Review: Global Agenda (PC)
Global Agenda is a third-person MMO shooter for the PC and the setting is a dystopian Earth in the 22nd century. A global disaster has wiped out most of Earth’s population and in the aftermath a group named the Commonwealth, using an army of AI drones, have taken control of the planet’s limited resources. The competition for land is reminiscent of the great American land-rush in the late 19th century, except on a global scale and with an abundance of deadly high-powered technology.
There are four classes to choose from, Assault, Recon, Medic, and Robotics. I wanted to experience action from the start so created a character in the Assault class. That character was pretty efficient when it came to roaming around and grinding out experience against various groups of enemies but was found lacking when I jumped into squad-based missions too quickly. Enemies in the early stages weren’t much of a challenge but end of mission bosses were a step too far and my assault character was continually killed and had to run to the end of the area again. The second character I created was in the Recon class and this suited me much better. It may have had more to do with a state of mind than any major difference between the classes but I felt more at ease sniping at enemies from long range. I spent much more time roaming around on my own, playing the lone-wolf role and helping out others when needed, than playing squad-based missions as I didn’t find that part of the game as enjoyable. The remaining two classes fall into the support category, the Medic class is self explanatory and Robotics have an array of gadgets at their disposal such as force-fields, combat drones, and gun-turrets.
There are four types of PvE (Player vs Environment) missions.
Open Zone Missions - Accept missions from NPCs to progress story content, learn more about the world and earn loot and experience.
Special Ops: Solo – Timed single-player missions fighting The Commonwealth. Available in three difficulty levels starting at level 20.
Special Ops: Team - Timed four-player co-operative missions fighting The Commonwealth. Available in four difficulty levels and two location settings.
Defensive Raids – Ten-player Defense missions protecting key Dome City facilities from Recursive Colony attacks. Queue as a single player or in teams up to ten players when the Alarms go off in Dome City. Requires level 30 or greater.
There are two types of PvP missions, Mercenary and Arena. Mercenary missions are 10v10 with five different types.
Control - The typical objective control map, in this one the two teams will fight to control three points. Unlike an attack or defend style control map, all three points can be captured at any time by either team throughout the match. The more points a team controls, the faster it gains match points, and 800 match points wins the match.
Payload – Another fairly well known map type, Payload is an asymmetrical map where the attacking team escorts a container full of explosives along a predefined path into the enemy team’s base, and the defenders must prevent them from doing so while there’s still time on the clock. Escorting the container past each of three checkpoints adds additional time to the clock for the attackers.
Demolition - Global Agenda’s take on capture the flag, in Demolition (known to beta players as “capture the robot”) each team has a mech that any player can get into and drive. The mech can be healed partially by the Medic class players and partially by the Robotics class players, and is tasked with carrying a bomb into the enemy team’s base. Three successful escorts are required to win.
Scramble - A variation on the control point map. there are many possible control point locations, but only one is active at a time. The first team to capture and hold three points wins.
Breach - Another type of control point match, 3 control points are laid out in fairly linear fashion. The attacking team must capture these points in order before time runs out, with each successful point capture adding time to the clock. Breach is also the sole match type of Conquest PvP at initial release, which fits the attack / defend nature and territory control focus of the subscription game.
The graphics in this game are a big of a mixed bag, the character models look nice but the buildings and other surroundings are a bit bland in comparison. Weapons and other upgrades look nice as do explosions and other special effects, and it’s clear the developers have attempted to carve out an individual appearance, but the game could perhaps have done with a little more time spent on its overall appearance.
Global Agenda has a similar pricing scheme to Guild Wars, the game has no monthly subscription fees and after purchasing the client everything is free to play. The original plan for the game was to have a higher level of subscription which would be paid for but that was scrapped in favour of expansions, again like Guild Wars, and the first expansion, Sandstorm, was made freely available. The game can be downloaded over Steam or direct from the official website. I found using Steam to be problematic, as the game would constantly crash on start-up, although the issues I had may now be fixed. After a couple of attempts without success I downloaded the client direct from the website and after a simple installation everything ran smoothly.
The MMO genre is dominated by fantasy titles and science fiction games like Anarchy Online and more recently Fallen Earth have struggled to make much of a dent in the vast number of titles featuring elves and dwarves. The success of Fallout 3 has shaken things up a little by showing there’s a market for science fiction rpg/shooter titles and has helped to pave the way for games such as this. Global Agenda falls short of its potential but with a team who are dedicated to enhancing the experience there’s every chance they’ll release an expansion which transforms this into a must-have title.