Rogue Ops is a new stealth action game from Bits Studios that draws inspiration from other stealth games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. Rogue Ops also brings a few mechanical innovations to the table, some of which are actually pretty well-thought-out and help ease the flow of the stealth gameplay. Alas, some of the game's fundamental components aren't as strong as they could be and end up detracting from the experience. Still, if you can get around the weaker aspects of the game, Rogue Ops should be a reasonably entertaining experience for stealth fans looking for their next fix.
The missions are extremely unforgiving, especially when it comes to getting caught by enemies or cameras.
You play as Nikki Connors, a formerly tough-as-nails military operative who tired of the frontlines and retired to family duty. After her husband and daughter are killed in an explosion set by terrorist group Omega 19, Nikki is left with nothing. To regain purpose in her life and to seek vengeance on Omega 19, she joins the covert ops group Phoenix. Nikki is a surprisingly blonde, surprisingly voluptuous woman who knows her way around a variety of weapons and can move through the shadows unseen. So, naturally, you'll be guiding her through missions that require her to get in, accomplish her objectives, and get out without raising any more alarms than she has to. The game has eight missions in all, and with no additional modes to play with, there's little point to playing the game a second time.
In terms of your everyday stealth game, Rogue Ops' mechanics are pretty standard fare. You've got a radar/map embedded in the HUD that shows you the layout of the grounds you're currently traversing as well as any enemies and security cameras, whose fields of view are represented by cones--MGS-style--that are in the area. You also have two inventories, one for weapons and one for gadgets. The weapons at your disposal run the gamut from such standbys as a silenced pistol and sniper rifle to less conventional fare, like throwing stars and a taser. On the gadget front, Nikki's pretty well equipped. You have a pair of highly functional glasses that let you see in the dark, let you see the heat signatures of enemies (even through walls), and let you locate hidden wires or booby traps. You can also use a retinal scanner to get a faraway impression of a subject's eye, which is handy when operating in a compound that uses retina recognition to unlock doors. There are a few other neat gadgets, like a stimulant that effectively causes time to slow down and a miniature, controllable spy camera that looks like an insect. Gear-wise, Nikki's pretty well covered.
Of course, a truly self-sufficient covert operative should be able to get by with nothing but her bare hands and her wits, so, as in other stealth games, Nikki can perform stealth kills by catching enemies unaware. Rogue Ops adds a twist to the stealth kill operation in that you actually have to expend some effort to successfully pull off the kill. When you sneak up behind an enemy, a meter will appear over his head that slowly begins to fill. Once you hit the kill button, you'll have to hit a series of directions with the analog stick, in a very short time, to actually kill the enemy silently. The number of directions you have to hit is dependent on how full the meter gets, so, in essence, the longer you can stay hidden the easier it is to execute the stealth kill. If you flub the direction presses, you'll botch the kill, and the enemy will be alerted to your presence. It's pretty cool that the game makes you do some work rather than simply awarding you a free kill, and the direction pressing has a little bit of a minigame-like feel to it.