Shadow Ops: Red Mercury (Windows)

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Written by  :  Depeche Mike (17562)
Written on  :  Mar 14, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars

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Hollywood production is right...

The Good

Well certainly the production is solid. Graphics are very clean and detailed. The levels are believable and often feel larger then what you see. Excepting maybe two levels you don't often feel like you're playing on a floating platform in air. There's real depth and the layouts of spaces is logical as if they were borrowed heavily from existing spaces. The sounds are fantastic. Sure they're for the most part not imaginary or made-up sounds as would exist in a fantasy or science-fiction game but the quality of the sound library feels like you're watching a top-rate Hollywood flick right down to the surround effects. The voice acting is well executed as well as the motion capture performances. No-one is over-acting in voice or body. Oftentimes in motion capture performances the players over-emote and no evidence is found in this game. The AI is impressive at times as well but only the enemy AI. Your allies just kinda do their thing regardless of whether or not they're in your way. and the enemy of course does make some boneheaded moves but I suppose that could be a way of boasting that the game is "realistic" as well.

The Bad

As good as that may make it sound I felt compelled to write a review because I think the things that matter are the things that suffer the most in this game. I ended up giving it a misleading rating because the sound and graphics rated so high but gameplay? story? just overall getting it to run? yeah... not so much. First of all the press for the game boasts of Hollywood production but let's remember that Richard Donner, John McTiernan and Paul Verhoeven all make or have made Hollywood films as did Michael Bay. That doesn't mean they're equal. This game would probably fall under the Michael Bay style of game making if it were to be compared to a movie. Sure it's pretty and sounds good and makes a great trailer, but after the credits roll (if you can stomach it to that point) you're left feeling empty and a bit bored. Surprisingly bored, since this is supposed to be an action game right?

Let's talk about the gameplay first. This game is a first person shooter and first person shooters have slowly evolved as far as interactivity goes for the most part since the days of Wolfenstein 3D. Nowadays most FPS's (as they like to be called) borrow many elements of strategy, role-playing and even simulation type of games.

This game however is about as interactive as Doom. You have team-mates you have no control over, you can't talk to them and you can't even protect them. Their lives are inconsequential. The environments are believable but what you get to do in them are quite old-school. You can shoot some things over but most things not really. All you are allowed to do is shoot and shoot and occasionally open a door or "activate" bombs that have already been placed. Why can't I pick them up and place them? Who left this bomb here? Why aren't they helping me at all fight these hordes of terrorists and people of questionable morals? And that's another thing; for a good movie you need character motivation. If you start believing that the bad guy is not that bad and the good guy is kind of a show-off jerk-off , unless you wrote it that was on purpose, your movie will be in trouble. That's exactly the feeling left about halfway through the game. I thought who are these people I'm attacking. I'm in Syria and I'm shooting guys left and right. I don't know who they are and I never believe that the people I'm killing are "bad guys". Not only that but the character you play is the biggest, cockiest, prick you ever meet. I hate ME!

The story? Well that's supposedly written by "Real Hollywood Screenwriters" or some such bullshit. Well if you take the time to look them up you'll notice that they both worked on some straight-to-video nonsense. Also one of the "writers" is better known as a stunt-man. But alas it's not fair to pick on the screenwriters since the story is where the problem lies and boasting that the screenwriters are professionals is a good way of trying to hide that the story is written by a bunch of producers and developers. Otherwise known as NOT WRITERS. That's like the same warning bell as a movie that claims:

"From the producer of-"

"Er that's usually the guy who overlooks and sometimes does nothing but get funding for the movie"

"Well yes but he helped produce this and that-"

NONSENSE! You'd be better off boasting the Editor since that probably had more to do with why you liked a movie as opposed to the guy who might've just paid for it.

Anyway, the story is very bland and formulaic and isn't something to be boasted at all about. Yes it's topical. BFD.

Oh and it crashes.


The Bottom Line

Overall I'd warn people about the game but use it as a superb example of mis-marketing a game. Boasting about stuff is ok but you've gotta deliver the goods. When all is said and done and you've spent a lot of money on the game but have created something unoriginal. It's like a pave turd. It's expensive but still kinda stinks up a room. I'm glad I only spent about 2 dollars on it.