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mikeyed avatar 1:34 AM on 02.01.2010  (server time)
Review: Global Agenda Starts Tomorrow

This is kind of a strange position I've fallen into. I was tempted, but never really thought I would buy this game. What actually happened was that I started talking video games a lot with a guard at the book store where I work at part time. He's a big TF2 buff and tipped me off about the Steam holiday sales. I bought The Killing Floor and Crysis for less than half the price of Crysis at its regular sale price (Steam commercial!) Then he kept going on about Global Agenda. His medic, apparently, could just run into a room, poison everybody, and they would drop like flies. I was impressed. That sounded really cool.

We talked about the game for the next few days, then finally one day he seems to be talking about it non stop. This, as I would soon find out, was actually a lead in to ask me, in exchange for a $25 Best Buy gift card, to purchase it and complete his team of four (necessary to make a good team for PvE.) Well, of course I took the offer, it practically cost me $20 (plus the 5 dollar markdown Steam already had on the game) to buy a new $50 game that sounded, from his description, to be pretty interesting. This was a pretty sweet deal in the end. Lastly, I also got the chance to get a taste of a game before it's official release (whatever the hell that means) like some kind of official video game journalist.

(I am currently planning to use the Gift Card for Mass Effect 2 as soon as I can get around to getting my ass to the local Best Buy.)

Ok, so all things are right in place for me... to do... a.. PREVIEW!!! Err, maybe it's technically a REVIEW?

...of Global Agenda.

So apparently the world of Global Agenda works like this: two factions, similar costumes, genetic cloning, robots, and 3rd-person, jet-pack driven multi-player firefights. It's pretty sweet. I'm not certain as to how in depth the single player really can be, since from what I've experienced so far, the MMO elements are all just an interactive world meant to get you into the action. It's kind of like if Shadowrun wasn't just a bunch of capture the flag/attrition matches, this is what they could've broken up the action with between matches.

There are multiple aspects to consider however. You can craft your weapons and armor, yet one needs to finish the PvE missions that a team of four complete together fighting in randomly generated maps of varying difficulties. The AI for the PvE missions is pretty good from what I've experienced. There's not a lot of stuttering and they aren't distracted by teammates when they have you on the run with low health. They also jump over obstacles and use cover when they've spotted you. It's not a walk in the park.

So once you've played through these missions enough, accrued some valuable experience and crafting materials, let the customization begin! Oh damn, well the servers went down soon after I had collected enough in order to craft any items at all. Well I guess I can tell you from what I saw, you can get some pretty interesting equipment, an elf hood, or some cool spiky armor. You know, rad shit.

Outside of PvE, you can participate in Mercenary PvP missions, which are variations of action/shooter multi-player game modes in which you can earn a tidy sum of denero or, just the old-standard, experience points. Yes, that is what makes this similar to most MMORPGs. The ability to customize your character in manner not too much different from progressing through a Diablo 2 skill tree. You can also allocate a limited amount of points to improve your devices (weaponry, explosives, and other basic items) to specialize your character to even greater heights.

Take my level nine (of the ten levels available before its official release) recon for instance (sn:Bad_Horse). Using his class skills I've made it so he takes less damage while cloaked and can move on the ground fairly quickly, so as to ensure he can catch up to you, stab you in the back, and fade into the shadows while taking minimal damage in the process. This makes him basically like a Spy from TF2, but, mind you, he also has a jet pack. He can also take a stim pack that allows him to jump to a rooftop in a single bound; and he has a sniper rifle. This makes things much more interesting.

I have to say I enjoyed my short but exciting dip into this new MMORPGFPS thing. It's kind of thrilling. It combines elements of TF2, Diablo 2, Shadowrun, and Everquest/WoW. It's actually quite a brave undertaking by Hi-Rez Studios. However, they're not all that innocent, since they are planning to make some features available by subscription.

The central feature being the Alliance versus Alliance portion of the game called Conquest. It's basically like General Chaos. Two competing factions, players can choose to join either one, fight to control certain territories. I never actually got around to participating in this part of the game, but it is apparently free to all players until March first. So if you're interested enough by the game's basic components, then now is the time to buy in order to test its expanded features without incurring any monthly penalties. There are some additional features that will apparently be available with the Conquest, you can check them out on their Web site. They also have their payment model available on there as well for when the Conquest mode kicks in.

I myself plan to never actually pay for Conquest. While I do enjoy the game's combat system and the character customization, I really don't think the game's that revolutionary to warrant the constant purchase for just the opportunity to play in guilds. Truthfully, it's basically a game that I wouldn't own if I hadn't been paid by my friends to play it. With that behind me, I do think it's a fun and refreshing entry from a young gaming studio into the fairly stale world of MMORPG-styled gaming.

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