, got hit a few too many times, or used up too much ammunition in passing one area… very few areas in this game are too difficult to pass in more than 3 tries. The game is very linear, which is both a strength and weakness: you can pick up the game at any time because you don’t really get overwhelmed by the map but conversely when you are in the zone you won’t really get challenged.

 

All in all, Psi-Ops is a great looking and sounding game that has a few flaws in execution but is a pretty fun way to waste a few hours.

 

- Tazman

(July 14, 2004)

 

“You want an awkward moment? Ok. One time during sex I called Lois, "Frank."”

- Peter (The Family Guy)

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