Shadow Ops: Red Mercury
In a world with Half-Life, Quake, and Halo, it's difficult to appreciate the good points in lesser quality title like Shadow Ops: Red Mercury. Stunted gameplay and lackluster story, paired with some good excitement, and AI that can only be described as dumber than a doorknob doesn't make for a good combination, but there's been far worse in the history of First Person Shooters.
The main thing that I think this game does right is to start you out right in the middle of a massive combat that leads to a rather impressive explosion near the very start of the game. Many of the gameplay problems that Shadow Ops: Red Mercury suffered on the Xbox are mitigated by playing the game on a PC, as now it's really easy to control every bit of your gameplay. You'll only get three weapons in each mission, and sadly, you can't actually pickup enemy weapons inside the game, meaning that you'll need to conserve your ammo between pickups.
The most annoying part of the game is that the AI is dumb as a post, which means to balance that, it's been given excellent positions that can get some really cheap shots on you when you aren't being incredibly careful. Fortunately, with the benefit of PC controls for an FPS, ultimately the game's difficulty progression is much, much easier.
Still, Shadow Ops: Red Mercury isn't what I'd call a really high quality title, and you can easily find something better for a full priced title.
Download Shadow Ops: Red Mercury
Fast paced, driven with excitement, even these elements cannot save a game without good gameplay. Shadow Ops: Red Mercury, Atari's latest shooter, puts you in the shoes of a highly trained military operative, set to save the world from nuclear disaster in the form of the Red Mercury weapon. With a simple plot to put the action in drive, you're given weaponry, and unleashed it upon the enemy.
The first thing I noticed was the nature of the introduction levels, high combat with a sprinkling of intense danger. It's not however from an actually frenetic combat, but from an AI that can only be described as 'stupid beyond belief'. My teammates were skilled in small unit tactics, modern firearms, and stepping in front of my line of fire. Had they not been invincible, I'd have killed my entire team several times over for their incompetence. Add to this the enemy who, while possessing brains smaller than a pea, regularly manage to cap me for a significant amount of damage. This is all thanks to a system of placing and facing the opponents so that each encounter with them puts you into an ambush, where the first few shots are likely to hit you. Forget moving carefully, you'll need to reload and then remember where they appear in order to really get ahead. The stealth levels are particularly infuriating as this very same AI requires that you kill every enemy in the stage to do really well. The good news is that since they're all psychic and more than capable of summoning an infinite spawn of fellow soldiers, should they find you.
On an A/V level, Shadow Ops: Red Mercury isn't that bad, but I didn't like the way any of the SFX balanced with the music or dialogue. At times I had to keep altering the levels of each to avoid blowing out my eardrums or to hear a friendly shout advice. Some of the levels are designed very beautifully, particularly in the beginning, but there's a great deal of simple 'you've seen it before' graphics.
In closing, Shadow Ops: Red Mercury could've been a good title if it'd been tweaked more, especially in paying attention to the AI driving the opposition. But without that love, this is just another 'seen it 15 times this year' title. Not worth looking at unless you're really into this style of game.