Shadow Ops: Red Mercury

Overview

So many times in the gaming industry, we have games with so much promise and so much hype that when the game is released, it is just bound to fail. When looking at Atari’s Shadow Ops: Red Mercury, you have a game that promises quite a bit but can it keeps up its end of the bargain? You’re going to have to read on through the review and find out.

Gameplay

One of the most popular themes of the past few years has been the military based first person shooters. We have gone from EA’s Medal of Honor series, to Activision’s Call of Duty, and now Atari wants to try its hand in the successful genre with Shadow Ops: Red Mercury - a game that promises both a great single and online multiplayer via Xbox Live.

In the Single Player Campaign mode you play as Captain Frank Hayden, the stereotypical army guy who plays the part of being Mr. Macho quite well. He paid his dues and has worked his way up the ladder to become part of a Special Forces team, which is attempting to recover some red mercury, which could, in the wrong hands, have catastrophic consequences. The story wasn’t bad, it has a few twists and turns and is presented in pretty good-looking cut scenes.

The single campaign is a very basic mode that really doesn’t capture what we have come to expect in the recent great military themed shooting titles. In Shadow Ops: Red Mercury, you are given a cut scene which depicts the action up to this point, and then you’re off on a very linear adventure. One of the big problems found in this campaign mode is how utterly predictable it is. You are given an environment in which you run through with a group of teammates forward and watch out for the enemies. Every time no matter what the circumstance the game runs the same way over and over and over again. This pattern repeats itself over and over again until you complete the campaign mode. If you ask me, this is not how top-notch shooter games should be like anymore. Where is the creativity?

The one plus to the game’s campaign mode is that it’s not easy, which means it will take a while to complete. This is due to a few reasons. One you have to ration your ammunition pretty well because the game doesn’t offer a whole lot to waste. You won’t see piles of ammo lying over the environment. Nor will you see many health packs to refresh your health. To top it all off, if you lose during a mission you will have to start over from the beginning, which means you will have to retrace your steps. Considering even the first mission is difficult, you are in for a game that won’t be easy to complete.

The multiplayer portions of the game consist of the two-player co-op mode, which must be played via Split Screen. Now right off the bat I must say this would have been fun playing over Live. The split screen action feels so bland that I doubt many will even bother with it. The Live support consists of: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and VIP Escort Mission. It really feels as though they just through the Live portion of the game together. Everything is so basic when playing online that it’s really hard to get into it. I am not saying it’s a bad game online, there is just nothing really going for it. There isn’t a whole lot of lag which is a definite positive, but the gameplay just isn’t as exciting as other shooters already on the market today.

I think the real motto of Shadow Ops: Red Mercury’s Gameplay is "been there done that". There is nothing overly wrong with Shadow Ops: Red Mercury. Infact, it’s a pretty good shooter. But on the flip side there is nothing inspiring in this game. We have seen all of this done in other games and not only that but done better. When it all comes down to it, I feel that the developers went for average on this game and that’s exactly what they got. A truly average shooter.

Graphics

In recent years we have seen shooters that really have had amazing graphics and others that have been complete disasters. One trend I have seen of late is that developers have been creating a lot of average looking titles instead of going for Gold. So does Shadow Ops: Red Mercury go for gold?

Anyone who starts the game will notice how brilliant the cut scenes look in the game. It’s not that they are overly detailed but the camera work in the cut scenes works perfect. Unfortunately once you get into the game it’s all a different story. Similar to the trend I was just talking about, Shadow Ops: Red Mercury falls into the average category. The character models have some facial expression but for the most part are pretty bland. The environments are a small step above the characters with a little detail, and some nice colors involved.

Overall the game does have anything that’s going to standout over the rest of the pack, but it does do enough to keep anyone from complaining.

Fun Factor

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury starts out pretty fun in the campaign mode but as you work your way though it you will notice that the game starts to drag on after a while. The gameplay is pretty fast and has enough going on it to keep you from becoming bored. The multiplayer portions of the game are not great but can be fun if you’re lucky enough to find good competitors. Shadow Ops: Red Mercury has some parts that are fun but in the end the repetitive nature of the game lets it fall short.

Overall

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury is an average shooter through and through. The gameplay is average and so are the graphics. There isn’t anything new or exciting happening in this game, but mostly things we have seen done better in other titles. Overall unless you are dying for a new shooter for your Xbox I would make this a for sure rental.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.