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Global Agenda – updated impressions

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Massively multiplayer games follow certain rules, while team-based shooters follow others, and strategies a third set. Until now they’ve lived safely in separate chambers of the Great Gaming Venn Diagram. Games that attempt an overlap, such as Destination Games’s disastrous Tabula Rasa, or Sony’s criminally overlooked PlanetSide, still tend to fall mostly into one category or another. Global Agenda takes ingredients from all three genres, and from what we’ve seen so far, has the potential to create something substantial.

At first sight it plays like an MMO. You pick your character class (Assault, Medic, Recon, Robotics), choose a look, and then make your first picks from the skill trees. The interface continues the theme: a traditional MMO tray of icons, health and power bars and unlimited ammo. So then you try the first PvE mission – perhaps you’re a sniping Recon, attempting to take out an evil robot, and you’re dying. Many times. Until the moment it clicks, your perspective zooms out, and you realize this is actually a third-person action game you’re playing. You need to run, dodge, hide, cloak, throw bombs and dive for cover.

And jetpack. Every player has a jetpack that makes the fighting a lot of fun. It’s not quite Tribes: Vengeance – there’s a limit to how long it lasts, and the replenishing energy it uses is the same that powers your weapons and abilities. It’s a resource to manage, a balance to strike. This lends itself to the action, letting you jump from roof to roof, catching ledges, crouching behind defenses.

Get into PvP and this distinction becomes even clearer. Your team of 8 to 12 players, working together, fight in arena combat scenarios closer to Team Fortress 2 than World of Warcraft’s battlegrounds. Your augmented weapons and arsenal of abilities are still in that MMO tray, but you’re going to need them assigned to hot keys to deploy them in time. It’s fast, explosive and deeply tactical. It’s when you ask why you’re doing it that the perspective needs to pull back even further.

There’s been a third world war, as there so often is. Emerging from the ruins is an evil Orwellian NPC faction called the Commonwealth. The character you play is a fugitive from these oppressive leaders, escaped and now seeking a new agency to create or join. Once you’ve aligned yourself you then enter the game’s third layer, the strategic scrap for territory. So long as you pay the monthly fee, that is: the boxed version will offer a free month, but after that you have to take out a subscription to take part in these fights.

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6 comments

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  • Snapp3r - January 14, 2010 4:22 p.m.

    I've been trying the pre-release beta, and it plays really well! Can't wait till they release the full game :)
  • BooMaLiCiOuS - January 13, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    The looks are Planet Side, but the whole game is nothing like it. The game is instance based with PvE & PvP. Dont expect an open world environment beyond the city area.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - January 13, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    This game clearly takes inspiration from PlanetSide (my favorite game ever). If they borrow the Griefing system from PS, they will be all good. PS has a system where whenever you shoot friendlies, you accumulate Grief Points, and if it gets high enough your weapons are locked for a while. It works pretty well.
  • erreip199 - January 13, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    ARG my pc cant run this!! i hate myself so much right now!!
  • thor0997 - January 12, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    This looks like solid gold to me, except one thing, people. Greifing and trolls need to be taken into acount more, and just people who want to just craft shit. And if the game is gold will it cost me an arm/leg?

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