Signal Ops is cooperative action-espionage game that you can play… by yourself!
One of the most interesting (and perhaps disorienting at first) features of Signal Ops is that you can control several different characters. It’s almost like playing a first-person shooter within a first-person shooter.
The art style for Signal Ops reminds a little bit of Valve’s Team Fortress. It is cartoonish in nature, and has an interesting water-colored paint style to it, that really makes it stand out.
But the element that really makes Signal Ops stand out from other PC first-person shooters, is its implementation. Signal Ops is like a first-person shooter within a first-person shooter. Huh? What? I’ll explain.
As a special agent, you’ll control a team of six different special agents, each it’s own special abilities. There is Bolt the electronics specialist. Shield is the combat specialist. Wrench is your mechanic. Demo, you guessed it, blows things up. Scope is the marksman, skilled in both long-range weaponry and up-close-and-personal melee attacks. Lastly the spy, who can blend in the enemy or distract them.
I’ve played many class-based games. What’s makes Signal Ops so unique? You might be asking yourself. Well, have you had to micromanage 3 to 4 different characters simultaneously? That’s right! You’ll be switching between various first-person perspectives, moving agents from position to position, in order to complete your goal.
You’ll stand before a series of monitors, each one the view of one of your field specialists. You’ll switch between specialists by pressing the number below the monitor.
In a way it reminds those times when I was younger, and in a feat of extreme boredom fired up a first-person game, selected split-screen multiplayer and switched between two different controllers, moving each character a bit, before switching to the other. Of course, Signal Ops is a much more polished experience. A better way to describe it is probably as a real-time strategy game that implements a first-person perspective. While it might seem a bit overwhelming to have to switch between various characters in real-time, the game is paced enough that it never really seemed to become a problem.
In order to control your various agents, you must have enough signal range to provide coverage for them (hence the name Signal Ops). If you’re agents are outside of the communication radius, their screen becomes filled with static. You can give orders to return to an area of broadcast, which is wise, because you really don’t want them to meet an untimely end and not at least see it coming.
One of the things that I didn’t really like about Signal Ops was the configuration options. The in-game menu can be used to adjust your controls and sound levels, but if you want to change your display settings, like your resolution, you have to quit out of the game and run the Signal Ops Configuration application. It’s not a HUGE deal, but to see the difference in visuals or to reduce your display settings to increase your frames-per-second will require you to completely close out Signal Ops, make your configuration changes, and then start up the game again.
Signal Ops can be purchased for $14.99 on sites like GOG.com. If you purchase it on GOG.com, you get a handful of extras including the manual, wallpapers, avatars (small Xbox Gamertag profile-like images), and concept art from the game.
Signal Ops was reviewed on a mid-range laptop and desktop system, both running a 64-bit version of Windows 8. On the laptop I had to adjust the default video settings before getting the game to display properly — the screen was blank but I could hear the game’s audio.
Signal Ops isn’t a perfect game — it has a fair share of quirks and bugs — but I looked past those things because I really enjoyed the game’s originality. As someone who has been playing games for nearly 3 decades (you could call me an old-school gamer), I appreciate when a title comes along and offers something different, even if it isn’t a home run. For $14.99, I think it’s a win-win title. You get a fun and unique game for a cheap price. Check out the video below for a taste of this unique game.