We get a look at a near-final build of Midway's psi-powered stealth action game.
We've had the chance to see Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy on and off over the past few months as the game has come together. While the game was originally slated to ship toward the end of last year, Midway delayed the game till 2004 and rechristened it with its present moniker. The ensuing time has allowed the development team to craft the game into what's looking like a solid and engaging experience that offers a surprisingly fresh twist on the now-familiar stealth action genre. Our latest look at Psi-Ops comes from the nearly complete versions for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox that offer a much more realistic idea of what to expect from the actual game.
For those who don't know, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy puts you in the role of Nick Scryer, a psychic soldier tapped to infiltrate a terrorist organization called The Movement, which has its own psychics that are bent on doing unpleasant things to the world. While the setup is pretty typical of most action games, Psi-Ops takes an interesting detour from the very beginning. As mentioned, The Movement has its own psychics, which means that in order to get Nick in with the evil cadre, some work has to be done so he'll be ready for the undercover mission. Whereas a standard undercover operation would require a soldier to change his appearance and make up a fake history to infiltrate the average organization of bad guys, things are much more complicated in Psi-Ops. Nick's brain has been given an extreme makeover to make him immune to psychic probes through his memory that would reveal his background. While this is perfect for covert ops, it can be a little inconvenient, as evidenced by the start of the game when you don't know what in the hell is going on and you can't access any of Nick's powers.
The early part of the game will find you getting brought up to speed on current events by a mysterious woman who turns out to be there to help you, but your memory problems make it a little difficult to trust anyone. Once you get into the swing of things and start remembering your purpose, the game's focus shifts to dealing with The Movement and its nefarious plan. The story will unfold via a mix of computer-generated sequences, real-time cinemas, and in-game telepathic conversations that will let you and Nick know what's going on.
The game's structure and gameplay is deceptively straightforward. The levels are laid out in a linear mission-based fashion. At the start of the game, Psi-Ops is a perfectly serviceable third-person action shooter. Nick has a respectable array of moves worthy of an aspiring action hero. You'll be able to run, dive, and sneak like a pro. However, the game really opens up once you get your psi powers. You'll earn your mental arsenal, which usually comes with a shiny new power, as you progress and regain pieces of your memory. The plot device conveniently adds a tutorial on your new powers into gameplay as you "relive" Nick's memory of training.
You'll gain six powers in all: telekinesis, pyrokinesis, mind control, mind drain, remote viewing, and aura view. Telekinesis and pyrokinesis are handy offensive abilities that let you pick or set fire to your foes. Mind control lets you possess an enemy's body. Mind drain lets you siphon off an enemy's psychic energy when you need a boost to power your own abilities. Remote viewing lets you look into locked areas you can't physically enter. Finally, aura view lets you see afterimages around you, which can often provide tips on where to go or alert you to potential hazards. Individually, each power has a very specific use that you'll need to master in order to be successful in your mission. However, the real appeal of Psi-Ops lies in mixing and matching your powers. For example, you can set a crate on fire with pyrokinesis and use your telekinesis to pitch it at enemies or to throw explosive canisters near them.
- Release Date: February 2005 (EU)
- Release Date: Jun 14, 2004 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.
- Release Date: Canceled (US)