Tactical Cyber Advantage
Developer: Octeto Studios
Publisher: Games Operators
Release date: TBA
Cyber Ops is a tactical game where the player becomes the supervisor of an intervention team of agents. The 90s in this game are everywhere and it isn’t hard to notice: everything here has that green-hacker look, with things going red when something isn’t quite alright.
The watchful eye
The game is set in a near-future where a country named Baltia gained its freedom after a long war. Unfortunately, other invisible forces are in play and the recently-gained freedom is at risk. This is where the Geist division comes in play: a high-tech unit of operatives created to protect the country by unknown potential threats.
It’s easy to notice how much all of this is similar to settings like Ghost in the Shell’s and, honestly, fans will surely have something made for them: besides the artificially-augmented agents, in fact, hacking plays an important role in the game, and cameras, doors and even enemies won’t be able to stand against the Geist squad.
My terminal is green
As already stated, the player will have to guide the operatives squad through different levels, avoiding enemies, turrets and cameras, or eventually disabling them. Often, before completing a section of a level, it’s necessary to hack on or more terminals in order to gain access to different assets in that section. Here, the only issue I have with this game arise: most of these critical objects are locked behind doors that can be unlocked only by reaching another terminal. This mechanic is used a lot and this is noticeable from the very beginning: unfortunately, it seems to be used to extend the duration of the levels, often dragging the player back and forth, rather than to incentivize the discovery of alternative paths. This is the biggest and only flaw within the game right now and can be particularly frustrating when united with the checkpoint system that resets the current section at each game over.
While hacking is pretty straightforward, a couple of buttons and you’re in, keeping your team off the radar, while also choosing the safest route AND hiding your hack trace can be difficult, especially during the most convoluted actions. These usually happen when something goes wrong: an operative gets spotted by a turret, a camera, or a previously unknown enemy terrorist turns the angle and notices the team. Normally, though, the game is best consumed stealthily, since there are only four operatives per mission and their life pool is limited.
Operatives can also be augmented (it wouldn’t really be cyberpunk if it wasn’t possible). Weapons and implants can be equipped in order to increase the stats of the agents and give them new abilities.
Upon release, the game will feature more than six hours of missions, a complete story about political intrigue, and a team management system to the likes of XCOM. Other than that, multiple ways will be used to represent hacking in the game, hopefully keeping the mechanic fresh throughout the game.
Cyber Ops is a solid game capable of becoming a great one: the atmosphere it’s spot on and the gameplay, besides the backtracking problem, feels just right. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the final release and get those six hours of missions under our watchful eyes.