Gameloft has had a recent track record of enjoyable titles (9mm [$6.99] and BackStab [$6.99] come to mind). Silent Ops [$6.99], the latest part-stealth, part-third-person shooter looked to extend Gameloft’s streak of decent titles that provide a good iOS alternative to a variety of genres usually reserved for console and PC gamers. Unfortunately, Silent Ops, with its generic story, poor presentation, and lacking gameplay definitely takes the genre back quite a few steps and should be avoided in lieu of other, much more deserving titles.
At first glance, Silent Ops looks to take a lot of its inspiration from the popular Splinter Cell series –there’s a lot of sneaking into buildings, a lot of silenced weapons, and a lot of double-crossing. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll quickly see that any comparison to an actual stealth title is only skin deep. While you may be doing quite a bit of sneaking, your cover is almost always blown every time you take a shot at the opposition, silenced weapon or not. In addition, the whole ‘sneaking’ mechanic is just poorly done, as not only is the cover system poorly implemented, but once you’re spotted, you’re basically in guns blazing mode for the rest of the level.
Not that getting spotted makes the game any harder. The AI in Silent Ops is atrocious. I lost count how many times I’ve seen several enemies just stare at me for seconds on end while I took my time reloading in front of them and then proceeding to empty my clip. In fact, the only threat I ever encountered was running out of bullets. Not to worry, however, as when that happened I would simply just run up to a group of enemies and they would immediately put their guns away and face me in hand-to-hand combat, each taking their turn in an organized, civilized fashion.
The whole combat system is just bizarre and not done very well. Other gameplay elements include simplistic quick time events as well as a few sniping sections that worked as well as they could within the context of the rest of the game. Overall Silent Ops‘ gameplay, like its aged graphics system, just seems to be lackluster.
In addition to the single-player mode, which takes place across seven different levels (coupled with three separate difficulty levels), Silent Ops also features a barebones multiplayer mode. Players can create or join servers with up to 12 total combatants. Stat tracking does exist, but is restricted to games played, total deaths, and total kills. Admittedly, multiplayer was a much more enjoyable experience than the single player mode, but that’s mostly due to the fact that you’re playing against other live players and has nothing to do with anything that the game actually offers.
As iOS has matured as a gaming platform, games in the style of the typical first or third person shooter have become readily available. In this day and age, there’s no reason to flock to a new one just because it fits in this mold, but that’s the impression I get with Silent Ops. There are far more better titles than this one, some even published by Gameloft itself. I’d suggest you stick with one of those other alternatives, and stay away from this game.