Why is it Sci-Fi MMO’s have to be set after the long awaited nuclear third world war? Why can’t they be set in a time of peace and prosperity, or at the very least on a Saturday night in the middle of Norwich, which is pretty much the same as World War Three, I suppose. Needless to say, the current offering of Global Agenda from Hi-Rez Studios is an MMO third-person shooter that offers an abundance of missions, a truck load of Sci-Fi gadgets and a healthy helping of well proportioned young ladies to feast your eyes upon. What more can any gamer ask for? And by the way, I’m being sarcastic!
The story takes place in 2155, which means I will be something like 182 years old, after a third world war. Humanity may have survived the apocalypse, but democracy has unfortunately gone the way of the Dodo. The majority of the world is controlled by the Commonwealth, an oppressive government hell bent on global domination and unfair taxes. They are at constant war against the few remaining sparks of humanity, independent factions who fight to free the people and do heroic things of that nature. However, the Commonwealth is ruthless and fighting it has become as difficult as licking your own elbow, so the free men and women retaliate by sending in elite troops of an advanced and hi-calibre design, well versed in hi-tech warfare and tactics and sporting well muscled and very well endowed physiques.
Pick your class of agent, be it he/she Robotics: able to deploy advanced stationary weaponry such as turrets or force fields; Medic: with the ability to heal those around you; Recon: lithe and deadly, with the capability to sneak up on the enemy to deal the killing blow, or Assault: big, hard and wielding nasty looking guns. Then it’s onto the usual hair colour, hair design, you know the drill by now. Once that is out of the way, you are blessed by a wonderful cut-scene detailing your escape from the giant test-tube you find yourself in and the first chapter of the story in the form of a nicely guided tutorial – if only everything in life was so easy!
Once the tutorial is complete, you find yourself in Dome City, the hang-out for the rebellion that also doubles up as a handy shopping mall for goods, weapons, armour and other bits and pieces to upgrade your character with. From there, you follow a set story line which will help to ease you gently into the Global Agenda world and level you up enough to deal with most of the NPC’s in the game world. And what a game world it is. It’s blooming huge! You are equipped with a basic gun, a sword, some armour and a jet-pack. Not the James Bond variety mind you. No, this lad is sleek and slender and can boost you from hill to hill over the deserted and war-torn terrain of the game world. Flying, or at least falling with style, is the best way to travel and will help you out of many scrapes with the unnecessarily violent locals that dot the landscape, but don’t worry, you don’t venture forth into the world unarmed and unprepared. The developers have gone all out to create the most bizarre and viscous looking weapons I’ve ever seen in an MMO, getting hold of them, is however, another problem.
Missions such as, ‘Kill so many robots’, ‘Destroy ‘X’ amount of robot ants’, and ‘Assassinate a high level officer’ all give you valuable XP points and, sometimes, an equipment upgrade. However, after a while, you soon become a bit bored with the run-of-the-mill, ‘Take out the chief of whatever sand-tribe’, or ‘Go and find someone who stands in the middle of the desert for no apparent reason’ missions, and you inevitably end up wandering aimlessly around the place. As the world is so big you can travel from one location to the next, zipping around on your jet-pack like some half-crazed jack-in-the-box and never really get involved in any actual scraps. Okay, you might occasionally come across the odd bandit here and there, but if you manage to conserve your health and energy levels then escaping them is fairly easy. It’s also very easy to level up as each mission can grant bucket loads of XP: Find a person = 500 XP, Kill ten easy to kill robots = 1000 XP. You will soon find yourself up to level eleven and sporting some half decent hardware. It’s usually at this point you will either come across the multiplayer feature, or the dreaded, ‘to continue you will need to pay a substantial amount of your monthly income to us.’ And you thought it was for free! Bless you.
Let’s start with the multiplayer, as that is something quite wonderful. Throughout the game you will find terminals that when accessed will allow you to choose from team PvP, Death matches, capture the area etc. All played in a variety of settings, from a an oil rig to the middle of the futuristic city-scape. The mutliplay is fantastic, frantic and flipping good fun. You almost don’t mind getting your butt kicked it plays so well, no lag, no cheating, just good fun.
The graphics are based on the Unreal 4 engine and, although it has a bad name for MMO play, it does a pretty good job in Global Agenda. The animations are smooth, the environments, although bleak and shrouded behind an apocalyptic feel, are well created and add to the appeal of the game. The sound and music are okay. A half-decent voice acting cast is employed and the effects are suitably Sci-Fi enough for even the most hardcore of gamer.
You can purchase the game in a one-off payment with no monthly charges. This gives you access to the game-world, all weapons, devices and a whole host of other goodies, or for something like £7.99 per month you will have access to the optional Conquest mode, which includes Alliance Vs. Alliance, a mail system, player crafting, additional customisation options and tons of other add-ons.
Global Agenda is an okay MMO. It’s well worth a look at, I would at least recommend downloading the free trial that’s on offer and seeing for yourself. If you can afford the Conquest subscription option and you love the game then great, but personally, there wasn’t much to do after a week’s worth of playing and it seemed like a very sterile kind of game. Still, to be fair, there have been some significant updates and more players are now online, therefore I’m going to raise my score from 6 to 7.
Global Agenda is available at retail stores and online at www.iceberg-shop.com/global-agenda.html.
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