Every year hundreds of games are tossed into the market; some go on to achieve classic and legendary status, some completely and utterly fail, and the majority are average games that appeal highly to some and can’t spark anything with others. There is also another type of game that goes along with the aforementioned types and it is mostly known as the hidden gem. The hidden gem is an excellent game that for some reason goes unnoticed. The reason can vary: the market could be flooded with a number of games in the genre, the game may not be sufficient advertising or a small company may fold before anything can be done with the game.
Whatever the reason was, the fact remains that Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy is one of the most original and fun to play shooters released in the past five years. The most original aspect of the game is the fact that you’ll have several PSI powers at your disposal. Through the use of these powers you’ll be able to move objects around (Telekinesis), have an out of body experience in order to move forward (Remote-Viewing), control someone else’s body to do your bidding (Mind Control), create fire (Pyrokinesis), and the ability that takes on what many believe to the sixth sense in being able to detect things that would otherwise go unknown (Aura Viewing). When you learn how to control things better, you’ll be able to ride across chasms while standing on platforms or hurl a fiery crate at an unsuspecting sentry. The game becomes so fun at that point you may find yourself merely messing around and trying to find the best options in taking out groups of enemies, perhaps even forcing enemies to fire upon themselves while you sit and hide. The game’s physics allows things to look extremely cool without being cartoonish or over the top.
The game is by no means ugly, in fact compared to most tactical/squad based shooters on the PlayStation 2 it may be one of the better titles. Interaction with the environment, which you will be doing a healthy amount of, looks great and sending a soldier into an exploding barrel has never looked better. The sound is also enjoyable; from the music that moves to fit the situation to the voice acting that is surprisingly good with all of the main characters.
The bottom line is that Psi-Ops is a fun, enjoyable game with a campaign that’ll last over ten hours, which is hard to say for any action game, let alone a shooter. Plus, at this point in the Ps2’s life, the game will only run you about $10 if you can find it used and at most $15 if you want to buy it fresh.