The genre of stealth is becoming more and more crowded these days. Everyone wants in on Sam and Snake’s action, which who can blame them these games kick ass when done properly. The latest entry comes from Kemco…oh my word I know what you are thinking not another Batman Dark Tomorrow!! Relax my friends this game is a far cry from that atrocity but it is also years behind old Snake and company. There are plenty of great ideas in here along with a pretty good lead character, the problem lies in the fact that the game never really advances beyond average. Let us take a full dive into Kemco’s (yikes) latest stealth game, Rogue Ops.
You are Nikki Connor, an elite military soldier trained for stealth combat and terrorist elimination. The game starts you off with the death of your family and a recipe for revenge. Yes we have all heard this before and Rogue Ops is not going to win any awards for it’s dramatic storyline but it does set the backdrop good enough to not become cheesy. The game is divided up into eight missions across the globe each one with several objectives Nikki must complete. Taking a nod from Splinter Cell, Rogue Ops is a game chock full of trial and error. You will die a lot in this game and with a lack of mid level save spots this can become frustrating. Another downside is that some objectives are not presented very well. For instance one mission has you searching for a gun, ammo, and a sample of handwriting, no where in the mission does it even give you a clue of where to find any of them. Nikki is also a context sensitive girl, she can only perform moves when it is deemed necessary. Grabbing ledges, crawling through vent shafts, and shimmying pipes are all done with one button press which can be nice while at the same time keeping the game from ever giving you that freedom of say Splinter Cell.
The graphics are a mixed bag, while not entirely ugly this game is also miles away from any other game in it’s field. The level architecture is excellent but everything else seems to be a victim of low poly counts and horrible clipping. On the plus side the frame rate is rock solid and the lighting can impress at times. Each of Nikki’s moves are nicely animated so the realism is certainly there however the enemies are as stupid as rocks sometimes so more often than not you can slip by them without ever having to enter into conflict. Like I stated earlier the game never seems to give you enough info on how to achieve each goal. This is where the trial and error portion of the game really takes over. Thankfully there are checkpoints or this game would have been out of my XBox before the end of level one. You will die, many times especially later in the game simply because you have no clue what to do until you play it through a couple times and try several different options.
Now so far you are certainly thinking that I hate this game, well that is far from the truth. In fact I enjoyed it very much and I will tell you why. It was fun, plain and simple. Not once did the game have me not wanting to play it, could be that I am a sucker for stealth games but I truly did enjoy it. It also doesn’t hurt that despite it’s petty flaws the game plays pretty damn good. Taking back to the FPS console control style where one stick moves and strafes and the other looks really works for this game. Nikki also dons Sam’s aiming style with the over the shoulder cam. Shooting around corners and sniping are made easy and fun with the excellent control scheme. I do miss being able to do whatever I want whenever I want to but the game managed to be fun without the freedom so it’s all good.
What it all boils down to is will you enjoy this game? My honest opinion is to rent it, this game had me interested from it’s inception and I can’t say I was disappointed. Fans of the stealth genre will appreciate the ideas they were trying to introduce, perhaps a sequel will make Nikki a household name. The XBox version also supports the headset communicator for weapon switching which is more of a novelty than anything but it is appreciated. With a lifespan of about eight to ten hours and some generic visuals and sound Rogue Ops will turn off the mainstream, but for those that dig deep enough into it will find a solid stealth action game with some minor setbacks. All in all not a horrible game just an overly average attempt. Rental recommended.