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More Sci-Fi Titles
The fantasy styling of games such as World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online seems to have dominated the MMO market in recent years. However with the release of a slew of futuristic titles, like Earthrise and Jumpgate Evolution, due in the very near future that all looks set to change. Global Agenda is another MMO looking to offer gamers an alternative and it is billing itself as a futuristic spy-fi world.
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Global Agenda is all about action and it looks to be a third-person shooter with plenty of PvP combat. Set in the near future of the 22nd century the world is gripped in a battle between factions for control of territory, resources and technology. Large scale warfare has been consigned to history and instead covert agencies plot and scheme in a struggle for dominance. Nothing very inspiring about the plot but then the game is definitely focusing on action.
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Players can create an individual agent and sign up with the agency of their choice. They can acquire various pieces of advanced equipment to help them in the battle and there will be RPG style upgrades in the shape of bionic enhancements. The characters are class based so there are spies, medics and engineers amongst others. You can choose your own focus and develop your abilities with options like speed boost, super jump and holographic disguise. The technology available to you will become more impressive as the game progresses and the game-play teaser shows jet packs, laser guns and katana blades. Instead of ammunition or fuel you have a power meter which drives your weapons and equipment so it is easy to keep track of your status.
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It comes as no surprise that the lead designer Erez Goren is a big fan of Team Fortress 2 and the class system sounds very similar. He has developed the game at Hi-Rez Studios largely with his own money and they have used the Unreal Engine 3. The company was founded in 2005 and this is their first title although they did hire some decent industry talent and boast developers who worked on City of Heroes, Oblivion and Call of Duty. The game sounds reminiscent of Planet Side and the lack of involved missions or mythology may put some people off.
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The warfare is what Global Agenda is all about and the range of weapons and abilities for your characters is attractive. You can also fight month long real time campaigns on a huge board of hexagonal squares with agencies fighting for control of each region. You can build turrets to defend areas and co-operative attack and defence will be essential if you want to emerge victorious. The more territory your agency claims the more resources they have to spend on defensive structures and new technology.
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Graphically speaking the game looks decent as you might imagine of anything built on the Unreal Engine 3. Characters are chunky and clad in bio-armor, the weapons look typically futuristic with all sorts of colourful laser visual effects on display and the animation is fluid. The environments look uninspired, more pristine geometric levels with strategically placed crates not unlike Unreal Tournament or any other sci-fi shooter. In fact the game inevitably invites comparison with UT because it looks very similar.
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Will Global Agenda Succeed?
While Global Agenda is clearly polished and will certainly provide an alternative to your average slow moving MMO it doesn’t seem to be offering anything new. Why it expects to succeed where Planet Side failed is beyond me. The adoption of the class system which sounds like it has been lifted wholesale from TF2 and given a quick sci-fi makeover will not be enough to make this a big success. Shooters don’t generally require much of a background; gamers just want to get into the action and so perhaps for that reason a genre hybrid of shooter with RPG elements has yet to really take off. Hybrids often mean watered down mechanics from each genre. Since you can play most shooters with large teams facing off against each other the MMO aspect doesn’t add much either. I’m left wondering why I would choose to play this over TF2.
Global Agenda seems to be aiming to tie together various successful design mechanics which have been tried and tested in other titles. It is looking to be accessible and action packed but the cost is a lack of depth and innovation. The Beta should be coming up soon so check out the official site if you like the sound of it. I’m still trying to decide if jetpacks and katanas are a big enough draw to tempt me into trying this out.