I recently acquired the a PS Plus free game from the PlayStation Store from developers Dynamighty, Counter Spy.
Counter Spy was assisted with developing by SCE Foster City Studio, who has worked on projects such as Uncharted, Infamous, and the Resistance series of past games. Counter Spy was the first time the company worked with an indie dev team with staff who used to work at Lucas Arts and Pixar.
Counter Spy is a wonderful 2.5 D side-scroller that has the player moving about in a very stealthy way. Taking place in an alternate setting of the Cold War, you act as a counter agent who is sent in by an organization called C.O.U.N.T.E.R., to infiltrate both opposing countries military bases in hope of stopping them from launching nuclear missing at each other.
The 2.5-D means the game is mostly viewed and played in a 2-D layout, but has some elements where the camera angle moves in a different position that makes it almost a 3-D layout. This is to optimize precision firing for achieving stealth mode when infiltrating an opponents military base.
Each country, the US and Soviet Union, has a meter that measures the level of alert on both sides. This is the DEFCON status level. If its at DEFCON 5, the alert level is very low where no tension is detected from the country. If its DEFCON 1, then the alert level is very high with the possibility of the country launching its nuclear missiles. These DEFCON meters are determined by the players ability to be stealthy while trying to find missile launch pads, launch plan, launch computers, etc.
Every time a soldier becomes suspicious and radios in, or a security camera notices you, the DEFCON level will rise making the soldiers more alert of your presence. Also, if you’re killed, the DEFCON will automatically rise as well. There is hope, if you find a security guard in white, and make him surrender, that is your chance to lower the DEFCON level.
If the level ever reaches to DEFCON 1, it can begin a 1 minutes countdown that has the player rushing from his current position to the main launch pad at the end of each level . If the player can’t make in time, then it’s game over, the missiles have launched. Boo.
While playing Counter Spy, I found it to be extremely fun, and yet, extremely easy. At first, when you took cover and were able to aim at an enemy before shooting, I thought it was going to hard to obtain head shots. Taking out an enemy with stealth and head shots, allows you to rack up points and competing against other players scores with online syncing.
If at any moment another player died while conducting a mission on the same level as you, you will be notified that an agent went down on the level. When you begin the mission and find the downed agent, you have a chance at recovering whatever they found for extra rewards. That was pretty cool.
There were no cross-hairs for measurement, only large halo the showed you where to take aim. If you try and center the circle over the enemies head, you can almost guarantee a head shot. That’s how easy it was. So, taking out security cameras, guards, and blowing up gas containers, was a piece of cake. Because of how easy it was to progress in this situation, I tried to challenge myself by executing only stealth takedowns. Now, that was hard.
It’s almost impossible to complete the game with just stealth kills. Not even the tranquilizer gun could help me complete the challenge. Although, it made the game more appealing setting my own challenge, so for that, it was a delight to play Counter Spy.
The audio was beautiful and clear, with nice sound effects from the guns, sirens, voices and explosions. Some of the announcements you hear when first entering the level was surprising funny, for example, there was an announcement that said something like, “Attention all personnel, at o’800, everyone is to attend a seminar about exchanging bodily fluids”. It was something like. I laughed so much!
The visuals in the game were very nice as well, with some parts of the game becoming glitchy here and there. It wasn’t really a problem and didn’t affect the gameplay. The colors in the game were bold and crisp looking, it definitely brought out the 60’s feel in the game and matched the music perfectly.
The player also has attributes that can be added to help the agent complete his tasks, such as, endurance enhancers, stealth maneuverability, precision shooting, and many more. Also, there was a nice selection of weapons to buy that would help in missions. I only used the silencer gun, standard pistol, tranquilizer, and occasionally, the shotgun. But, there are several more to choose from, so don’t feel you’re limited to just what I personally used. Lol.
The main object of the game is to find and recover launch plans, launch pads, launch computers, etc., in hopes of placing a detonator on the nuclear missile before it launches. This is to blow up the missiles safely in the sky, bringing peace to the world and its inhabitants.
Once you have done your job and planted the detonator, the game finishes with it almost feeling like you failed, but apparently goes according to plan. I think it was just seeing the missiles launch was what confused at first and for getting the plan was to blow up the missiles in the sky. The End.
Overall, Counter spy was pretty great, it had a nice feel to it and presented a wonderful 60’s theme to an alternate Cold War situation. The story was also very nice and believable if it were to happen, even though there was really no story to be told, I would hope the outcome of any war never ends with missiles being fired at others. It’s all about peace, love, unity, and respect people. (PLUR; Now I feel like I’m a raver, again. Lol)