Game: "Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy"
System: PlayStation 2
Published by: Midway
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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