Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy Review
Psi-Ops is a third person action shooter that is different than any other shooter that you’ve played before. Sure, it has some light stealth and puzzle elements and plenty of shootouts with well-armed guards, but what really makes it stand out from the crowd is that it gives your character psychic abilities. And after you see how much fun it is to dispatch enemies with the power of your mind you’ll wonder why it took so long for a game like this to come along.
In Psi-Ops you are agent Nick Scryer, a member of an elite covert agency comprised of operatives with psychic, or psi, powers. Unfortunately the head of the agency begins to enjoy the taste of power a bit too much and he leaves the agency only to resurface as the leader of a terrorist organization known as The Movement. Nick is picked to lead a unit against The Movement, but the psychics within that organization would be able to detect another of their kind so Nick has his memory wiped before the mission. In spite of this precaution Nick and his team are captured and thrown into prison. Enter Sarah, a double agent who frees Nick from his cell and who periodically drops by to aid Nick and help him regain the memory and use of his psychic abilities.
|You gotta love telekinesis.|
Nick’s amnesia is a plot device used to give a rationale for not starting the game with a full psychic arsenal. The game cleverly gives you new powers during the course of the game as Nick’s mind grows stronger and he remembers how to use his powers. In another clever touch, gaining a power will spawn a memory of Nick’s training session with the power when he was a new agent just starting out. These flashbacks serve as tutorials in the use of each power and they give you way to get a feel for them and how they can be applied without the added pressure of being shot at.
You begin the game with a single silenced pistol and no powers which gives you an opportunity to get used to the basics of the game. You can try a stealth based approach, waiting for guards to turn and then sneaking up on them and knocking them down with a single blow. On the other hand, you can go for a more aggressive approach by engaging enemies in gun battles. Your targeting reticule will turn red when put over a target and you can lock in at the press of a button. These devices were probably added as it is trickier than it should be to line up shots. Even with this extra help it can be difficult to line up a head shot on a moving target as the target lock tends to latch on to random locations like arms and kneecaps. The enemy AI is pretty good and you can expect the enemy to make use of cover, call for help, and do a few of the other things that you’d expect real-life guards to do.