Tactical Ops Assault on Terror
The effect CounterStrike had on online gaming was amazing. As you all know it simply started out as a mod (a downloadable patch that is applied to an existing game and changes the nature of the said game) for Half-Life. If the truth be known, CounterStrike was the primary reason most people bought the subsequent re-releases of Half-Life. Eventually, again as you all know, CounterStrike was released as a retail product.
Tactical Ops has a lot in common with CounterStrike. In June 2000 it became available for download as a mod for Unreal Tournament, it is still available today as a free download, and owing to the success it has achieved it has earned the right to become a retail product. Like CounterStrike the game is about counter terrorism. Essentially there are two teams, the Special Forces and the terrorists. The Special Forces have to rescue hostages, diffuse bombs etc. whilst the terrorists do their best to prevent them achieving their goals. Of course you can play as either and whilst the game is primarily an online affair, you can practise against bots before you go online.
Should you be successful in your mission then you'll be financially rewarded. With this money you'll be able to purchase better weapons for the next round as well as ammunition and body armour. The losers still get a little but it is only a fraction of what the winners get. You'll be able to collect money from those you kill as well, but you'll also lose money if you, in turn are killed. The missions are played across a multitude of maps that have a nice range of different climates from snow covered terrain to dusty desert locations. In fact the retail version has more maps than the downloadable mod for Unreal Tournament.
Of course in terms of graphics it's exactly the same as Unreal Tournament and I'm glad to say that the game engine has aged well. Weapon and character models still look good and the maps still look as detailed as most games on the market. There's nice touches such as leaving your footprints in the snow which can be used to track your whereabouts, or for you to track other people's whereabouts. The dynamic lighting effects, whilst perhaps are not the state of the art anymore, are still effective and add to the tension. Anything resembling a modern PC is going to make this game fly and high resolutions and framerates are achievable for almost all gamers.
Tactical Ops is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The objectives are all given in text and communication with your team-mates can be done quickly by holding down the G button and selecting the order/request with the mouse (as seen in the fourth screenshot). All the orders given to you will appear on the screen in text also. Of course there is no notification of an unsighted approaching enemy, that a hearing gamer would hear, but otherwise there are no problems.
Tactical Ops is a really good game and for £19.99 it represents good value. However there are a couple of buts and they are quite important. Most people will have a copy of Unreal Tournament and to obtain Tactical Ops is only going to cost you the price of a 202MB download. If you download the Tactical Ops and mod copy of Unreal Tournament then you'll be up and running against the online opposition in no time. If you don't have Unreal Tournament then you can buy it for around £9.99 and then download the mod. This would save you £10 and get you Unreal Tournament too. If you decide that you would rather pay £19.99 for Tactical Ops then you won't be able to play against gamers who are using the mod for Unreal Tournament until the next patch is released as currently the mod is at version 3.1.5 and this retail version is at 3.1.9 and the two versions are incompatible. The official website says that all will be compatible with each other when the next patch is released and currently this is thought to be ready for the end of September.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10 Tactical Ops is a superb counter-terrorist game but if you have a copy of Unreal Tournament you may wish to download the mod patch instead. The need to wait for the next patch to make it compatible with the mod version is something that may initially put some people off.
Deaf Gamers comment: Absolutely fine for deaf gamers.