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Rogue Ops - PS2 - Preview 2

When a car explosion took away her family, her life, and everything she had believed in, Nikki Conners was faced with two choices, grieve or get even.

Her past as a Green Beret guided that decision.

Omega 19, a terrorist organization, thought it was eliminating a problem when it engineered the attack that killed Nikki’s husband (who was secretly a government-paid assassin) and her child. The problem was they missed a crucial target - the unassuming blond woman who is mad. And Nikki Conners can be very nasty when she gets mad.

Rogue Ops is a single-player shooter slated for release on the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation2 platforms from Kemco and Bits Studios Ltd. The Xbox title will be released in late October while the GameCube and PS2 versions are shipped in the first week of November.

GameZone.com was invited to step into Nikki’s shoes for a three-mission alpha build to get a feel for this action title. The verdict? Spunk, sneakiness and high-tech gadgetry will take you far in this world.

The idea behind the title is rather simple. Nikki has received an offer and goes to work for a covert government agency. Her quick need for revenge has been displaced by two years of training. The only way, initially, out of the government agency training center, where she is, is through the endorsement of the boss. Of course, in order for the game to continue, that will happen.

And after it does, this game promises eight chapters (which equate to levels) that feature objectives, obstacles, as well as character and environment interaction.

Other game features include innovative stealth capabilities where Nikki melds into the shadows and is lost from view. She can also pick pockets of guards or use her abilities to sneak up on guards to attack them before they are aware she is there.

Her arsenal will include 10 weapons including a sniper rifle, mines and grenades, specialized vision glasses which combines X-ray, infra-red and low-light capabilities. Though a single-player adventure, this game will also allow for content downloads through Xbox Live.

As is standard for these kinds of games, Nikki is physically capable of taking on the challenges before her, but where this game tries to deviate from the common path of blazing through an area, Rogue Ops asks players to be more cognizant of the environment and to use it to advantage. The patrol that is moving through an area is likely too strong to take on in a front assault. So maybe hide within the environment, let them pass, and then sneak through.

Using the viewing system, with her back against a wall, Nikki peers quickly around the corner. A camera is mounted and scanning the room. Two choices are apparent. Use the environment and camera scanning motion to slip undetected past the electronic guard, or target the camera and snap off a shot disabling it.

The amusing thing is that while the latter works effectively, and produces a nice little puff of smoke from fried circuitry, having a camera shot out does not seem to attract undue attention.

The game also uses a system where interactive objects light up with an action icon if Nikki is close enough to them. Little cutscenes show the agent interacting with them. But if you are looking for specific items, you need to go into her look mode and scan the area in what amounts to a first-person view. Ledges that you can use to traverse an area will get that action icon and then when you release the mode, Nikki will jump up and grab the ledge.

The game’s sound is typical of the genre and the principle characters all have plenty of attitude. Nikki will go from retrospective, self-doubting young agent in the opening cutscene to wise-cracking, aggressive veteran in the blink of an eye. But then the repartee of others is on a par with her banter.

Though this version of the game came without a manual of any sort, the demo was easy enough to get into and the control elements are fairly standard for the genre.

Graphically, Rogue Ops looks very good. The environments are well done and the animation is excellent. Nikki’s movements, from the back-to-wall slither to the crouched stealth movement or tuck-and-roll, are spot on. It looks realistic. And the little things have not been overlooked either. Bump a table in a museum and the pot sitting atop it might wobble a little.

The game does feature the array of actions indigenous to the genre - Nikki can climb ladders and pipes, or push or pull objects in the environment. She can crouch to crawl under objects or jump to clamber over them.

Rogue Ops seems to be treading that line of the familiar with a dash of the new thrown in. Many elements are stock for the game type, while other elements, such as the lead character herself, are moving in a fresher direction. Yes, No One Lives Forever featured a female lead operative, but that was an Emma Peel type of character. Nikki Conners if far removed from the British sensibilities. She has a pitbull mentality, and yet the game’s developers have not merely made her into a female Rambo or agent 47 (Hitman). She has her own skills and traits that can be capitalized on.

The look at Rogue Ops was a brief one, but from early appearances, this is a game that will have its own style, and may be a solid shooter title.

Gw
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