previews\ May 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm

The Agency: Covert Ops Facebook App preview


In the vast and expanding world of Facebook, one of the sidebars to the social network is the games that members can hop in and fiddle with to kill time here and there. More and more companies are finding it a nice way to hook in players, encourage socializing and get a taste of the game products out there in more expanded (aka, you’ll have to pay for it) ground.

Sure, there are some free-to-play games that take it no further, but more companies are finding the Facebook app a nice way to hook gamers to something bigger.

Sony Online Entertainment is certainly no different.

The Agency: Covert Ops is an interesting application that merges SOE’s online Station Cash formula (you buy Station Cash for real-world money and that currency can be used in SOE’s online games) with simply yet inviting puzzles and missions - all derivative of, but by no means indicative of, the upcoming massively multiplayer online game, The Agency.

The Agency: Covert Ops is a series of puzzle missions and simple click-‘n-go missions, a few shoot ‘em up-style elements all against the backdrop of the spy game. The game starts off with selection of a character and basic class style, and then players can customize the character using some Station Cash. Once the character is in place, it’s off on assignment.

Amsterdam is the city the game starts in, and the first missions serve mostly as tutorials, though - in all honesty - the mini-games are not all that difficult to understand. You can also establish and “pimp” out your HQ to impress other Facebook players, but that comes a bit later.

Step 1 is the establishment of the office in Amsterdam, then clearing the area of any who might sniff out the HQ of the covert ops center. Most of the missions involve static screens and merely clicking on the appropriate choice. That, in turn, leads to a puzzle (some timed) that might be of the hangman style (except losing is a fail, not a hanging) wherein you have some letters and try to guess the word, while others can ask the player to find certain objects in a location in a set amount of time.

As with any MMO, once players gather enough experience, they level and points can be assigned to any of four main areas – health, dodge, damage and critical damage percentages. The tougher you are the more capable you can be in certain mission types.

Every mission is delivered from Chelsea, your gun-toting contact. Most of the game is simply of the read-and-click variety. If you don’t care to read mission types, best to avoid this game.

The game itself does not look too bad for a Facebook app, and all achievements can be shared with Facebook contacts (also known as another way to tout the application itself and lure more people to see what you are up to).

The game allows players to use Station Cash on the Black Market to buy upgrades, or they can upgrade clothing options, appearance or items for the HQ. And some of the mission types are for groups of players.

While the game may not have the addictive nature of a Bejeweled, it is a nice little game that plays well and each mission is easily accomplished in short bursts. The game is currently in Beta.

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