Class-based, intense shooter action in an mmo, all with no elves!
Posted 3 years ago By - Curtis McDonald
The massive online game market is a very competitive place. As such, development studios need to offer something well crafted and unique to be able to make a splash and development and improvement need to be continuous to hold on to those subscriptions. Hi-Rez Studios have come up with a unique combination of 3rd person shooter and MMO in Global Agenda and they’ve given players the freedom to choose the level of depth they want to see in the game by offering a subscription based, persistent world with strategy elements called Conquest mode.
Global Agenda borrows from a number of different genres and sources and certainly seems to offer a lot of content. The optional subscription based Conquest mode establishes a model that will no doubt be copied by many future massive online games. While ultimately, the success or failure of Global Agenda will rely entirely on the number of people playing it, how the game initially measures up will determine how many people will even try it in the first place. Read on to get our opinion of this fast paced shooter from Hi-Rez.
A PvE team takes on the Commonwealth
Taking place sometime after the year 2150, Global Agenda is set in a dystopian future where wars and natural disasters have opened up the doors for a tyrannical world-wide government, the Commonwealth. Only the Agencies, para-military organizations made up of genetically enhanced super soldiers, stand against the Commonwealth. The Agencies are also competing with one another for territory and natural resources in a sparse world.
Global Agenda begins with the ubiquitous class selection screen and, in this case, you chose between the Assault, Medic, Robotics and Recon classes. The Assault class is the slow powerful bugger who brings the really big guns, the Medic has the ability to heal team-mates with his health-gun or health grenades and buff team-mates once his weapons get upgraded, the Robotics class can build shields, turrets, robots and health generators and a skilled Robotics agent on your team is a thing of awesomeness. Last, but not least, is the Recon class, who is the invisible guy you only see when he is stabbing you in the back. The character generator lets you choose your gender and gives you the ability to customize your agent. Customization options are fairly robust for those who are willing to invest the time detailing their character. You wont have much option to customize your character in game with armour so now is your chance to make a statement.
After creating your character, you start a tutorial level where agents are trying to bust you out of a Commonwealth lab. This tutorial teaches you all the basics and controls, but they’ll feel familiar to those who have played team/class based shooters before. The controls are good and fairly intuitive plus, you have the option of mapping actions to two keys so, if you’ve got a mouse with lots of buttons, you can really take advantage. Once you’ve completed the tutorial mission, you end up in a hub city where you can access all the other parts of the game. You can do your shopping, check your mail and enter the various types of missions available to you. In the hub you will get a very strong MMO vibe as the UI and menus are all very typical of the genre, though not as intuitive as some so they will take some time to get used to. This is also true of the character levelling and skill systems. There are likely some who will find them a touch obtuse to begin with. You also have access to crafting facilities within the hub, assuming you have blue-prints and the right kinds of materials.
A medic keeps the assault agent’s health up so he can take away the enemy’s.
But enough of that, “what about the action” you ask? Well, Hi-Rez studios should be quite proud of their first born; Global Agenda is a really well put together, fast paced, tense shooter. Regardless of the game mode, Global Agenda will keep you entertained and Hi-Rez has set the game up in such a way that even the skeptics will be drawn deeper and deeper into the game.
There are 3 main modes, player vs. environment (PvE) where a team of 4 agents head to a randomly selected level, take on some Commonwealth baddies and ends in a boss fight. The PvE missions become a bit repetitive but they are also quite intense, so you likely wont notice it too much. Check points are also few and far between, which means you will often find yourself running through half the level to catch up to your teammates after getting killed. The PvE missions are really quite fun but require a lot of teamwork once you get beyond the beginner levels.
Next up is the regular player vs. player mode which can best be described as being something akin to Team Fortress 2 in nature. One thing that was really surprising was how well the game is balanced in terms of classes. This alone made the PvP experience really fun. The games are played out on a number of different maps and the game modes range from the unique to the tried and true. Also, and I’ve said this before about other games; if you add a jetpack to anything it just becomes a lot more fun. This is true too in Global Agenda, as jetpacks are an intergral part of the game and are really fun as well.
The final mode is the subscription based Conquest mode. Conquest is the main attraction in Global Agenda and this is a game mode that really is directed at the more hardcore MMO gamers. Conquest requires that you also be part of one of the many in-game player created agencies, so this mode is not for the loners out there. Conquest adds a major element of strategy to the game and allows agencies to claim and control territory on a persistent world map. Your agency can attempt to conquer another agency’s territory or your turf may be attacked but only at certain times of the day, but you will still need a relatively large and active agency to ensure proper offence and defence. That being said, Global Agenda is likely to turn off more casual gamers who cannot commit to a specific schedule for their gaming activities. Victory will also depend on how well stocked you are going into a battle and how well you have defended your own turf and this relies on what resources you are collecting and making use of on your held territory. The Conquest mode adds a really interesting twist and a lot of depth to the game and if Hi-Rez sticks to their plan of continually updating Conquest mode, they shouldn’t have trouble keeping people paying their monthly subs.
At its heart, Global Agenda is a simple, class based 3rd person shooter but Hi-Rez has done a hell of a job in adding innovative bits and bobs to the formula to create a solid massive online game.
Graphics and Audio
Graphically, Global Agenda can certainly be ranked near the top of the charts for massive online games. If found the smoothness of gameplay especially impressive right out of the box. This is my first experience with an MMO that didn’t have some server or lag issues near launch. While Hi-Rez has gone with a stylistic approach to graphics, it works very well within the dystopian sci-fi setting they have crafted for their game.
The same can be said for all the in-game audio. While it is certainly not terribly innovative as far as audio is concerned, the sounds fit the settings, from the blare of an Assault’s minigun to the hum of a Recon’s stealth field, the sounds are futuristic and appropriate. The voice acting that is there is also of a professional quality
Repairing turrets under fire is either really brave or really dumb.
Naturally, this is really the most important category for any massive online game and, indeed, the one that developers gear their games towards. Since these types of games tend to sacrifice story and graphics for the ability to be played online by many players consistently for years, replay value is paramount. In the case of Global Agenda, everything is in place to make this a game that will be easy to pick up for years. From the free-to-play gamers who just want to jump on for a quick PvE mission run or a team deathmatch, all the way up to the dedicated Agency CEO who fully intends to rule the world and destroy the Commonwealth, all of the pieces are in-place.
And while some may complain about the Steam client being a requirement for Global Agenda, I, for one, am quite happy to see this being the case rather than yet another publisher-specific downloader. Steam should also ensure that patching is fast, easy and reliable. Global Agenda has the potential to become a lasting game and should fill its own niche since there are currently no other games like it on the market. Only time will tell if the game resonates with gamers enough for it to last, though. For the flexibility alone, Global Agenda is worth picking up and I hope to see this become a big success for Hi-Rez.
The class-based shooter gameplay core of Global Agenda is well balanced, fast-paced and, when it comes right down to it, really fun. After that, everything else is bonus. Global Agenda isn’t a perfect game, and those who aren’t interested in the community aspect of massive online games will likely loose interest pretty fast but there is a awful lot of potential in this well put together debut from Hi-Rez. Hi-Rez should also be applauded for utilizing a system that allowed optional subscription service and I hope to see this adopted by more developers and publishers in the future.
+ Great balanced classes and a lot of great game modes
+ Graphically a top notch massive online game
+ Optional subscription and conquest modes add a hell of a lot of extra value
- Scope of conquest mode will likely turn off a lot of casual gamers
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Release Date : 2010/02/01
System : PC
Publisher : Hi-Rez Studios
Developer : Hi-Rez Studios
Category : MMORPG
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
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