With high quality games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and Splinter Cell on the market, Rogue Ops just seems old and outdated. However, this game has its own special dash of innovation and creativity.
Rogue Ops can be best described as a weak form of Syphon Filter. It is a third person shooter that revolves around the basis of stealth. Unlike Syphon Filter, Rogue Ops has a female as the main character that seems to be better suited as a soccer mom. The story is typical and boring. The main character is angry because her family has been killed and she demands satisfaction. All story telling is done through poorly set up cut scenes.
The best part about Rogue Ops is the game play. Everything from your stereotypical stealth action game is here. Stealth kills, hanging from ledges, hiding in closets, and running action sequences all show their face. However, this game does have some unique elements that separate it from the other games in the same genre. The main character Nikki can sneak up behind someone and pickpocket them. Also, if going unseen, Nikki can perform stealth kills with style if the proper button sequence is pressed. Similar to Tenchu, when you kill an enemy, a special killing cut scene occurs. When Nikki hits her target, the skeleton of the victim becomes visible as if looking through x-ray glasses. The viewer gets to watch the victim’s bones snap and break. This is a great way to make players try to use these stealth kills instead of shooting from a distance. Nikki usually always has a nifty gadget too. Grapple hooks can be used to travel up vertical walls and the long distance retina scanner is also quite cool.
This game really shines in the variation department and environment interactivity. Most of the time, there is more than one way to complete a specific task. For example, in the first level, the player comes across a room that has a drone gun and many laser sensors. The player can either climb a ledge and shimmy to the other side, or crawl under the lasers’ sight. Players can always look for alternatives in battle. Instead of sneaking up behind a guard or killing him by the use of stealth, the player can shoot a hanging chandler to crush the guard and set him on fire. Also, once an alarm has been set off, guards never return to their original posts and remain on heightened alert.
Like all games, there are some flaws. The play control is a little blocky and inconsistent at times. The “R” button is used to shoot and holster your gun. Many times you will accidentally put your gun away in a heated firefight. Plus, the game uses a poor and sloppy point and click style of interactivity. The player has to look directly at everything that you want to interact with. Instead of just simply clinging to a ledge when you come to it, the player has to turn the camera so it is facing completely vertical. There was a time in an early level where I had no idea where to go. After many deaths and hours wasted, I finally found that there was a grapple hook ledge that I could swing too. The player’s sight has to be directly focused on all parts of the environment that are potentially interactive. This is very difficult to work with and the player will wind up missing a lot extras.
Enemies have mixed personalities as well. Many times they will see you even though there is no way they can. You can be just peeking ever so slightly around a corner and they will spot you from a great distance away. However, after they see you, they will immediately attack, but their aim is very poor. The enemy’s aim couldn’t hit the backside of Rosie O’Donnell from five feet away. There was a time where I was just waiting to be shot just to see if collision had been set up. Also, when a level begins, the player is just thrown in the middle of an environment. For example, the player is thrown into the first level by helicopter descent. But enemies are literally 20 feet away from the drop point. Don’t they hear the copter? Later, there is a level where the player has to infiltrate a museum to steal an artifact. For some reason, the player just starts on the second floor next to a wall. Wouldn’t you have to go through a door on the bottom floor to enter any building?
In Metal Gear Solid, whenever the player got stuck, a quick call on the codec would clear things up. Rogue Ops has no codec feature of any kind so if the player gets stuck, he is on his own. Also similar to Metal Gear, Rogue Ops has a radar that shows the environment and the movement of enemies. A bigger view of the map radar is available via the “Z” button but I would have liked it a little bit more if there was an ability to scroll through the map. Where you are in a given point on the map is all that you will see. I also found that the checkpoints seem too far apart. The player can save at any point during the game, but the game loads to the last checkpoint passed.
The game’s 3D character models are very Kemco-quality–not good at all. Character faces look like a bowl of mashed potatoes and the mouths never match up with the voices. The voice acting is so bad the player will probably skip all the cut scenes by pressing Start. Not only is the voice acting bad, the sound quality is horrible too. Every sound effect and voice over sounds like it is coming from a cassette tape that has been played over 500 times. Sound effects and voices are just way too unclear and scratchy. The music fits the tempo and mood of the game, but it is just not as clear-sounding as it should be. It seems all audio aspects are playing through some type of filter.
Besides some upsetting quirks, Rogue Ops is worthy enough for rental or a cheap purchase. Players will hate the poorly set up point-and-click qualities of the interactivity between environments, but they will enjoy the uniqueness in the game play. The story is very bland and it is told through weak cut scenes with horrible voice acting but the stealth kills will keep players entertained. If you want to play a game with quality graphics and shadow effects, then play Splinter Cell instead because the graphics in Rogue Ops are well below average with horrible character models and scratchy voice acting. If you are a fan of the third-person stealth genre (Metal Gear Solid, Syphon Filter, Splinter Cell) then you can probably see through Rogue Ops‘ flaws. With some originality and variation in the completion of levels, Rogue Ops is one operation that you might want to experience.