Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
June 28th 2004

Introduction:Midway has made their mark this year in the action genre with the fearful "The Suffering". Well, Midway is back again with a new action game without the monsters, but with the same intense gaming action with an emphasis on telekinesis. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy has our brains exploding in a positive way.

The Game:Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy comes at us with a fresh idea which hasn't been touched in a while in gaming, using the mind as a weapon. If you're not familiar with Telekinesis it means the power to move something by thinking about it without the application of physical force. This concept has never been proven but each side has their believers and skeptics. It's mind over matter and it makes for a great assets when fighting the evil military faction named 'The Movement'.

In normal fashion Psi-Ops has you against the odds, fighting for you life trying to down The Movement's military headquarters. You're character Nick Scryer finds himself captured after an overwhelming attack from The Movement; and begins his escape attempt. In the beginning of the game you won't have any Psi abilities so you'll have to relies the traditional pistol, but as the story continues and your memory starts to return you regain each power one by one. Having Psi abilities in your arsenal and equals the score when your back is against the wall. You're physic abilities cover mind control, telekinesis, remote viewing, pyrokinesis, mind drain and aura view (see features at bottom of review). Psi-Ops have a cleaver way of giving you a tutorial whenever you gain a new skill, so you don't have to worry about being overwhelmed with options.

lthough the game focus on your psi abilities you can choose to just blast your way through, it's not as effective, but it's possible minus the puzzles you have to complete. Like the Psi abilities there is a wide range of traditional weapons, and yes! There is a flamethrower. I found the best way to make it through was to balance the technique between both sides of aggression. One technique you learn early on in the game is how to mentally hold the enemy in the air with your mind, while using the other hand to spray bullets through the body. No dogging that one!

Graphics & Sound:Psi-Ops does a great job in the graphics department, with the most obvious featuring being the physics engine. Midway chose to use the base of the Havoc engine which already showed great promise and physics in Max Payne 2. Every object in the game has its own weight and reacts differently to contact, you'll be able to throw around the enemy while they flop and twist off walls. Even when they are down give them a few kicks! Not to be sadistic, but to see just how the body contorts. It's all about the physics, but the game also stands on its own with the character models, lighting, and visual extras.

The sounds also pull its own and completes the package with just the right touch to the atmosphere. The gun effects leave a little to be desired, but other than that the sound is top notch. The voice acting is well done, and doesn't sound too scripted even following standard storyline clichés.

Innovation:Psi-Ops at the heart has all been done before regarding gameplay and story, but where it pulls away is the addition of the psi abilities. The game flows perfectly and looks great when using the abilities, Midway did a great job keeping a more realistic feeling to the psi-abilities where they could of easily went to a more fantasy role. This great balance combined with some interesting situations and combat options glow is innovative.

Mojo:Psi-Ops officially have the physic mojo down to a science. Just when I thought throwing live and dead bodies around the room like a baseball was enough, I'm introduced to brain soup! What do I mean by brain soup? Well you can use the mind drain psi-ability to explode the enemy's cranium! Boom! Just like the horror movie Scanners! It's great. Just on that fact alone this game proves its mojo worthiness.

Lowdown:Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy really surprised me and turned out to be more than 'just another action game'. Psi-Ops will keep your attention start to finish; and you'll have a blast with the games physics and psi-abilities. The great thing about the game is that you can take it on at your own pace, with your own style. Pick this sucka Up, and enjoy a bowl of brain soup.

Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 8.5, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 9. Final: 8.5

  • An action/adventure game that utilizes extensive Psi (mind) powers including telekinesis, pyrokinesis, remote viewing, mind control, mind drain and aura view combined with traditional weapons:

    • Telekinesis. The ability to pick up people and objects, then move, throw or smash them in any direction.
    • Pyrokinesis. The ability to launch a wall of fire that ignites everything in its path.
    • Mind Control. The ability to take control of enemy bodies and use them to solve puzzles, do surveillance or just open fire on other enemies.
    • Remote Viewing. The ability to go "out of body" to see through walls or doors to plan your "attack" and/or get information you would not be able to get in physical form.
    • Mind Drain. The ability to drain Psi power from enemies, which results in death to the victim.
    • Aura View. The ability to "see" elements, enemies and clues that aren't visible in the real world.
  • Intense, fast-paced action with strategic decision-making and challenging puzzle elements. The emphasis is on action (80%), with tactical decision-making (20%).
  • In addition to Psi mind control powers, players have access to an arsenal of traditional weapons. Handguns, automatic weaponry, sniper rifles, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and grenades-which, when combined with unique Psi powers, create an extraordinary and powerful gameplay dynamic.
  • 50 Minutes of high-quality FMV tell an exciting and immersive story that reveals the mystery of Nick Scyrer's identity and the origin of his Psi powers while infiltrating the compounds of "The Movement," a powerful Psi terrorist organization.
  • Eight huge and immersive levels spread throughout the world add to the intrigue and terrorist theme.
  • Adaptive artificial intelligence makes enemies extremely aware of the player's actions and delivers more intense, realistic fighting.
  • Multiple methods for solving missions. The non-linear design allows the gamer to conquer the mission in multiple ways, allowing for endless replay value

The Mindgate Conspiracy

June 2004