Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma
Talk about an impossible mission who thought developer Paradigm could craft a compelling game out of a license that no ones cared about for three years? Well it has, partially thanks to the way the Ml franchise naturally lends itself to the stealth genre, and partially due to the fact that it features an intriguing stop-the-evil-corporation story (told through some nice cut-scenes). Operation Surma really nails the Ml feel with the ubiquitous theme song and the dangling high-wire scenes. Adding to the slick atmosphere are solid controls and a bushel of useful items such as a waspsized camera and a sonic imager that lets you see through walls. The game, however, is not without holes. When you trip alarms, enemies start popping out of nowhere, and the skydiving scenes are more frustrating than thrilling. Also, the games over-the-shoulder shooting style never feels as responsive or quick as it should. And though most of the game is well balanced, the last few missions become unfairly hard. But all these problems are easy enough to overlook. A fine effort, indeed.
Like the flicks, Mission: Impossible gives secret agent Ethan Hunt a gun and bagful of gadgets, then sics him on a supervillain. The spy toys are truly useful, and inventory management in Operation Surma is a breeze. Sidekick character Luther provides objectives and advances the story without breaking that cinematic vibe. Excellent. And yet, its nearly impossible to sneak around without getting caught, and shooting or stealth-killing a lot of identical guards gets old, especially on your fifth or sixth attempt at a level.
Unlike the crappy Ml games of years past, this one doesnt self-destruct in five seconds. After years outta the gaming spotlight, Ethan Hunt takes on another impossible endeavor with all sorts of gad-getry that even 007 would envy, and youll put each one to good use. And I gotta disagree with Mr. Ford about the missions. I found most objectives even the skydiving bits to be quite entertaining. Still, some work remains, and next time Mr. Hunt could use cooler stealth attacks, less cumbersome controls, and brainier enemies.
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Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is a study in mediocrity. There's nothing especially wrong with this overhead action game, it just does little to separate it from the endless stream of Game Boy Advance action games that pour out of the gaming industry on a monthly basis.
The game's interface is lacking in any sort of bells or whistles. Cut scenes are simple images with text, the intro is down right boring and the plot nearly non-existent. Gameplay, too, lacks anything to make you want to rent, buy or keep this game.
The main character, Ethan Hunt, gets a grand total of one gun to take out the relatively uniform enemies. He can also make use of a take down move, but it's so hard to use effectively that you'll often find yourself running and gunning for most of this game. There are a number of gadgets that Hunt can use to get around cameras, guards and the other mostly uninteresting puzzles in the game, but it just wasn't enough to keep my interest.
The graphics are decent but nothing to write home about. Hunt runs around the mostly flat screens relatively smoothly, but that's likely because his image is pretty simplistic. Both the music and sound effects manage to be even less impressive than the gameplay and graphics, with lackluster ambient noises and forgettable music.
Don't bother with this game; the developer didn't seem to really try and neither should you.
If there's one thing fans of Mission: Impossible should know, it's that few things are impossible. The good guys win, the bad guys loose, and the world ends up safe time and time again. It's almost anti-climatic. But the newest Mission: Impossible game, Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma, may really have an impossible task: rising above mediocrity. The Mission: Impossible franchise has a blemished past, stemming all the way from the original NES. Is Operation Surma facing the impossible task of taking the Mission: Impossible franchise towards success it deserves? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this review and find out.
Missions: Impossible - Operation Surma is a perfect example of a cookie cutter stealth action game. All of the gameplay elements from superior games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid somehow found its way into Mission Impossible, but the elements that made those games such a success lost its way in the translations. Levels are linear and constructed so that it feels like the environments were built around the stealth mechanics instead of it being the other way around. Because of that, sneaking around doesn't feel too satisfying since it is usually painfully obvious what you need to do to complete levels. Couple that with the shoddy AI and clunky combat mechanics, and it's obvious why Ethan Hunt won't be in the same league as Sam Fisher and Solid Snake this time around.
Yet somehow, MI can still be enjoyable. Nothing is executed especially well, but all of the elements come together to create an enjoyable experience if you can keep an open mind. A lot of its success is due to the fact that things rarely get tedious in MI since the gameplay will change up so often. With interesting gadgets, varying mission objectives, and an incredible skydiving level near the end, Mission: Impossible has done the impossible by being an enjoyable title despite the many problems that stem from its core gameplay.
Sorry ladies, Tom Cruise doesn't make an appearance in Operation Surma. In his place is a generic Tom Cruise look-a-like with a gruff voice that's all too similar to Sam Fisher. Regardless, Ethan Hunt is rendered really well, with detailed textures and fluid animations, and is the highpoint of MI's visuals -- everything else is quite average. It tries to integrate light and shadows like in Splinter Cell, but it doesn't come close to matching the precedents set by Sam Fisher and crew.
Operation Surma AKA "I liked it better when it was called Splinter Cell" doesn't get any credit for doing anything new, nor does it get any credit for doing anything especially well. It does get credit, however, for being a decent stealth game despite its shortcomings. Stealth action fans looking to keep their skills sharp until the next big thing arrives might want to checkout Missions: Impossible - Operation Surma. For everyone else, it's a rental at best.
Games made from movies frequently run into difficulties for many reasons. Often there's a rush to get the game out near the movie's release date generating poor quality or the wrong genre is chosen failing to capturing the essence of the movie. Mission Impossible: Operation Surma isn't affected by either of these common problems as the genre is perfect for Mission Impossible and it's not tied directly to a movie release but unfortunately still falls short in a number of key areas.
Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is an action based game where objectives are given and generally need to be accomplished without being detected. Cameras, guards, and trip wires all need to be constantly avoided which isn't too difficult a task however as you have quite a list of gadgets at your disposal. If you happen to trip an alarm, you either turn it off at the numerous alarm control stations or restart at the last check point. It's almost effortless as trial and error quickly resolve any problem areas and with the linear type of gameplay the challenge is minimal.
Controlling the camera isn't as straight forward however and getting semi-comfortable with it may take some time. Although it tries to follow you for the most part, it often gets a poor angle requiring you to adjust it. Changing the angle isn't difficult, just cumbersome as it could be much smoother. You do get the hang of it but when the action picks up, getting it right sometimes is a bigger challenge then the goal you're trying to achieve.
Other then the camera, the graphics give a respectable performance with decently detailed characters and environments. What's represented in the audio is acceptable but further effects for this type of action game would have gone a long way. Effects such as more subtle footstep noise from soldiers as they approach for instance would have made it more fun to play.
Mission Impossible: Operation Surma probably isn't going to satisfy those who are looking for an in-depth stealth game requiring strategy and calculating maneuvers. If you're a die hard Mission Impossible fan looking for simple gameplay to enjoy the plot line, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma will satisfy. Otherwise you might want to rent it first.