Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
Sometimes, the best games aren't the ones that innovate or try something entirely new. Sometimes, the best games aren't the ones that have a major name behind it, whether it is a publisher, developer, or intellectual property. Sometimes, the best games aren't the ones with a ton of hype surrounding them. No, sometimes the best games are the ones that take an established genre and then twists it, creating something entirely new and refreshing. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, the newest action game from Midway, follows this path and comes out on top.
So what's the twist in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy? You're given special psychic powers, which let you perform incredible feats with your mind. On paper, it sounds kinda cheesy, but it works really well in the context of the game. At its roots, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy is a pretty standard mission-based third-person shooter. The Run-n-Gun missions aren't too varied and the level design isn't stellar, but they're entertaining enough. Really, though, it seems they were designed with one intention in mind: letting the player wreak havoc on the environments they're in.
Usually, wreaking havoc calls for explosions to satisfy the player's appetite for destruction, but this does it in a few different ways with the psychic powers. Perhaps the most notable one is the telekinesis power that lets you pick up objects, including enemies, and throw them around. It works so well partly because the controls are spot on: they're not so easy that it makes the game trivial, but they're intuitive enough that your psychic powers soon became your main source of attack. It also works so well because throwing around enemies like a rag doll is pure entertainment. All of the other psychic powers are integrated into the puzzles really well too, ensuring that you'll be using each one throughout the missions, and all the while it adds a bit of variety into the game. Unfortunately, Psi-Ops is a fairly short game, but there are enough unlockables to make it worth playing through a couple times. And really, screwing around with the telekinesis powers never gets old.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy won't be known for its visuals or audio, but they certainly get the job done since there's an undeniable polish to them both. There are some nice effects mixed in that make the sometimes plain environments a bit more pleasing to look at. Likewise, the voice acting is all well done, but it's too bad that's it's all for a fairly weak story.
Midway has really made a complete turn-around with their last few titles, and it cements their transformation as one of the premier publishers in the biz. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy came out of left field, a relatively unknown game with a sketchy premise, but turned out to be a fantastic title that's well worth the time.
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This game is my latest addiction. It is basically a straight forward military tactics third-person shooter with one twist, and it's a doozie- your character has major psychic abilities. I think that's why I love this game so much; there is nothing as fun as telekinetically grabbing a bad guy from across the room, lifting him into the air ala Darth Vader and slamming him repeatedly into a wall until he goes limp. I guess I must have a God complex, because I love the omnipotence of this game.
In the game you play Nick Scryer, an operative for a secret government agency who has immense psychic abilities. You're thrust into the thick of things after having a deliberate mind wipe. After being imprisoned, it's up to you to take out the bad guys from the inside. But there's one problem - you don't remember how to use your abilities or that you even had them. As the game progresses you abilities return one by one, making you increasingly stronger. It's a great concept and works well to slowly introduce your assorted psychic arsenal.
Although the game has impressive graphics, a real physics engine that has bodies flopping all over the place and a good plot, it's really the abilities that make this game a keeper. All said you end up with five abilities, here's a run down:
- Telekinesis allows you to lift object and people with your mind, you can also do cool things like lifting the object you are standing on and tele-surfing
- Remote viewing allows you to see through doors and spy on the bad guy from afar
- Mind Control allows you to take over another person (for instance you can take control of one bad and kill the other bad guys in the area and just walk your "puppet" into a nearby lake or spinning turbine to finish him off)
- Mind Drain allows you to suck the psychic ability out of a person with deadly consequences
- Aura View allows you to detect the recent past (for instance you can see old writing on the wall)
- Pyrokinesis lets your create instant fires - fun stuff
The game lets you utilize the powers to wipe out enemies with ease, but more importantly it uses the powers as necessary to solve the plethora of puzzles in the game. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy ends far too quickly however, taking up a mere 15 or so hours to complete, and unfortunately there's no multiplayer action.
Despite its relatively short shelf life, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy is a definite keeper you need to play and once you start you won't be able to put down the controller until you've beaten it.