The Agency – hands-on

Much like Battlefield Heroes, The Agency will also include abilities that are useful for the entire team at once, such as a Combat Ops ability that allows the entire group to see enemies through walls. The games’ missions, from those that we played, seem hinged upon a narrative.

The mission we played centered on a mansion in a snowy mountain range, where the worlds’ socialites and greatest minds had been lured under the pretense of a huge party. In reality, it was the work of Dr. Kessler, an evil genius who planned to install mind-control chips in their brains and use their influence to rule the world. Enter our character – a stealthy lady, and her butch support-focused comrade Agent Steve Kramer to bring some UNITE-style justice to the proceedings.

An agent sent us on a mission to sneak around the back and take photos inside of the mysterious devices hanging over seemingly every awning. As we did so, Kramer powered down a laser wall just long enough to sneak up and pop a bullet in a guard’s head. However, before we could appreciate our victory, the wall powered back on, passing directly through our character’s breasts and bringing (as you’d expect) a horde of desperate, sweaty NPCs into the path of our bullets.

Kramer threw a martini bomb – a root-style spell-like attack that freezes an enemy in place – while we mopped up the crowd of guards, gaining experience but failing the sub-objective to not set off any alarms.

At present, The Agency has a satisfying weight to gunplay, both in its FPS and third-person modes, and the team obviously gets what a good shooter needs, even with the slight re-balancing necessary to add MMO-style skills. As we snuck inside the party, we slipped into aliases, photographing the mysterious devices. At this point, we used our shapely feminine wiles to distract a guard as Kramer grabbed the last one – for which we both received an objective credit – and we snuck upstairs to the top of the mansion to meet with our contact.

In the classic spy movie style, as he sought to tell us Dr. Kessler’s dark secret, the wall exploded at the behest of the villain’s helicopter-borne rockets. As we vaulted off the side of the building, the mission came to an end. After what felt like a hundred demos involving killing the same old cockatrices in the same old fantasy environment, we were left confident that a genre-changer is on its way.

Aug 13, 2009