Speak softly, and carry a big rifle.
Shortly after thrusting players into the mean streets of Los Angeles in 9mm, Gameloft wants to book them round trick tickets across the globe in Silent Ops, an impressive looking but ultimately flawed third person shooter for iPhone and iPad.
The game stars three different agents, each of which possesses unique traits. John Oaks specializes in close quarters combat, ending fights with his fists. Yuri Sokolov, on the other hand, prefers to kill from a distance using a sniper rifle. Finally, there's Nicole Loiseau, a vehicle and IT specialist.
Together, this dangerous threesome crisscross the globe completing missions for a secret organization, preventing invisible threats in the process. That said, they take care of business in a variety of places, such as Geneva, Hong Kong and Capri, to name a few.
First, Silent Ops features attractive and highly detailed visuals for a mobile video game. Gameloft's mastery of the hardware never ceases to amaze, from sprawling European towns to a cool shootout aboard a luxury ship. High quality, personified.
It's also a decent shooter, with options to zoom for precision kills, a cover/melee system and plenty of bad guys to pummel. Suffice to say, it offers several hours of fun.
On the downside, the story put us to sleep. There's little attachment to the characters or their unified cause. Just beat up the next wave of enemies, rinse and repeat.
To that end, the title Silent Ops is a bit misleading, since just about everything devolves into a firefight. Stealth? Who needs it?
Playing the game, though, is quite frustrating, largely because of the controls. Gameloft borrowed 9mm's control scheme, but there's something off about it. Bullets that clearly kiss their intended targets find their mark, the tiniest of objects (a railing, for example) prove impossible to shoot between or around, and the health system doesn't do a great job forewarning players before they're about to die. Instead of the screen turning red, a few splotches of blood appear and the character croaks. That takes a while to get used to.
Multiplayer offers variety in the form of 12-person free-for-alls/team deathmatch, but we experienced problems joining games. Once we jumped in, though, it was a similar experience to 9mm. Solid overall.
In the end, Silent Ops is a good, though unremarkable third person shooter that lacks the extra level of polish to put it over the top. Cross your fingers for some updates.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
What's Hot: Slick looking graphics, quality audio, 20 minutes of cut scenes, solid voice acting, enjoyable shootouts, varied locations to explore, universal.
What's Not: Weak story, annoying camera, unclear health system, at times brain dead A.I., MP connection issues..