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Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror Review
developer: Kamehan Studios
P200, 64MB RAM, 8MB Video Card, 120MB HD
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Apr 24, 02 (released)
|» All About Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror on ActionTrip|
Ah, the eternal conflict between terrorist and anti-terrorist. Will we ever see the end of that? Hell no! It's always fun to get together with your mates and spray each other in a shower of bullets coming from your beloved AK-47 or M4...
Follow your team mate and be careful.
And when you go to Spain, don't forget to bring your piece with you.
We find ourselves in times when multiplayer FPS titles a la Counter-Strike are simply appearing out of nowhere. As we're swept away by the tide of these games, we realize that none of them managed to surpass that special gameplay feeling which makes CS so poplar. Does Tactical Ops do that? Of course, it doesn't. But, it does have some advantages mind you; which may offer you a few pleasant hours of multiplayer fun.
In the past few days, the ActionTrip staff was caught in a whirlpool of multiplayer titles. Conveniently enough, we get to compare some of these titles to what we've tasted in Tactical Ops. After playing the game in ever possible mode and testing out all of the available maps (altogether 35), there's really not that much that contributes to the gameplay. In every multiplayer title, the essential ingredients to a fun and exciting gameplay are four things: cool weapons, realistic in-game physics, high-quality graphics, and well-organized maps for players to compete in. In this case, we're looking at a one maybe two-out-of-four shot.
Comparison wise, I'll have to get into a few interesting details we encountered while playing multiplayer of the latest BETA build of Raven's Soldier of Fortune II. In the SoF II multiplayer, there are several simple solutions that make the gameplay more dynamic and the whole atmosphere a lot more exciting. For example, you don't have to bother with purchasing equipment at all. Instead you can select a weapon you wish to use and it will be available the next time you re-spawn. Whereas in Tactical Ops, you have sort of a CS-style purchase mode, which underlines the motto "double your cash - double your fun." Basically, with large amounts of cash at you disposal, the number of weapons in your munitions store quickly grows. Still, that greatly depends on how you do out there on the combat field. The more opponents you ice, the more cash you get. Hence, the game in all honesty revolves around collecting cash and annihilating as many enemies as you can.
The game is often dynamic, especially when there are over 10 players engaged in ruthless combat. This means that the whole game generally boils down to killing every member of the opposing team and that really makes the appointed mission assignment seem pretty damn futile. How does this happen? Quite simple really. Each map has a meeting point (a spot where the teams usually gather and skirmish it out), which often results in a massive slaughter and frequently takes the focus off the missions objective. While we're addressing the issue of map objectives, it is important to note that the game lacks a wider variety of tasks. The rescue-the-hostages scenario, as well as defuse or plant the bomb situation turned out to be quite dull and routine. So, the game might be dynamic and exciting, but alas those feelings do not last and players are sure to become bored after a couple of matches. In a nutshell, there's no sense of team unity (like in Global Ops) and the game sometimes misinterprets the notion of the term "Tactical" - you know just rush out there with a HE Grenade in your hand and be ready to detonate the hostile team. I guess that's why they call it Tactical Ops then. The point is that the team divides into two groups: one should distract the opponents, while the other should carry out the appointed task. That sounds great, but how well does that recipe work in actuality. It mostly doesn't. It's like I said before: players will hardly ever get the chance to actually save the hostages or complete any other given objective. Much of the feeling of teamwork is lost in such a gameplay concept.
On the plus side, Tactical Ops has a wide range of light and heavy weapons for players to try out. As you'd expect, the Terrorist have their own arsenal (Uzi, AK-74, SG while the Special Forces are equipped with standard military anti-terrorist gear. In short there are, over 27 weapons for you to use. Well, that's just dandy, but does that help the gameplay in any way. Hm, maybe just a wee bit. If truth be told, they could've put in 277 weapons and that wouldn't alter the generally short appeal the game possesses. Also, when fired some of the weapons seem to lack realistic recoiling (a few machine guns, the AK-74, and so forth). This makes sniping a lot easier than one would imagine, and if the player positions himself right, he can collect quite a lot of frags. Other standard close-range weapons were also included and appear to function properly - these are SMG's like the BW SPS 12 and the MP5 SD. Next to that there's a nice and satisfying choice of guns (9F2 Glorietta, Black Hawk, Raging Cobra, the GL 23, etc.), which all work pretty well.
Not only do you lose blood, but your greens will fall out too.
Ooops, did I do that?
If you didn't manage to find enough friends to play with, the bots can provide with a satisfying challenge. Yet, sometimes even if you maximize the performance of their AI, they still might lag behind, get stuck in corners, and often die in a pretty stupid way. To give you an example of the AI, I'll have to explain a few awkward situations that occurred while we were playing. One time I was well hidden in a shadow in the roof, ready to snipe any oncoming enemies. As soon as a bot laid eyes on me, he took me out before I could blink. In a different situation, when I played the game alone with friendly and unfriendly bots, one of them just stood there in the open and waited for me to get near him and blow his brains out. In short, do not expect to have much of a blast while you playing alone with AI-controlled players.
Like any game that uses the Unreal Tournament technology, Tactical Ops looks pleasing to the eye. Almost every map we've had the opportunity to test seems to display a nice array of details. Some of them were quite imaginative (personally, I enjoyed the snowy section of Glasgow and the one called November_Rain). The models are also richly decked out with ploys and textures, even though their movement appears somewhat peculiar (even comic at times). The animations can be amusing, especially when you see your teammate bow in salute to a frag kill he just made. Weapon models and most in-game objects show some fine shading effects and reflections. In the end, the visual appeal of Tactical Ops might be one of its rare advantages. Sadly, even here the developers have made a few slip-ups. For instance, when you shoot at walls and other objects, that will naturally leave bullet holes; but, at closer range, you can see straight border lines surrounding the holes. A similar effect is caused by foot prints in the snow, blood traces on the ground, and so on.
The sound effects are agreeable. Each map has a particular tune to follow the action, and all the weapons produce unique bursting sounds that are very much like those in real life.
The main problem with Tactical Ops is that it can capture the player's attention, but not for long. You won't find any vehicles to operate, no particularly interesting mission scenarios, and very little display of actual teamwork (more like a reckless massacre, rather than a genuine terrorist or anti-terrorist assignment). And since we're all used to playing Counter-Strike, I don't think that this game (which frankly, borrowed a lot of ideas from CS) will stand up to meet today's standards. Global Ops, Quake III, Soldier of Fortune II (multiplayer), have all much more to offer. Tactical Ops may be a fun ride, but it sure as hell ain't worth the 30 bucks you'll have to pay in order to get your mitts on it.
Good graphics for a multiplayer game. The UT technology did well once again. A commendable variety of weapons. It's fun...
... but alas, only for a short while. A small choice of missions and the whole game often ends up in a pointless blood-bath. The maps need more fine-tuning in terms of meeting points... And more multiplayer modes (CTF, Assassination, etc.).
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