In our experience the best results come from having one of each class in a four-man team. One of the downsides of this is that when you get a balanced team of players without any Leroy-like inclinations and that take the game seriously – most people in our experience – the missions are a walkover. With a decent team, both the scores of minions and boss fights are laughably easy. Most of the time, deaths are caused by sloppy gameplay than the fact that the levels being genuinely challenging.
Upping the stakes to medium security is advisable for anyone over level eight and above and even then a good time will stomp the missions. Each one has a timer of around 15 minutes but a decent group could hammer through one half of that time. Another thing to factor in is that the groups we played in were random people, that had never played together before, played the game very little and weren't using voice comms. As mentioned, constraints of the reviews schedule mean that we cant play the game well into the higher levels and find out if high-sec and double increase the diffuculty curve apprpriately for the higher-level players, but they had better be if a challenge is to be presented.
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The game has a few more other gripes. This is a debut title and some of polish that you might expect from a Blizzard game for example is lacking. Interface customisability is a good example. If you're playing a Medic and the health bars of your team-mates are in a small windows at the top left-hand corner of a 24in diagonal viewing area then it's a real pain to have to focus on the frenzy of combat happening under your crosshairs, and keep on glancing up to check HP bars all those inches away. The locked weapons in your equipment screen give no indication of how or when they are to become unlocked - another fiddly annoyance. It's not immediately obvious how the device points system works and there's no pointers to explain, the sell price for vendors isn't displayed on the screen when you want to flog gear and a lot of sound bites for NPC dialogue are repetitive and annoying.
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While Global Agenda
has a few minor gripes such as the ones above, there are some major ones too. The linearity of the missions is the most glaring of these. The fact that they are often very easy means that looking forward to the higher level missions makes working your way through the levels a real grind - and not the fun sort of grind MMOs need.
The fast-paced action does a decent job of keeping your mind off the fact that you've seen this same part of a level a hundred times. The elements borrowed from Team Fortress 2
have stood the test of time and work just as well in Global Agenda
as they do the Valve title. The addition of jetpacks is very cool and its great fun boosting around the place, even if we didn’t encounter that many points where such shenanigans are essential.
The character development is deep enough for purpose and the way that the device points system allows you to focus your character's role is a welcome touch. Being able to reconfigure your abilities depending on the sort of classes that have been put together in a group which should come in useful further down the line assuming things become more challenging. Because the combat is balanced and has a lot of potential, Conquest could be a great deal of fun. Sadly, when we were playing the Conquest map was closed but we're going to endeavour to get stuck into some of the PVP action and include a blog or perhaps an addendum to the review.