Covert OPS: Nuclear Dawn
|Editor Rating:||6.8/10, based on 2 reviews|
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Covert Ops is probably best summed up as terrorist-action movie meets Resident Evil. So how does it fare in all the important adventure game categories: puzzles, combat and story? Unfortunately the puzzles are pretty lame--way too literal and usually too easy. The little tasks you have to perform to progress (find the key, put disk into computer, etc.) never get too complicated--you are usually only on one little errand at a time, without many items to keep track of. Combat doesn't take much skill either; you just face the general direction of the enemy and the game auto-aims for you. The biggest problem though, as usual, is the camera. Your view is constantly shifting and cutting to new angles, which is not only disorienting, but really gets in the way of the gameplay. Enemies and items are often obscured when the camera cuts, which leads to incredibly awkward situations like being shot by someone off screen you can't even see. But even with all these gripes, I'd still recommend Nuclear Dawn to fans of this genre. Maybe it's the Die-Hard-esque plot. Or maybe it's the graphics--it looks great, fully polygonal and yet still very detailed and varied (which is especially impressive since the whole thing takes place on a train). The few mini-games are simple fun, and the multiple endings and optional sections make up for the shortish length (5 hours or so). If you find the premise interesting, give CO: NO a try.
Overlooking the rather tedious battle system and annoying music for a moment, Covert Ops is a fairly decent adventure game. There are plenty of neat little features, like peeking through doors that are locked and a couple of mini-games. It also has nice-looking character models, a solid story and interesting level design (considering the game takes place on a train). The multiple endings are a nice touch as well, since games like this often have little replayability. But that darned clunky battle system. Since it's such an integral part of the game, it really takes away from the overall experience. And to make matters worse, the camera acts up sometimes.
It probably looked a lot better on the drawing board, but this shameless hybrid ripoff of Metal Gear and Resident Evil turned out to be a mediocre mess. Nuclear Dawn borrows things from both games, but has very little suspense, a boring environment (whoopee, explore the endless halls of a train!), and lame enemies. Visually, the game is pretty impressive--but you'll never get to see things the way you want to, thanks to the badly designed camera views. Not only do they make exploration frustrating in the claustrophobic train, but they often force you to shoot at enemies you can't see. At least there is one neat feature--the bathrooms are save points.
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You're one of the few good guys left on a train carrying enough nuclear bombage to destroy a city--and it's speeding toward European hot spots like Paris and Berlin. Worse yet, the French Ambassador and his family are being held hostage by Ukraina terrorists. Your job is to disarm the nukes, stop the train, save the Ambassador and take out a bunch of bad guys in the process. Piece of cake, right? Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn (known as Chase the Express in japan) plays like Resident Evil, with a lot more of an action-packed Air Force One-sort of style. There are bad-ass special ops enemies who wear night-vision goggles and carry AK-47S in almost every train car, attack copters flying around above, and various weapons and items to pick up (the selection screens are remarkably like RE's actually). The game is split up into 15 different areas--usually broken up into different train cars. Each car poses its own obstacles, whether it houses a group of terrorists, puzzles or other such things. Some cars have more than one level to work through. There are also four boss characters scattered throughout the game's levels.
Like RE, CO.-ND is filled with various puzzles you must complete to advance. Some are as simple as finding a code in one area of the game and using it in another, while others include figuring out a series of toggle switches. Unlike RE, CO:ND offers various mini-games to break up the action.
One of the most winning features so far is the game's non-linearity. Different tasks you choose to complete affect a situation later on. For instance, at one point you can opt to give a wounded ally your vest. If you do, he lives, and comes to your aid later. If you don't, he dies, and you have to take on the situation on your own. This branching-type story line allows for multiple endings. CO:ND also has various secret characters you can unlock depending on what ending you receive. These characters do not have their own special endings though. CO:ND is developed by Sugar & Rockets, one of Sony of Japan's internal development teams. They're best know for the Jumping Flash games.