STAFF REVIEW of Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma (Xbox)


Friday, December 19, 2003.
by Troy

Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma Box art Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is a valiant attempt at the stealth genre of games. With nice graphics, over par sound and decent gameplay this game will still rank below average. I don't really have too many complaints about the game, others may find this game to be one of the best but I'm not one of them. Already not being a fan of the stealth genre I had given other games like Mission Impossible: Operation Surma a try. This game didn't change my mind on the genre either. What the game has visually and in it's sound didn't make up for a lack of great gameplay. The game is still kept down to the basics of the other stealth type games out there now. This to me isn't a big hook to reel me in, I prefer not to hide in the shadows but to rather go charging in with my guns blazing.


In Mission Impossible: Operation Surma you play as Ethan Hunt and you will see other familiar faces if you have watched the more recent Mission Impossible movies. Fans of the movies will probably like this game more then I, since they will get to feel what it is like to be an IMF agent. The gameplay is pretty basic, although getting through the missions isn't that basic. You will find yourself armed to the teeth with not guns, but gadgets. Armed with gadgets to hack security cameras, laser cut through locks, hack security panels, spy on far away targets and pull yourself to high up targets. All these gadgets and you still have just the basic weapons to fight enemies with. This makes sense because your main focus in the game is going to always be stealth. Better to tranquilize targets then to shoot with a loud automatic rifle. You will pick up weapons from your defeated enemies so don't feel like your going to have to rely solely on your hand to hand combat skills. Speaking of hand to hand combat, Ethan has several cool ways of taking his opponents out of action. Removing your opponents out of the picture right away isn't always the best course of action. As seen in the game Splinter Cell you will have to get your opponents to involuntarily help you open doors with their hand prints and other such means. Some enemies will even need to pose for their picture to be taken. Smile evil terrorist, your on Ethan camera! Still with the mass of gadgets you have to use in your missions, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is lacking a lot of truly unique gear to make this game stand out from the rest.

The storyline for the game is the one truly unique thing. You can easily get drawn into the storyline to make you want to curse and play your way through this to find out the ending. Your missions will be mostly sneaking about levels and avoiding detection with your occasional firefight with some guards. For players that need a break from lots of shooting and action give this game a try or just pick up any of the other games in the genre. I for one can't find myself finishing the game.


Visually this game has it's perks. There are other games out that have graphics to wow the players more, but this is not by any means the bottom of the barrel. The first thing about the graphics I saw that I really appreciated was the opening cinematic to the game. Watching Ethan dive his way down into a wrecked ship and swim about. In game, the graphics are very nice. Just watch the fireworks go off in the first couple of areas. Don't take too much time though, you do have a mission to do. Something else I felt the game developers did a good job of was the visuals of a gadget that allows you to see through doorways to detect enemies on the other side. I felt they did this feature in a more realistic way. Instead of seeing plainly what was on the other side you got a image similar to a sonar type visual. Seeing just barely where the enemies are and how they are moving. This gave it a pretty neat feature to the game. Also a plus is the focusing blur you get when using the binoculars. When zooming and moving the view about it would take a realistic time to focus on the area. Glad to see some game companies are taking the time to work on these nicely done small features. Visually this game when compared to can't be Splinter Cell in my opinion. I will always remember the first time I laid eyes on the flames in Splinter Cell. Nothing in Mission Impossible: Operation Surma had quite the same effect on me.


First off I have to mention the intro music. If this game had not started with some form of the Mission Impossible theme song I would have turned the game off right away. The music was exactly what I hoped it would be matched to a very nicely done intro. During gameplay the sound was excellent. When moving about the level you will hear all the realistic ambient noises such as camera motors grinding, fireworks, water, footsteps and talking. It seems game developers are moving up in the world with their sound designs in games. Not much else to state on the sound of the game other then it was done very well.


Suggestions:
There are many fans of the stealth genre and they may love this game. I'm always willing to give new games in this area a try but need more to pull me into the game. I feel like a little more action and a lot less sneak would bring me over to the genre. The game is actually a well done game and can't suggest anything that wouldn't be for my own personal enjoyment.


Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 5.6 / 10
Visuals: 6.4 / 10
Sound: 5.8 / 10

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