Rogue Ops Hands-On

We go hands-on with this stealth action game from Kemco on the E3 show floor.


One of the most prominently displayed games at Kemco's E3 booth is Rogue Ops, a stealth-based action game that is in development at Bits Studios, the maker of Die Hard: Vendetta. In Rogue Ops, you play as Nikki Connors, a former Special Forces agent attempting to settle back into a normal life with her family. Unfortunately, Nikki's husband and child are mysteriously murdered in an explosion caused by Omega 19, an evil terrorist organization. As Nikki begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding her family's murder, she learns that her husband once belonged to a secret organization known only as Phoenix. In order to learn more about her husband's past and eventually get to the terrorists behind her family's death, she joins Phoenix, once again becoming a covert operative.

Rogue Ops' gameplay can only be described as a hybrid between Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider. The game relies heavily on the element of stealth, but rather than just requiring you to avoid enemies, it will force you to dispatch certain foes to progress through its levels. Nikki will have a variety of ways to sneak around, and when you eventually get close enough to an enemy, a stealth combo can be performed. Combos are executed by pressing a series of directional buttons in the right order and time, and when done right, Nikki will dispatch the enemy in one of 10 different ways. If you fail to perform the combo correctly, however, the enemy will shake you off and be able to alert additional enemies. Killing an enemy in this fashion will avoid leaving a blood trail, which could be discovered by the other bad guys roaming the area. Puzzle solving will also be key to your progression through the game, with many varying types of puzzles and problems throughout every mission.

Nikki will also have a number of weapons and gadgets to aid her in her quest. There will be around seven or eight different types of weapons in the game, including a silenced pistol, an assault rifle, and various types of explosives. Other devices and gadgets at Nikki's disposal include thermal camouflage, which essentially makes her invisible to enemies, and a fly cam, which is a robotic camera that looks and acts like a small fly, giving you the ability to see what's going on in other, less accessible parts of the level.

At its current stage of development, Rogue Ops is visually pleasing. The overall style of the game is reminiscent of some of the more recent Tomb Raider games, but with a significantly more polished look. The game is animated quite well, and the various combo attacks all look very impressive, with Matrix-style effects and X-ray shots of bones breaking in an enemy's body. Though none of it had been implemented yet, Rogue Ops will feature a hefty amount of voice work for the various characters Nikki will encounter throughout the game.

On the whole, Rogue Ops is shaping up to be an intriguing game. Its stealth elements are well implemented, with enough action to keep you actively interested, and its plot and storyline are well designed, keeping you guessing as to exactly what is going on around you. The Xbox version of Rogue Ops will also feature Xbox Live support, including voice commands for switching between weapons and devices and downloadable content upgrades. There was mention of possible upgrades for the PS2 and GameCube versions as well, but nothing specific was confirmed. Rogue Ops is set to hit store shelves in the fourth quarter of this year.

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