Global Operations

Global Operations

Let’s be honest: When it comes to online tactical sims, Counter-Strike is the 400-pound gorilla of the genre. Everyone developing similar games hopes theirs will unseat it and become the online addiction du jour. There are two ways a game could do this: by outright copying CS (see Tac Ops review on the opposite page) or by taking the original formula and trying to improve upon it. Global Operations falls into the second category, but a litany of nagging problems prevents the game from seeing its vision through.

Global Ops consists of 13 levels and two campaigns, one from the good guys’ side and one from the bad guys’. Each mission takes place in a different locale with its own counterterrorist and terrorist skins. At times the skins can get a little confusing, especially during missions in which both sides are wearing military-like uniforms. I had a hard enough time learning the eight uniforms in CS; trying to keep 26 uniforms straight is horrible. Plus, Global Ops features six character classes—demolitionist, machine gunner, commando, recon, medic, and sniper—that all have unique characteristics and skills.

Missions play out in typical tac-sim style, with objectives ranging from hostage rescue to bomb planting and defusing. There are a few interesting twists to the missions. For instance, in the Quebec mission, both sides are trying to get a hostage to an extraction point that’s near the other team’s spawn point. The back-and-forth dynamic turns the level into a football game with assault rifles. The maps are hit and miss. Some are bland and boring, and others are way too large and convoluted. However, a couple of them (like those for Colombia and Antarctica) border on the sublime, artistically.

The good things about Global Ops are very good. There are loads of sexy weapons for which you can buy bolt-on enhancements like scopes and silencers. The 3D weapon models look fantastic in your hands, and actions, like switching the firing mode and kickback, are realistically modeled. However, there is a serious problem with weapon balancing. Too many times I was killed from across the map with a single shotgun blast or two hits from a pistol, while it would take me three or four shots from a sniper rifle to take an enemy down.

Global Ops is really meant to be a multiplayer game, but it also has a single-player component. However, if you were going to buy this game for its single player, don’t. The AI, for both team and enemy, is absolutely atrocious. And if you were going to buy this game for multiplayer, you might want to wait a bit. The state of the netcode at the game’s launch was extremely bad. Bad lag is a hallmark of the LithTech engine, but the first patch did improve it a bit.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Computer Gaming World.