Aren't big guns and fist fighting enough for you people? Why does your insane lust for violence demand new ways to kill? Well, I hope you're happy, because now you have the opportunity to pick people up with your mind and smash them off walls. Still not enough? Well, you can also make their heads explode. More (you blood hungry savages)? How about controlling people's minds and making them jump from tall buildings? Satisfied? Well if you're not now, you certainly will be once you start playing this game.
Psi-Ops isn't the most intellectually stimulating game you'll come across; the plot doesn't pretend to be anything special, and in fact, will seem fairly familiar to most of you. A General working for a secretive government organization leaves to form an evil cabal of terrorists, hell bent on taking over the world. Only one man, Nick Scrier, can infiltrate these terrorists and bring the General down, once and for all. The key difference is that this evil organization recruited most of its main members from Mindgate, the government's team of crack psychics. A group that also had a certain Mr. Scrier as one of its members...
'This game is fun, pure and simple.'
As you can see, this isn't a game you'll be buying for the, admittedly perfectly suitable, storyline. It doesn't do anything new, but it doesn't need to. This game is fun, pure and simple. It certainly shares a lot of old school aesthetics that people who used to play platformer's on the Mega Drive or SNES will be instantly familiar with. Level > Boss, rinse and repeat. There are obviously influences from some modern games too, such as Halo's 'two weapons' rule. I've found that this is put in place merely because 'everyone else is doing it', but its used well here as more weapons would un-necessarily complicate matters. So, as with the story, nothing ground breaking, but just fine all the same. However, it's what Psi-Ops does differently, all the new elements it brings to the table, which it should really be judged on.
The core of the game, the Psi-powers, are tremendously well implemented and very well realized. The sheer range of ways to proceed into a new area is fantastic. Do you use remote viewing to scout the room, then sneak up behind an unaware trooper, mind drain him to top up your psi-powers and then use Pyrokinesis to take out the rest of the bad guys? Do you go in a start throwing them about with Telekinesis, into the crate of explosive barrels in the background? Do you sneak through the door, hide behind a box and then mind control one of the troopers to do your dirty work for you? It's entirely up to you. Critically, the level design also supports a great deal of this experimentation and the need to use all of your skills, both Psi and non-Psi, to solve many of the puzzles. The developers have been thoughtful enough to include different toys to play with in many of the rooms. Explosive vials, acid pits, and tall buildings- all of these can be used to your advantage, and is another strategy waiting to happen. It's this experimentation that proves to be Psi-Ops trump card.
Of course, all of this wouldn't be so good if everything didn't move so nicely. You know, bad guys arms flailing as they are thrown across the room, barrels exploding and causing a chain reaction- all that good stuff. Here, Psi-Ops really delivers.