previewed on PS3
You are what you wear (cntd)
The missions in The Agency fare very different from the usual “go kill 10 wolves, return with their pelts”. Missions (not quests) are more epic and definitely more intense, involving infiltrating, assassinating, sabotaging, stealing, impersonating and more. Spies from UNITE often solve matters using handy gadgets and silenced weapons while the Paramilitary Global Operations Network (ParaGON - the mercs) fellows rather use their latest piece of explosive equipment. This doesn’t mean that if you are part of either one of those agencies you have to play it that way but rather that each one of them favors one form of playing over the other. So whichever way you address a situation you have got to know what you are good at, gear up so you have the correct skills and make sure you are in the right role before playing. It’s good to know that if you’re no good at, say, sneaking you could easily switch outfits for instant role change.
The World Is Not Enough
One way or the other, you most certainly are going to want to play the game with friends. SOE Seattle promises up to 4-player Co-op on missions, sharing experience and loot for everyone and 8-player Co-op in the “crossover” missions.
After you complete a mission the team is given a rank based on their performance, so playing with a team will most certainly assure you a higher rank and even better loot. Loot comes in the shape of influence, which can be used to acquire missions, operatives and equipment. Missions are replayable so you can come back later after you and your friends have leveled up and play the mission again, hoping to achieve a better rank.
Now that you are teamed up with your friends and you are beating missions together you’ll probably intend to ally with them in guild or clan. The Agency calls the guilds Networks. The Networks allow players to rally up and battle against other Networks and even against UNITE and ParaGON in a Risk-like World Domination mode. There’s little information on how this mode will play but we are already excited, expecting plenty of player vs. player action and global, epic missions.
Send Text 1 to pay one million dollars. Send Text 2 to let him die
Another addition to the leveling up formula is having your own spies to do some work for you. Called operatives, they are one of the key points to The Agency. If you decided to stop playing for a while you can set these guys to go do some missions and when you return they’ll bring you the influence they recovered. This will probably work like the rest bonus in World of Warcraft, making life easier for players who can only devote a few hours per week to the game. The operatives don’t stop at getting influence: they are capable of scouting for information on future missions, using abilities when prompted and scoring more missions and contacts. They are even tradable with other players so if you’re in need of an explosives expert you just got to find someone who has one and trade him for one of yours.
Operatives will be able to contact you using real text messages and e-mails making you know about their progress. It’s even possible that your operatives get captured and you receive a text message asking for ransom. You will have to choose to pay the kidnappers or to let the operative die by sending a text message in response. SOE Seattle’s is proud of their operatives and it shows. We just hope getting e-mails and actually paying real money to answer your operative’s text messages isn’t too intrusive.
With charming art style that just feels cell-shaded (but still need ages of polish) and a world of intrigue and espionage of classic James Bond movies we just hope to have a price tag and release date (hopefully within double o eight) to present the readers in the next few months.