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Rogue Ops PlayStation 2

Published by Kemco
Developed by Bits Studios Ltd.
Distributed by Capcom
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99

Stealth based games have become very popular over the last couple of years. The Metal Gear series initially began the craze and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell reinforced the fact that stealth games can be hugely enjoyable. This year we've already seen the Mission Impossible - Operation Surma game, which was kind of a like a stealth game in that it didn't have the same difficulty level of games such as Splinter Cell and yet still required you to sneak around, and here we have the second stealth game (and it's only February) to emerge on all formats.

Rogue Ops, like every other stealth game, has an evil terrorist organisation that needs taking out and in Rogue Ops it's an organisation that calls themselves Omega 19. You play as Nikki Connors, an ex-Green Beret and counter terrorist operative. Nikki's family (daughter and husband) have been killed by Omega 19 and she is out for revenge. In order to take revenge Nikki joins up with Phoenix the 'most covert anti-terrorist group on the planet.' Nikki undergoes two years training with Phoenix and the game begins with you taking her on her final assessment.

As you would expect Nikki has a range of weapons and gadgets at her disposal. Sniper rifles, fragmentation grenades, proximity mines, grapple hooks, fly cams and retina scanners are all available to use. Nikki also has a V.I.S.E.R. (Visual Imaging Sight Electro-Radiation) which is a thermo-optical imager that can see body heat, lasers and electronic equipment through walls, which makes it a very handy device to have. Nikki will occasionally have to engage in close combat and rather than simply sneaking behind an enemy and pressing a single button, you'll have to do a bit more work to skillfully take down an enemy. As you approach an enemy from behind an icon will appear to signify that you can attack. Pressing the X button will bring up a circle with directions. You must move the left analogue stick in these directions within the time limit to successfully take out the enemy. It's not a mind-blowing inclusion but it feels more interactive than simply pressing a button.

Controls are always important in a game but in a stealth game they are doubly important. On the whole the controls in Rogue Ops are what you would expect and are generally comfortable. In the usual way the left analogue stick controls the movement whilst the right analogue stick enables you to manipulate the camera. Your weapons are fired with the R1 button and your directional buttons are used to select your choice of weapons. Strangely enough there is no way of jumping and this does feel awkward at first. The X button is the action button and the action it performs is context sensitive. Placing explosives, climbing ladders, initiating close combat attacks and interacting with objects are all done with the X button. An icon appears when the use of the X button is required.

Whilst Rogue Ops is certainly in illustrious company amongst the other titles in the stealth genre it certainly isn't one of the better looking games in this category. Most textures look bland, the overall detail is slightly less than you'd expect from a modern PlayStation 2 game and the frame rate can take the occasional dip from time to time. That's not to say it's a bad looking game though and it has some nice effects such as when you use the V.I.S.E.R. for instance. The animations are generally OK although Nikki is perhaps not as agile as you would expect her to be (mind you neither was Lara Croft in the last Tomb Raider game).

It's great to see that Rogue Ops has been fully subtitled. The text is quite large and has been placed on a shaded overlay to maximize clarity. As a result you'll be able to enjoy everything that goes on in the game which is excellent. The stealth genre is one where the ability to hear is more important than any other and there can be the odd difficulty for deaf gamers. Take security cameras for instance. A hearing gamer will hear the whirring noise that they make and will be forewarned of their presence. A deaf gamer will first encounter a security camera when it comes into their line of sight and as a result you are at a disadvantage. It's not a major problem though and taking things carefully with stealthy moves such as peeking around corners can definitely help negate the disadvantage to some degree. You have various devices to help you detect the presence of enemies and the mini-map will also show their locations in some instances.

We said, when we reviewed Mission Impossible - Operation Surma, that although it didn't have the depth of Metal Gear Solid 2 or Splinter Cell, it was still an enjoyable game. The same can be said of Rogue Ops. It's not the greatest stealth title of all time but it's no disaster either and it comes across as a solid effort. Fans of the stealth genre will definitely feel that it's money well spent.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10
Rogue Ops offers another solid stealth title that fans of the genre should appreciate.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The game is fully subtitled but deaf gamers will have to take extra care in some situations.