STAFF REVIEW of Rogue Ops (Xbox)

Saturday, December 20, 2003.
by Flood

Rogue Ops Box art In recent years, the third person stealth combat genre has been a very popular one among gamers. Some games have pulled it off very nicely, like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Splinter Cell. But unfortunately, some copy cats of these two great games have fallen short of being as good as them. Is Rogue Ops the exception, or does it fails like so many others have in the past?

The game?s plot is far from original. You control Nikki Connors in a battle against (you guessed it) a terrorist organization called Omega 19. Nikki is fighting for a counter terrorism group called Phoenix, not to mention her own personal vendetta to avenge the death of her husband and daughter (another BIG surprise).
The game plays like any other stealth oriented game. You are dropped at a location and are given a mission via radio (be it kill a key person or plant bombs in various places). Your job is to carry out the orders without being seen as much as possible. It has all the workings of being a decent game except for 2 main things: the controls and the camera. Rogue Ops uses the standard control set up of camera being controlled by the right thumbstick and movement with the left thumbstick. Usually this set up works well, but not in this case. The movement of the camera is not fluid at all. Often you will find enemies shooting at you while you try to realign the camera so you can get a good shot at them. This is a big problem for a game that relies on quick thinking and action.
Speaking of action, this review wouldn?t be complete without mentioning the action button. The action button is grab, climb, jump, press, open, etc... all in one button. That?s right; you can?t do any of these actions without it being the proper time, not even jump. In order to climb a ladder for example, you have to look at the ladder and wait for an icon to appear. If the icon is orange, that means you?re too far away, so you must move closer until it turns green and THEN you may climb the ladder. Once again, this disrupts the flow of the game greatly.
One plus I will give this game is its stealth combat system. When you sneak up behind an enemy, you press the action button and then a timer pops up on the screen with a string of arrow directions. In order to perform the stealth move successfully, you must press the thumbstick in the order on the screen before the timer runs out (around five seconds). This is much more challenging that pressing one button to kill someone silently as in other games.

The graphics in Rogue Ops aren?t the greatest, but aren?t the worst. The cut scenes look very nice and make you wish the whole game looked like that. But the in game graphics are sadly not as good. The character models are decent, but the face maps are not too pretty. It looks as if they just recycled the same face map for all of the characters with minor changes. When a character talks, they show very little to no movement in the face other than the occasional blinking or the off time mouth movement (which makes cut scenes look like spaghetti westerns dubbed over in English). The game is lacking in the shadows and lighting department as well. Shadows have little to no definition at times so it?s hard to tell if you?re in a shadow or not, which is very frustrating if you?re trying to hide from a camera or enemy.

The in game sound isn?t anything special. When it occurs, the environmental sounds are mediocre at best. Foot steps, gunshots, and screams are all greatly lacking. Even the voice acting, which is usually decent in most games, didn?t really impress me. The actors voices almost always sound like they?re talking in monotone, which gives their voices no soul or memorable character what so ever.

Don't copy other games so much and try and develope a completely original game(especially the plot...the terrorist plot is so overused).
Definetly work on the camera...and add a jump button!

Overall: 5.2 / 10
Gameplay: 4.4 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 4.4 / 10


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