The Agency – hands-on

Time to brush off your tuxedo and laser watch

Following in the footsteps of 2003%26rsquo;s PlanetSide, The Agency is an espionage-themed MMO that blends the salty grit of your average shooter with the smooth concoction of your World of Warcrafts and EverQuests.

Players take on the role of a spy, customising their look, feel and faction %26ndash; either ParaGON or UNITE. Paragon is the rough-and-ready paramilitary group, with little finesse but a pragmatic, get-the-job-done attitude (think Jason Bourne). On the other hand, UNITE are your classic Bond or Joanna Dark spies, specialising in high-tech espionage, gadgets, and the art of deception.

%26ldquo;We really wanted to bring the FPS market to MMO players. While you have to slow it down to make it playable and fun to everybody, a headshot%26rsquo;s still gonna be a headshot,%26rdquo; said Matt Wilson, The Agency%26rsquo;s creative director. Unlike most MMOs, you don%26rsquo;t pick a class. Before any given mission, you pick a particular load-out, hence the tagline %26lsquo;you are what you wear.%26rsquo;

%26ldquo;When you create a character, you%26rsquo;re really just choosing what side you%26rsquo;re on, what you look like, and whether you%26rsquo;re male or female. Once you%26rsquo;re in the game, you can start off as any role and switch it out at your field office before the mission,%26rdquo; added Wilson. %26ldquo;Inside those roles, as you gain experience, you can branch out %26ndash; a support character can be a field medic who heals people, or a field tech that deals with mechanics.%26rdquo;

The idea is that one player can be a variety of characters depending on how or when they play %26ndash; if you want, you can play the combat-oriented character with your friends, but play solo as a stealthy stab-them-in-the-dark type. %26ldquo;Lethalities%26rdquo; are the games%26rsquo; special skills that set The Agency apart from your average online FPS. %26ldquo;The main thing is that weapons and gadgets are critical to the game, but your own skills are too. Stealth players get a cloaking ability, and we want to drive those skills to support each other,%26rdquo; says Wilson.


We recommend