Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn Review
Titled as Chase the Express in Japan, Covert Ops is an action/adventure game which plays in the vein of Resident Evil. Sony is the game's Japanese publisher and awhile ago Activision secured the rights to publish it here in the US. Sugar and Rockets developed this game both here and in Japan. Lately Activision has had a streak of success with their games, Tony Hawks Pro Skater started it all, Wu-Tang and Toy Story 2 continued the streak, and future titles like Mat Hoffman, Tony Hawk 2, X-Men, and Tenchu 2 would make Activision rise to the level of SquareSoft and Namco. I thought that Covert Ops would be one of those games that would help Activision to climb that pole but I was pretty wrong. Read the full review of this RE semi-clone, and why doesn't it live up.
The in-game graphics aren't on par with any Resident Evil game and anybody who tells you they are in need of some medication. I don't like the backgrounds, they look washed down, grainy and have slight detail in them. When I was playing Covert Ops, I popped in Resident Evil: Nemesis just for comparison. The result was a no brainer, RE3 won hands down. Everything from the pre-rendered backgrounds to the smooth character detail Resident Evil 3 takes Cover Ops for a ride. It is a shame that Sugar and Rockets didn't use pre-renderings in Cover Ops, it would have given the game a more cleaner look because the real-time backgrounds aren't creating a very organic look. What captures my attention about the visuals is the facial detail and the character detail overall. If you move the character close to the camera view you can see the details that were put in his face. On the visuals final note, the CGs are pretty nice, they add a more cinematic feel to the game but sadly the character detail and CGs aren't enough to lighten up the shallow looking backgrounds. A thumbs down in the visual department. Final thought: I've seen better!
This game may play like Resident Evil but it doesn't bring the patented feel that an RE game gives me. Take a look at RE: Code Veronica, the game rose way beyond my expectations, that is without a doubt the best RE game, and is also one of the best all around games I have played on the Dreamcast. Resident Evil: Nemesis had a pretty good story, graphics that pushed the PS and the same horrifying gameplay. But what Sugar and Rockets tries to establish with Covert Ops is just barely average. By average I mean that the story is something that we have all seen before in a movie or possibly another game. The story of Covert Ops is rather bland and is a bit on the boring side. It goes as follows, the French ambassador has been kidnapped along with his family and as usual there is always somebody there to rescue him. Jack Morton is dropped down to the speeding train which is headed from Russia to Paris. He has to battle his way through terrorists and many baddies to get to the ambassador. The problem with Covert Ops is that it could have been a good game if it have more depth in its plot. When I play this the first thing that comes to my mind is "been there done that". Instead of a breath of fresh air Covert Ops is a puff of black/gray smoke. On paper the game may sound good with its 10 authentic combat weapons, hidden secrets and mini-games Covert Ops may sound like a whole heap of fun but it isn't. My final verdict: thumbs way down in the gameplay. Oh and did I mention that the loading times are really annoying.
Sound is slightly better than the gameplay but it still falls short. The sound in no way accompanies the gameplay's setting. The mood is unrealistically set and just makes the experience of the game even worse. The only reason I didn't give the sound a miserable score was because of the voice acting, it is moderately good but nothing to hail over. Final verdict: Thumbs up and down.
The control scheme takes much cue from the RE series. Pressing UP moves the character while left or right rotates him. Firing the gun is done by pressing Square, running is done by pressing Circle and X is to open doors, basically that is the action button. So everything sounds fine 'n' dandy right? Wrong, the game doesn't support the Analog sticks. What the hell, this is an outrage I think Sugar and Rockets has been eating to much sugar and rushed this game badly.
I'm depressed I was expecting more from Sugar and Rockets, too bad that Activision got themselves into this mediocre project when they got the rights to publish here in the states. Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn is a lame game, it could have been more if only S&R didn't rush the title. If the title was given a couple more months there could have been something there, I will not blame Activison for this average game, but instead Sugar and Rockets for creating the game, damn you!