Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
|Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
|Thursday, August 12, 2004
Psi-Ops is a new and innovative game because it taps into something that has never been seen in most other pervious games. In Psi-Ops you have the power to control many different things with just your mind. You can do things such as disembody yourself and fly around the corner to see what lies ahead, use your powers to move objects (including people) from a distance, and even take over the minds of enemy soldiers.
The story of how this all happened to you is nothing really unique but it quite interesting to play though to see what will happen next. When you first start the game you find out that you used to work for a secret branch of the government known as the Mindgate department. While you are working in this branch of the government you start on a mission to stop a psychic terrorist group know as the Movement, but first you have to go undercover which involves changing your identity and even erasing your knowledge. Then before you know it you are captured by the Movement and you are left with no knowledge of who you are or why you are there.
Soon you meet up with a women that says she will help you out, but she stabs you with a needle and injects an unknown substance. This substance actually helps you regain your knowledge of who you are as well as your ability to use psychic powers. Throughout the path of the whole game you will begin to remember certain powers and then be able to use them.
Although this game is classified as a third-person-shooter it is very much like a strategy game because their are many elements in the game that are similar to puzzles that make you think a little in order to get to the next part of the mission. Also your primary weapon in this game is your psychic powers and not your assault rifle, although you can use only guns it is much easier to use a combination of the two.
When you first start playing the game you have absolutely no psychic and the game can be quite boring until you start remembering your powers. The first part of the game you can only use guns which makes this part of the game a normal everyday third person action game and is quite boring. There are only a total of four guns including a pistol, a shotgun, assault rifle, machine gun, and a sniper rifle. However not to worry, as time goes on you will be taken though different tutorials that will show you how to use your new powers and they are very fun to use and will bring the game to life.
The one thing that sets this game apart from all the other third-person-shooter games is your ability to use psychic powers. There are a number of different things you can do with your mind and as you progress in the game you begin to remember more and become more powerful. Each power is extremely useful for eliminating enemy soldiers and can also be helpful in completing your objectives.
The first power that you learn is called Telekinesis (TK) and it allows you to move objects with your mind. This is mainly used to kill off enemies but can also be used to do things such as maneuver boxes to reach something or anything that will help you complete your mission. The different options you have with just this one power is really endless. You can through a man off of a ledge and watch him fall or through a box into him and then watch him fly off the ledge, or if you really plan things out you can throw a box at him watch him fall hit an explosive on the ground and fly off again. The coolest part of the telekinesis power is that you can actually pick up objects that you are standing on. This might not sound that useful but if you come to something like a big gap in a bridge if you are able to find a box or even some sort of flat debris you will be surfing through the sky in no time.
The second power that you will remember is called Remote Viewing (RV). RV allows you to come out of your body and basically fly around to see what lies ahead. Another great thing about RV is you can also fly right through doors so you can see what is in the next room before entering it. RV is very useful and can even help you complete parts of missions. For example, in one mission you need to get a password off of a computer but the computer is behind a locked door. You are able to go into RV fly though the door and read the password on the screen. Then all you have to do is find where to use the code and enter what you saw on the screen. This power is also really useful if you have low health and need to scout out where enemies are in the upcoming parts of the level so you know exactly where they are and can eliminate them quickly.
The next power that you will learn is called Mind Drain (MD). This power does pretty much what the name of it is, you can drain energy from living or dead humans as long as they still have a head. Once you have drained the energy from somebody's brain your Psi-meter will go up allowing you to use more of your own powers.
Another fun power to play around with is Mind Control (MC). With this you can switch your player and start playing as an enemy soldier. Another great thing about this is other enemy soldiers do no know that you have taken control of the persons mind. So if you find yourself in a sticky situation with lots of soldiers firing at you this could become very handy.
If you have always been told not to play with fire don't worry because now you will get your chance. One of the last powers that you will learn is called Pyrokinesis (PK) and it allows you to throw fire. This is probably the best way to defeat an enemy, light a box on fire with PK then us TK to lift the box and hurl it at the unsuspected soldier and watch him fall to the ground. You can use a number of these different powers at the same time to make the game more interesting and fun.
The last power that you will learn is called Aura View (AV) and it lets you see things that normally can not be detected by the human eye. In AV you will be able to see things such as whether a guard or soldier is alert that you are there, or it can also help you to find clues to help complete your objectives.
The biggest let down in this game is there is no multiplayer. I mean it would be extremely fun to go head to head with a friend and use all these wonderful powers against somebody I know or even somebody online. I think this is the biggest thing that held back the game from being its best and would have been worth the extra time and effort to integrate into the game. However there is a co-op option to the game but it does not allow you to have two players. Instead you and a friend control the same person but manage different actions. Player one can only control the player's movement and the camera and player two can only control the weapons. I think it would have been much neater if you where able to have two players playing the same mission instead of just two people controlling one person.
The graphics and mainly the way that you can interact with many objects in the environment is truly amazing and innovative. If you have have ever seen some of the preview movies of Half-Life 2 it is very similar to how you can interact with the environment. If you decide to start punching out a file cabinet it is just not going to stay attached to the wall or if you accidentally shoot a fire extinguisher it will explode. Just about everything in all the levels you can interact with.
There are also quite a few movies throughout the game that explain the next part of the story and set the stage for the next mission. These movies are pretty much always filled with some sort of action and look graphically good and very detailed. Instead of just throwing you into the next mission and have someone talk to you and tell you what just happened you know now exactly what is going on and what you need to do because of these videos. It is a great part of the game and is interesting to just watch the movies.
Also most of the levels in the game are very complex and detailed. In one of the stages you are in some sort of large missile silo with multiple floors. The room is shaped like a doughnut and there is a small walkway through the middle and an elevator on one of the walls. The greatest thing about this level is watching something like a box or some tubes fall from one of the top floors and either hit a walkway on its way down and bounce down to the very bottom floor.
Overall the controls are quite easy to get the hang of quickly and are basically like any other third person shooter game. I was also surprised how well the controls functioned when doing things like Telekinesis, where you can move an object in the air in a three dimensional space. It is very easy to move it in any direction as well as up and down and even throw the box if you wanted to. However on the other hand while playing I experience some problems with the way the player jumped and often times I would end up falling down a long distance and loosing some health. It is not that big of a problem in the game but it does happen sometimes and can get frustration after it happens a few times. Another downside of the controls is that the camera would sometimes get stuck or in a place where you can't really see what is going on, which can get frustrating as well.
Here is a list of the controls used in gameplay: