PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Global Agenda
Developed By: Hi-Rez Studios
Published By: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Genre: MMO Third Person Shooter
ESRB Rating: Teen for Crude Humor; Fantasy Violence
MSRP $29.99 (Amazon)

Thank you Iceberg Interactive for sending us this game to review!

Global Agenda is a futuristic Massive Multiplayer Online Third Person Shooter. The story is set in the 22nd-century after a severe global disaster. Habitable land is hard to come by and the tyrannical government rules with an iron fist and with an army of mechanical drones. Your goal is to colonize areas and overthrow this government known as the Commonwealth. 

When you first log into the game you will have to choose your player class. The four classes are Assault, Medic, Robotic and Recon. The Assault class is your typical heavy weapon and tank role. The indispensable Medic class can heal their teammates with their arsenal of healing weaponry: bursts of health come from grenades and from their trusty beam gun. Robotics classes specialize in technology and setting up force fields, turrets, healing stations, and robot drones. Recon units are equipped with stealth, speed, and various traps and decoys. Their mobility and deadly attacks are not to be under estimated.

Once your class is chosen and your character is customized, the adventure begins. The game starts with you happily swimming in your test tube tank when it gets shot open by some rogue agents trying to free you and other human experiments. They instruct you on how to equip and use your weapons, jetpack, armor, and basic movements. There is a health bar and an energy bar, the latter of which refills automatically over time. Instead of worrying about ammo, the ranged weapons use energy which is gained and depleted quickly. And while melee weapons do not use energy, blocking enemy melee attacks will eat into your energy reserves.

Highlights:

Strong Points: No monthly subscription fees; fun team based game missions.
Weak Points: Maps have sparse player counts which makes forming parties difficult.
Moral Warnings: Voice Over IP is enabled by default, which ended up being disabled due to potty mouths; violence is a given, it\'s bloodless but involves guns and melee weapons

The jetpack is a handy way to travel and it uses energy to fly. Some weapons and abilities are disposable and others have to recharge after being used. Weapons and armor deteriorate over time and you can buy repair kits to make them as good as new. Speaking of repairing, all classes have the ability to slowly heal themselves. While this is great in a pinch, the inability to regenerate energy and lowered damage output leave you in a vulnerable state. It\'s not wise to use this in the heat of battle, but is useful when a medic is not in your vicinity.

Many of the enemies are mechanical and often drop various pieces of scrap once they are defeated. In Dome City you can buy blueprints and parts to build better weapons, armor, drones, and more. Dome City also has various stores for upgrading your armor, weapons, appearance, and even virtual player vs. player matches. There is an auction menu where you can sell and buy equipment; it’s like an in-game eBay. You can pick up your purchases and mail from the receiving area in Dome City.

Defeating enemies gives you experience and loot. Once you gain enough experience you can upgrade your character\'s skills. Some of these skills include stronger melee and ranged attacks, better defense, more health, more energy, and so on. The technology tree is decent and there’s a lot you can do with your character. One example would be a Medic class opting out of healing others and instead focusing on using poisons and other damage over time abilities to wreak havoc on enemy players. Or a Recon who was a sniper switching into a ninja-like role. You can always reset your points if you’re unhappy with your choices, too.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Game Play: 14/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Controls/Interface: 5/5
Stability: 5/5

Morality Score - 80%
Violence: 5/10
Sexual Content: 7/10
Swearing: 8/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

Various non-player characters (NPC’s) can give you missions to do and offer you loot and experience to do it. The main story has you trying to find a cure for the blood experimentation the Commonwealth did to you. If you don’t find a cure, a painful death awaits. (I doubt it’s enforced but it does add motivation.)

Another way to gain money, loot, and experience is to hop onto a computer terminal and partake in a team mission.  There are player versus enemies, Agency versus Agency and Player versus player missions.  Think of Agencies as guilds and Dome city is a central hub where you can meet various people and join guilds and form war parties.  The missions are restricted by levels but there’s something for everyone. The missions remind me of Team Fortress 2 where you’ll have to capture and hold various control points or successfully move a payload from one end of a map to another. These missions require serious teamwork and it’s more than a frag fest. The losers will walk away with some experience but the winners typically get a good amount of money and some nice equipment as a reward. While there is no monthly fee, you can purchase booster packs which will double your experience and loot earned for a limited time.  

Like many RPG’s there are story line quests and side quests. You can track your quest progress and get a pointer and distance location to the next quest checkpoint. Many quests involve killing a specific person. Not only is this person very hard to beat, but oftentimes I found myself waiting ten minutes or more for them to spawn again. While you’re waiting for them to respawn, you can form teams and share completing mission objectives and experience. Teamwork is key in successfully defeating many missions and bosses. Each class has unique weapons and adds a new strategic element to the game play. Like many shooting games there are your token guns, rocket launchers, grenades, and melee weapons. Robotic drones, player decoys, turrets, healing stations, and force fields can put the odds in your favor. The team with a diverse group of classes would be the better option over a team filled with just Assault and Recon in most cases.
By default Voice Over IP is enabled which can be great for team players. I didn’t mind the casual banter and random conversations. Upon entering a team mission I was taken aback by the various insults and cuss words being used. Lots of F-bombs were being dropped and the arguments usually consisted of people insulting each other\'s moms one way or another. I promptly disabled VOIP and never bothered turning it back on. The weapons and sound effects are believable otherwise. Background music is present but forgettable.

The battles are fast paced and there’s a lot of eye candy to be seen. The various colored weapons, unique armor, and shimmering force fields and personal shields add a lot of variety. There are a lot of options when it comes to character customization. Not only can you customize your facial features, but you can also dye your hair, weapons and armor. There’s a wide variety of enemies but they do not vary in appearance. All the snipers, drones, and grunts with guns look alike. The mini-bosses and bosses are definitely separated from the rest when it comes to appearance. The world map is vast and definitely looks desolate. You’ll stumble across heavily guarded camps, technology cities, and many ruins.

Many of the enemies you fight are robots of sorts. There is no blood to be seen and you get to watch them short circuit with electricity flowing through them as they disintegrate. Human enemies aren’t that dramatic and I didn’t notice any blood or gore. After being defeated, their bodies promptly disappear. I don’t recall much swearing in the NPC dialogue. When it comes to sexual content, there’s a quest where you see a guy in his underwear. Not much sexual stuff in the game, but they definitely use sexual innuendos when it comes to their advertising and promotions. There’s a friend sign up bonus and they advertised it with some characters holding each other’s butts and titled it “Friends with Benefits”.

Overall Global Agenda is a pretty tame game. Unavoidable missions to take out certain people will be given to you. Also, you can choose to fight against other players. If you don’t like swearing, I recommend disabling the voice over IP. For $30 and no monthly fees, the price is definitely reasonable. There are monthly updates and seasonal items added to offer variety. I’ve played some MMO’s where it’s too crowded to have fun playing it but this game is on the other end of the scale where I wish I could bump into more people to team up with. If you like futuristic online games, check out the free trial.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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