Tactical Intervention has the spirit and potential of a great game - but today, today it needs an intervention.
Tactical Intervention is the project of Minh "Gooseman" Le. He is notable for being a co-creator of the still played counter-strike, one of the most successful mods for half-life and a highly revered competitive shooter.
Gooseman's Counter-Strike franchise was bought up by Valve in 2000. Valve also gathered Gooseman himself into their fold, hoping the co-founder could further fuel Counter-Strike's meteoric fame.
Unfortunately it seems Minh did not settle into his new position within Valve. He apparently struggled to assert himself as a leader among his co-workers and did not seem happy with the direction things were moving: "We were kind of pandering to the community a bit too much, in my opinion. We reacted a bit too much to people's negative feedback".
Additionally he said under interview "I did kind of get that feeling where after it became an official product and it became more professional, it became a bit harder to innovate with newer features. "
The last quote was an apt foreboding for the problems Tactical Intervention now faces.
Tactical Intervention is a tactical shooter with several game modes:
- Hostages (rescue/protection)
- Bomb mission
- VIP (Car based protect the VIP game play)
and two teams:
Tactical Intervention features attack dogs, car chases, rappelling down buildings, and murdering innocent people. All unfortunately implemented in a glitchy and restrictive manner, which cant help but mar your enjoyment.
Let me start with the core feature of any FPS, shooting people dead. Tactical Intervention gives you a set of guns, with all but useless iron sites and a kick that leaves you uncertain iof having taken a shot. The recoil isnt enough to give the player the impression of a powerful gun, but it is enough to frustrate you.
Recoil and general gun mechanics often sit at the core of a good FPS game. Killing Floor is what we defer to as a game that gets it right. It has solid animation, excellent audio and altogether great player feedback whenever a gun is fired making them a pleasure to shoot.
Even in Counter-strike you can feel the difference between the rifles. An AK47 handles very differently to a M4. But Tactical Intervention does not shy away from giving you a lot of guns. The problem is they all feel the same, hollow, boring and frustrating to shoot - would you believe that while playing I almost lost my lust for psychopathic murder? Almost.
Heres something we take for granted. Auto reload. Its in almost all modern FPS titles and its there for good reason. Well its not in Tactical Intervention. You better be ready to reload manually unless you want to hear the muted clicks of an empty gun, while you are gunned down.
In multi story maps, rappelling down buildings to crash through a window is an interesting tactic that is open to the player, but the experience is dulled by the fact that the "use" points, to trigger the start of a rappel, are too difficult to target. A few other irritations arose from the rappel. Only secondary weapons can be equipped during the descent and when it comes time to disconnect from your rope, after your James Bond-esque entrance, the controls become too confusing. Hardly the big entrance I was hoping to make.
The graphics are on a par with an aged source engine title, with the added bonus of graphical glitches. Some of my favourites were:
After every death my corpse would perform an interesting dance with the floor as it tried to become one with it.
The seizures that hostages would endure when they grouped together
And flying propane tanks
Nothing memorable accept the over the top screaming some of the characters would occasionally channel. Most accounts seem to echo that the sound overall is terrible and or is voice acted by a single person I wasn't able to substantiate the latter.
As much as I believe as a reviewer that it's not the game engine that matters rather what you do with it that counts, the engine has become pertinent because Tactical Intervention's glitches expose what the base game engine is not designed to deal with.
Tactical Intervention is developed in a modified source engine, something of a great engine for a FPS game assuming that the game maps are relatively small and the game doesn't feature vehicles.
Tactical Intervention features vehicles, and shooting guns, and shooting guns whilst driving vehicles. Cars will rubber band back and forth down roads whilst you are driving, this is not a new experience for me with the source engine, not a day goes by in Evo City of Garry's Mod that Civilians can't be found rubber banding from one side of the city to another simply because I don't think source was ever optimised for on-line vehicle play.
The most vexing part of the laggy rubber banding in Tactical Intervention is that it plays havaok with your hit registration. In a game about hitting things with bullets.
The game cribs other engine features like the left 4 dead indicators, showing you points of interest in your immediate vision, which seem to be a straight copy from left 4 dead distractingly so.
Tactical Intervention currently feels like a game that has tried to over innovate and over extend beyond it's limitations. Some ideas are good but the game is missing a refined core.
That said, this will be a free to play game supported by an in game shop. The 3 year closed beta doesn't seem to show much progress but it might be fun to play for an evening with a friend, if only to experience the glitches and unique features, which can occasionally be humorous enough to justify your time playing it.