Review by Ryudo88

"Very Generic Shooter, but Enjoyable"

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury is… you guessed it, another military shooter. It seems like one of these comes out every month. It's a very popular genre, but I feel it would be a more rewarding genre if we didn't get so many so often, especially all of these bad ones like Conflict: Desert Storm, Rising Sun, ect. This game is one of the many upcoming military shooters, but this one is more urban than the majority, which are usually set in historical war scenarios. Shadow Ops takes place in a sort of anti-terrorism setting. You play as the leader of a Delta force squad out to kill terrorists who possess nuclear weapons. This game is no Rainbow Six, but it's definitely better than the horrible Fugitive Hunter title that includes a kung fu Bin Laden. I consider Shadow Ops one of the better war shooters, but it's not that great either.

The graphics in Shadow Ops are a mixed bag. You get nice environments and decent level design, but very bad player models. For an X-Box title, this game should look a lot better. The framerate stays steady most of the time, but still includes ticks and jerks here and there. The player models are very old school looking. I have seen better in Soldier of Fortune 2, and that's sad. The death animation is very outdated here as well. Have you guys played many shooters lately? They all now have ragdoll effects, and you guys need to take note of this. You guys are working with the X-Box here, this game should run a lot better than it does, especially since it's not that impressive looking. For the most part though, the game runs at a decent 30 FPS, but this SHOULD run at around 60+ from it's graphics. Explosion effects, flashbang effects, and other effects normally found in these types of games, are very basic looking as well. Also, somebody needs to let the developers know that Playstation One called and wants their gun models back. These guns look like the ones found in the old Delta Force game and very outdated. Cut scenes are very blurry, low quality video featuring very low quality in game graphics. Load times in this game can seem a bit long as well. I was expecting this game to look better than it did, but that doesn't mean this game isn't fun.

The sound is problematic here. I get a lot of skipping in the music, but the music is horrible anyway so it's best to just turn it off. Nobody wants to hear generic action music with Hindu women from India yodeling throughout the whole damn song. Sound effects are all very generic sounding as well. I felt the gunshot effects were decent enough though, and dialog between allies and foes are decent. Seriously though, whoever made the tunes in this song needs smacked.

The controls are good enough to get into the game. I found that the analog stick sensitivity is a bit sluggish, which means aiming problems will happen often. When you adjust to it though, it's not too bad, especially in aiming mode. This would have been better if these boneheads would have included a sensitivity adjustment option, but they didn't. This is 2004 guys, people need these kind of options to make the game adjust to the players liking. Other than these few complaints, everything seems good enough and not to complicated to learn. Ten minutes of playing and you will have everything down pat, unless you think the insensitive analog stick aiming is a problem.

Well seems pretty bad so far huh? Well the gameplay isn't too bad. There is enjoyment to be found in Shadow Ops. Gameplay consists of your typical shoot and take cover style of play. If you enjoy this like I do, you will find Shadow Ops quite enjoyable. The gun physics are pretty well done and fire fights are fun. Mission objectives are quite basic and are in your path, so exploration isn't needed at all here. The only time you need to explore the levels are to find health packs and ammo. There are NPC soldiers who will help you throughout the game as well, but sometimes they can get pretty stupid and position theirselves in bad places, which offer no help to the player. The game has about four difficulty settings. I played the game on the normal default setting and game offered a good challenge. The game includes a Co-op mode, which is always a plus. There are also multiplayer modes featuring Xbox Live play and split screen deathmatch. Too bad the multiplayer seems very basic as well.

In conclusion, Shadow Ops is a decent game. I would easily recommend this for a weekend rental, but I would not purchase this unless you could get it for around 10-20 bucks or less, which probably won't be too long from now. Shadow Ops offers decent gameplay to fulfill shooter fan's needs, but it just seems so generic that I can't recommend this as a good game. Please rent before a purchase, because this would only be worth 50 bucks if it came out about five years ago. If you enjoy run & gun shooters, then Shadow Ops is for you.



+ Good shooting physics
+ Nice environments
+ Challenging gameplay
+ Xbox Live play
+ Co-op Mode


- Generic graphics
- Generic animations
- Generic gun models
- Generic sound effects
- Generic multiplayer modes
- Generic gameplay
- Horrible music
- Sound skipping issues
- Long load times

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 07/31/04

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