Cyber Ops (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 15.07.2020

Review for Cyber Ops on PC

Rarely anymore do players see original games. Far too often any title will fit into a ready genre of FPS, RPG, platformer, strategy and so on. Cyber Ops is unique in that it is a type of strategy game but with heavy sneaking, planning, and frantic elements all mixed together. Taking the role of an operator watching the action from afar, players must plan the movement of operatives, controlling computers, hacking turrets, and disabling cameras so the operatives can complete their mission.

If there is one thing to learn about game design, especially if you are an indie studio without huge budgets, it is play to your strengths and avoid any weaknesses. As an example, graphics are big and expensive, and very rarely will a company be able to stand toe to toe against well-funded companies. Cyber Ops does a very good job of making minimalistic graphics largely work for the type of game it is, presenting a cold, dystopian world seen only through the eyes of a computer.

Taking the role of a hacker called 'the Operator,' players control a squad of four soldiers going through missions and fighting against obstacles like cameras, cyborgs and turrets. Using various powers like hacking, satellite recons or taking over things, they slowly unlock more and more of the stage so the squad can move on. The gameplay element in this regard is not unlike a puzzler.

Screenshot for Cyber Ops on PC

By playing waypoints, the squad moves around the stage dodging enemies, unlocking doors, activating new computers to hack, and so on. This is as much planning as it is puzzle-solving, and then a type of multi-tasking element introduced for hacking. When players increase how much control over the enemy computer they have, the game starts small mini-games where one must dodge obstacles to keep control - mind you this is occurring while everything else is.

This leads to a frenetic pace that while a little interesting, actually is a source of major frustration in here. The ideas this has are cool and unique, however the execution of them are just sadly not that good. In this reviewer's experience, its "tutorial" level has the dubious designation as one of (if not the most) difficult tutorials ever encountered in a game, with the reset count nearing 20 before completing the intro level simply because how bad certain elements of the game are.

Screenshot for Cyber Ops on PC

In theory, this is supposed to have this fine-tuned military unit proceeding through a stage, the player carefully unlocking doors, disabling cameras, planning routes… it all sounds very good. The problem is the controls are very bad, there is next to zero forgiveness, and pathing is atrocious. One of the biggest problems is a lack of a pause button. Perhaps this was a design decision to make it hectic, but as a result it really is only frustrating with how often you get killed because the agents were a few steps over, or something suddenly changed.

Even some of the cool ideas like having the agents level up, having all these stats, upgrades and so on, it is not a joke to say none of it matters. Cyborgs and turrets will still destroy the agents in seconds, and anything important is done remotely by the player. It is really unfortunate as the idea the developer was going for could have been awesome with all these RPG elements - if they had a role, that is.

Screenshot for Cyber Ops on PC

To compound issues, the minimalist UI has problems, certain maps have an insane number of doors and locks, among other things, the map is already a little hard to know where things are, and with 30+ icons jammed everywhere it makes it even worse. When the player hovers over a computer to hack, suddenly there will be lines showing every camera it controls, a type of idea great in theory, but that only jams up things. Oh, you didn't see that Cyborg amidst all those icons and just killed half your team? Too bad.

Reflecting on where things went wrong and how it could have been infinitely better, this reviewer recalls X-COM Apocalypse, which, while having nothing to do with hacking, presented a similar dystopian vision, and a logical direction the game could have gone. If Cyber Ops instead went with even a simple isometric view (heck, even just the map view in X-COM was better) with pause-able action, soldier control, and soldiers/stats that mattered, this would be an absolutely original and great game. As it is, it was an original attempt, but short of massive overhauls, not something to be recommended.

Screenshot for Cyber Ops on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

The developers deserve accolades for trying something new, but the game is just rife with far too many problems to recommend. Pathfinding and controlling is a mess, difficulty swings are incredibly wild, and despite all the cool pictures of stats and equipping stuff, none of it really matters. It was clear what it was going for, it just fell short of the mark.

Developer

Oceto Studios

Publisher

Games Operators

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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