Review: Psi-Ops The Mindgate Conspiracy (PS2)
The marketing blitz that started just a couple weeks before Psi-Ops hit store shelves had me puzzled. It seemed to me this game came out of nowhere and, with the amount of flash ad banners I was seeing on my favorite gaming sites, I knew something was up with this title. After only 15 or 20 minutes of gameplay, I knew exactly what the buzz was about.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (POTMC from this point forward) puts you in the shoes of Agent Nick Scryer, a soldier captured during an assault by a man known simply as The General. He and his henchman, all psychically gifted, are on a rampage to… well, don’t let me spoil the story for you. Reason being is, the story is actually not too bad. There’s sufficient plot twists and it unfolds nicely throughout the game. Not too spoil too much, the character you play has lost his memory and, as the game progresses, he begins to not only remember past events but also his psychic powers re-awaken as well.
They didn’t call is Psi-Ops for nothing! The psychic powers in this game are really where it’s at. Sure, there’s gunplay and some minor problem solving but, all in all, the game revolves around you using these psychic powers to not only take on enemies but to get things done as well. You’ll have such powers as telekinesis, mind control and pyrokinesis (the ability to set things on fire with your mind… yes!). Let me give you an example of a sample encounter:
You enter a room with several crates and boxes. Three enemies are scattered throughout. You grab one with your telekinesis power, lift him in the air and pull him toward you. As he floats toward you you pull out your semiauto rifle and fill him with lead. As he floats his body goes limp. Another of his buddies steps out from behind a crate and you, still floating your enemy, fling the dead soldier at his buddy. They both collapse to the floor. You run over and, using your mind drain power, lift the soldier that was just knocked to the floor by his dead comrade, in the air and drain his mind of all power, filling your psychic powers back up as you do so. The fun result of using the mind drain power is that, once they’re empty of mind power, their head pops like a balloon, spraying blood and brain matter. Fun! But wait, we forgot about the other guy… or did we? He’s at the other end of this large room, unaware of what’s going on. You sneak up on him and, using mind control, take over his body. You then walk him up to an explosive barrel, pull out his gun and, standing right next to this lethal storage device, empty bullets into it, causing the barrel to explode and kill the final soldier in the process. Doesn’t that sound like fun? This is just one example of many different avenues you can take to complete objectives.
Because of the psychic powers you possess, the game has immense replayability. I found myself playing through the same maps over and over, using different powers in different ways on different enemies and objects just to see how things reacted. POTMC is powered by the Havok physics engine and, believe me, it shows. Enemies realistically go limp, objects are movable and convincing. If you kill an enemy, you can use your powers to grab his weapon off the ground and pull it to you, hence filling up on ammunition from his weapon.
You’ll have some sneaking (very little, actually) but overall the game is about all-out combat with bullets (both lead and mind). The environments and varied, expansive, and quite gorgeous. I found myself in such locales as enemy military bases, high atop large city buildings (it’s fun throwing soldiers off a 100 story platform!) and deep underground bunkers.
The enemy AI is pretty solid, although I did encounter a soldier or two who just stood there, facing the other way as I killed his fellow opponent, who died screaming right next to this guy watching the security monitor as if nothing happened. This might have only happened once or twice though, so don’t let that taint you.
The multiplayer that exists is forgettable. Don’t pick up POTMC expecting a fulfilling experience with a buddy. Get it for single player only.
All in all, Psi-Ops is way, way fun and very original. I lost many an hour to this one, just sitting there, tossing guys around in the air and lighting them on fire with my mind. Worth the money? Oh yes. Well worth it.
FINAL SCORE: 86/100