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Global Operations Review

publisher: Crave Entertainment
developer: Barking Dog Studios
genre: Action

PIII 500, 32MB RAM, 16MB, 800MB HD
ESRB rating: M

release date: Mar 25, 02
» All About Global Operations on ActionTrip

Before we go into any specific details we have to get one issue straightened out immediately. All gamers who wish to get their mitts on Global Ops purely for its single-player features should keep their money and spare themselves the trouble. It is important to emphasize what the developers, Barking Dog Studios (the makers of Counter-Strike Beta 5), intended to achieve with this title. Their goal was to enhance the multiplayer experience with a game that offers a mix of elements from mods like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. Moreover, the whole thing was seasoned with a character class system (similar to what was seen in TF), which is a really cool innovation for a retail product and is guaranteed to appeal to all players.

Global Operations elaborates an aspect of gameplay, which was a rather weak point in CS. I'm referring of course to teamwork. In order to achieve a specific goal, the most significant thing is to act as a team - this is something you and your teammates are going to have to grasp if you wish to enjoy Global Ops the proper way. CS often tends to accent the domination of individual combat, as opposed to effective collaboration with your teammates - although well-organized CS clans would tend to disagree. What makes Global Ops better than CS? Specifically, that can only be the fact that it features characters classes, which allow each player to try out a specific combat skill on the field.

The game features 13 missions all of which are designed in a specific environment, in which you're assigned to accomplish explicit tasks within a certain amount of time. Before each match, you get to select your character from a squad of six well-trained troopers - demolition expert, heavy gunner, commando, recon, medic, and sniper. Every one of these has his purpose in a mission assignment and each is equipped with a range of weapons with which he contributes to the ultimate goal. That can sometimes be assassination, or rescuing hostages.

Other times, you will simply have to protect a certain party or destroy a specified target, etc. Depending on the nature of the mission all players will have to focus on escorting their teammate who's best-suited for carrying out the job. When a bomb needs defusing, it is logical that you and your team make sure that the Demoman gets to the targeted object and deactivate the explosive device. The good thing here is that the player who controls the Demoman won't be treated to an effortless task. The explosive (the ol' C4) must be neutralized by carefully selecting and cutting the right wire - that takes time and precise action. In other words, players have to use extreme caution if they wish to win in such scenarios. The Demoman can also apply his explosives to blast through obstacles on the road and therefore create a shortcut to the objective.

Well, I offered you a slice of action involving the Demoman. However, other characters have a significant role and it will be equally exciting to play with them. I'm sure that many of you will find themselves satisfied in the shoes of the Commando. He is primed to deal with a wide range of weapons; from your assault rifles to heavy machine guns and even an effective grenade launcher (LAW). The main task of this operative is to provide coverage for other weaker units. Oh yeah, and don't think that choosing a commando will ensure you the most frags. It can be quite the contrary, because if you give your teammates proper backup as a Commando then it is likely that players using the Sniper or Heavy Gunner will have a lot frags also. The Sniper requires almost constant cover fire, since he's most often a sitting duck. As you'd expect it, the Sniper uses long-ranged rifles and is good for eliminating targets that are far-off. The Heavy Gunner is most adept with massive shotguns and the infamous grenade launcher. He is slow, but particularly lethal. The Recon turned out to be my favorite. Though he cannot use the AK 74 (*sob*), he carries a very helpful little radar that lets him know where enemy units are located. The Recon can then pass the info along to other players so they know where to expect oncoming opponents. In the end, we come to the Medic, who has the most important role in the whole game and it is thanks to him that Global Ops offers that prolonged gaming experience, which Counter-Strike lacks. After you've been revived by the Medic you can pick up your weapon and continue with the mission. This is why all players should protect this unit at all costs. If you do heal on time, then your character is automatically going to arrive with next chopper or truck. Which you have to admit is a lot better than having to wait for everyone else to be dead so that you can respawn.

Right, and now a few words about the weapons. What's praiseworthy here is that there's a wide variety of light and heavy weaponry. Next off, when using rifles like the AK 74, players have the option of changing the weapon's fire from full-auto to burst or single fire; something that was sorely missing in Counter-Strike. A good thing is that you can do this at any given moment during the match just by pressing the 'X' key (or whatever key you've mapped). Of course, every weapon when fired in full-auto mode is unlikely to hit a target from afar; and that means you're supposed to use short control bursts. Good job on the recoil there. However, at certain moments I found that hurling grenades is a bit too difficult (and I don't think that's because I'm used to the ones in CS). What happens is, when you throw a grenade it will sometimes land closer than you've anticipated, even if you did hold the mouse button for a required amount of time for it to land far off. This doesn't happen always, but when it does it can determine the course of a match - if you throw a grenade accidentally in the vicinity of your teammates for example... Other weapons, like the MP5KPDW and the infamous P90 have also been optimized well and they can be very efficient if used properly. Oh, and watch out when you use those machine guns with your Heavy Gunner, because you can carve your teammates if you're not careful. Overall, most of the weapons functioned acceptably and they were fun to use.

The graphics are not anything special. The walls, ground, and models are a bit deficient in texture detail, although generally when it comes to visuals, Global Ops has a few advantages over CS. What I liked the most are smooth animations of the character movement and some juicy effects that occur when you use certain weapons like flash and gas grenades. For example when an enemy hurls one of these at you, the screen will go all blurry since your character's vision is obscured from the poisonous gas. Also, using your night vision goggles and thermal vision has a great visual appeal.

Global Operations features some cool and very realistic sound effects. At first, I thought most of them to be unnecessary; until I realized that they contribute a lot to the gameplay value. For instance, if a grenade or a C4 detonates in your vicinity you will temporarily experience a hearing defect, which is manifested through a long buzzing noise, and also everything you hear around you (gunfire, radio communication) will be muffled for a particular amount of time.

All of the aforementioned things make this game one of the most enjoyable multi-player titles I've had the pleasure of participating in. And, if you manage to go through all of the connection demands and find a fully functional server, the game can offer you a thrilling multiplayer experience. Offline LAN matches are fun as well (and just so you know, every player needs a unique CD key to play). Intrigued gamers are going to be disappointed with the game's system requirements. While playing with a standard 56K modem things weren't so peachy, even though the dial-up modem response time was acceptable. Sadly, at times the game does have the tendency to lag. But, if you wish a fulfilling multiplayer match and a server that can withstand up to 16 or 24 players, while giving a satisfying performance (connection wise), then we strongly recommend you do not play without decent Cable and DSL connections. The developers suggest that only a T1 line has the capacity to hold servers for a larger amount of players on it.

Earlier, I thought Counter-Strike could never be beaten. In light of everything that I've experienced in Global Ops I think that in due time it will become one of the most popular online titles out there. Provided of course, people meet the severe connection requirements and that they manage to enter one of the 50 servers currently available. Also, it's like I said at the beginning, if it's fun you're looking for, forget about playing the game's single-player mode. The bots can be dim-witted, which is more than enough to ruin things for ya. They are liable to get themselves stuck in passages and can often loose their way while looking for the target. Furthermore, if you expect cover fire from them you will surely be disappointed (it is likely that they will be eliminated on the spot). So, forget about any miraculous AI, forget about single-player features. Just get together with your buddies and commence action.

Oh and incidentally, the developers have recently released a new patch (1.1) for the game, so you might wanna check out the official site for more info on that.


8.1   Very Good

I'll bet you thought nothing could be better than CS. Right? Well, this game succesfully fuses a wide variety of great weapons with character classes;

Too demanding for average systems and Internet connections. Lousy single-player gameplay, rotten bot AI. LithTech engine has its disadvantages.



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