Game: "Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy"
System: PlayStation 2
Genre: Action
Published by: Midway

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 6/10/2008

Review: If I haven’t mentioned it before, then let me said it once more: ragdoll physics is hands down one of the greatest innovations in gaming. Forget falling backwards and dying, your enemies will be doing cartwheels once you toss a grenade at their feet. And Midway managed to come up with a great new way to exploit ragdoll physics: psychic powers.

You’re Nick Scryer, an undercover psychic operative who’s so undercover that he had to have his mind erased. Fortunately, they have an injection for that, but it takes several hours and many important plot points to fully restore your memory. But that’s ok, because the first thing you remember is the best part of the game: telekinesis.

You get access to a handful of different psychic abilities over the course of the game, but none are more useful than or as entertaining as telekinesis. Sure, you’ll encounter a box puzzle or two, but for the most part, a “box puzzle” means you’re trying to figure out which box would be best for you to pick up and hurl at a witless guard. Then again, maybe it would be faster to pick up the guard instead and drop him off a cliff, or slam him against the walls a few times, or toss him at your feet so you can take him out execution-style. Yeah, there are some other direct abilities like pyrokinesis, but none can hold a candle to telekinesis.

The other abilities do, however, allow you to take a different approach to each combat situation you walk into. Sure, you could pick up a soldier and toss him into his buddies, but what if you mind control’ed one of the soldiers, used him to kill his buddies, and then made him do a swan dive off the edge of a building? What if you lit one of them on fire first, and then tossed his flaming corpse at his friends? The possibilities are where the game really shines.

The only part I was disappointed with, other than the shortness of the game, was the last power you get: aural viewing. It basically allows you to see hidden things. That’s it. Every other power has some kind of practical purpose that lets you put a new spin on combat, but aural viewing is only used in the final portion of the game, and not for any of the normal combat fare. The developers had to throw in numerous heretofore unseen (no pun intended) elements that can only be overcome with aural viewing, and even then all it involves is moving around something or using it to solve a puzzle. It’s pretty weak, especially considering it’s the last power you “awaken”.

Aside from that, though, the game is a blast. You don’t get too involved with the story thanks to some bad writing and voice acting that ranges from “mediocre” to “strained grunts all the time”, but it’s still worth playing, if for no better reason than for how quickly you can get in and start throwing things around.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Sapper Whacker
Jun 10th, 2008, 04:02 PM
MAN! it's good to finally be a member after reading this site for three years. ANYWAYS, I really agree with this review. I've recently played the game, and there is nothing better to relieve steam than setting people on fire and saying "HAHAHAHA! That's for hitting me on the heels with your cart in the supermarket!". Ragdolls help the game so much to make it entertaining. On the whole, spot on review!
taco loving zombie
Jun 10th, 2008, 04:03 PM
the theme song of this awesome game still resounds in my head "with my mind"
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Jun 10th, 2008, 04:54 PM
Ragdoll physics are really fun, in this game or any (launching your guy out the windshield in GTA is always a good source of amusement). And taking over enemies' bodies = complete win.

Glad to see a review for this one, as (if anything else) it could mean that a Psychonauts review is coming soon (pretty please?)
Sapper Whacker
Jun 10th, 2008, 05:00 PM
If you want to see a horrible game, rent "Driver", or as pretentious people refer to it, "Driv3r". It's really just a cheap retread of GTA, where, if you run a traffic light, cops get out of cars and shoot you. Also, driving on the wrong side of the road evoke police helicopters. Also Also, they've introduced undercover cops, or as I refer to them, "F*KING CHEAPSHOTTERS". Seriously, one out of every 3 people is an "undie" cop and seems to have an uzi and a handgun somewhere in that trenchcoat, or skintight "whoresuit".
Suicidal Chipmunk
Jun 10th, 2008, 11:13 PM
I reakky really really realy love this game, I've owned it for a few years now, and i agree completely with everythung you've said. One other thing that annoys me are those third level soldiers in the mech suits...you know, the ONLY enemy in the game that can't be lifted with telekinesis.
Jun 10th, 2008, 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by JJ_Maniac View Post
If you want to see a horrible game, rent "Driver", or as pretentious people refer to it, "Driv3r".
they're not being pretentious they're talking about the third installment in the game, also known as Driver 3 stop being a dumb
Forum Virgin
Jun 11th, 2008, 04:02 AM
I have owned this game for some years now, but let me tell you that the ability to mind control a guard, have him shoot his comrades and then having him get down on his knees and kill himself never gets old. Can´t help but grin with satisfaction every time I do it.
Scruffy drunken Brit
Jun 11th, 2008, 05:36 AM
I never got round to playing this game, but ragdoll physics are indeed magnificent.

I was playing Max Payne 2 and trying out a free sampler CD I'd got with a magazine. I was on the level at the construction site when I got shot to fuck and fell to my death smashing on many metal girders in slow motion while some miserable as fuck song by, I dunno, My Dying Bride was playing. Not only was Max's ragdoll slow motion plummet funny as fuck, but the miserable falling to death song was just the icing on the cake.
Funky Dynamite
Jun 11th, 2008, 12:03 PM
Originally Posted by JJ the Jetplane View Post
One other thing that annoys me are those third level soldiers in the mech suits...you know, the ONLY enemy in the game that can't be lifted with telekinesis.
You actually could lift them, but you had to set them on fire first for some reason. Still a pain, though.
Sapper Whacker
Jun 11th, 2008, 05:45 PM
To executioneer:
I meant the people in the game stores who say to me "Have you seen this new game, Drthreever?" I meant people like that but you're right, I coulda been more clear
Token Bleeding Heart
Jun 11th, 2008, 09:40 PM
Yeah, the gameplay was absolutely epic, but the characters, plot, and dialogue sucked terribly. To the point that it was funny. My personal favorite part was tossing the technicians or scientists or whatever the blue guys were into the incinerator in the beginning.
Big Red Cat
Jun 11th, 2008, 09:46 PM
Great game. Excellent use of ragdoll physics. Needs a sequel BADLY.
Wrench Jockey
Jul 9th, 2008, 09:00 AM
Outstanding game. Probably, in my opinion, the biggest problem with the game would be the co-op, though. Honestly, what were they thinking, making one person move and the other shoot/ use psi power?