Rogue Ops Updated Hands-On Impressions

We check out an updated version of the tactical stealth action game starring femme fatale Nikki Connors.

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At a recent Nintendo press event, we took a look at the newest version of Rogue Ops, Kemco and Bits Studios' upcoming stealth action game. The game casts you as Nikki Connors, a former Green Beret who has voluntarily reentered service as a special agent after losing her family to a terrorist attack. As Nikki, you'll have access to a large assortment of gadgets and weaponry as you battle through a linear progression of missions in which you'll fight against the terrorist threat. Of course, as in any good stealth game, you'll also be able to make secretive, silent kills, and in this respect Rogue Ops differs a bit from other entries in the genre. When you get within range of an unsuspecting enemy, a bar will appear over his or her head and slowly begin to fill. The bar is divided into thirds, and how full the bar is will determine how many directions you'll have to quickly and accurately press on the controller to successfully pull off the stealth kill. If you botch the directional sequence, you'll also botch the kill and be forced to deal with an alerted, and angry, enemy. This mechanic adds an extra skill requirement to the gameplay and seems to fit in well, since it's paced pretty quickly and doesn't bog things down.

The biggest change we noted in the new version of Rogue Ops was a pretty thorough reworking of the controls. Previously, strafing was mapped to the right analog stick, and turning left and right was done with the left stick (which also controls moving forward and backward). Now, the controls have been changed to what's becoming known as the "Halo-style" control scheme--the left analog stick controls forward and backward movement and strafing, and the right stick controls the camera, which effectively also controls turning. Thanks to this new scheme, you can now turn without having to stop running, and you can also look up and down without switching to the free-look mode. This simple reworking of the controls makes Rogue Ops play much more smoothly than it did previously and was surely a step in the right direction for the game's design.

We ran through the first area of the game, which requires you to stealthily plant three bombs inside an estate. Rogue Ops uses an icon system overlaid onto the game's backgrounds, and these icons provide you with visual cues for various actions you can take. For instance, an icon will appear on a section of pipe that you can climb or an enemy that you can search; in short, the icons make items and background elements that you can interact with more obvious. Indeed, we were able to get through the mission pretty well thanks to these clues. Graphically, the game seems to be shaping up pretty well on the GameCube, and we imagine the aforementioned control changes will also apply to the forthcoming Xbox and PS2 versions. All three versions of Rogue Ops are scheduled for release in November.

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