Review – Operation: Tango
The latest game from Montreal based Clever Plays is Operation: Tango, a cooperative only spy adventure puzzle game that has two players relying on voice communication and the consequences of each other’s actions to succeed. So, does team work really make the dream work or are you really better off going it alone?
First thing to note: This game relies solely on cooperative play and voice communication and cannot be played solo. The positive in this is that the developers also understand that and only one person within the group is required to own the game.
Operation: Tango brings players on an episodic journey of six missions in the hunt for the terrorist known as Cypher. Each mission escalates in difficulty and complexity and sees the pursuing agents taken on a worldwide journey following clues that lead to the epic conclusion. The play through time is around 5, so look at roughly 9 hours if the player is keen to see both sides of the story. The thing with this game is that as the player has now seen what happens on one side of the story, the need for total cooperation is a bit less as the player has already seen how the game plays out. The linear aspects to each of the mission do stay the same for each play through, it’s just that intricacies of each change e.g., the random code may be different but the player will still find it in the same spot and input it into the same device. This making the speed of and even need for the second run dependent on the time the player has, the want to experience the other side and the achievements/trophies on offer.
The game begins with each player taking on one of two roles available in either the Hacker or Field Operative who both have unique skill sets and tasks to undertake to ensure the success of the mission. Each team requires one of each and once selected, players are thrown straight into the action with no guidance or tutorials to aide with success. This is fine as each player is already a successful and well-versed secret agent in their own right, so why would the player need said tutorial. It the real world, this reviewer found the puzzles offered varying levels of challenge, but were all solvable in their own right so a tutorial isn’t necessary. The game does offer the option of hints if the player does get stuck though.
As with similar cooperative games, each player is provided a totally different but related environment that sees actions and clues presented to one that are relevant to the other. The defining factor of Operation: Tango is that the Field Operative is located within the physical environment e.g. Storage Vault or Server Room and the Hacker is more located within a digital space e.g. train surveillance and booking system or within the World Wide Web. While totally different, these are both interrelated on many levels and the identification of key information and actions, or lack of, in one can bring positive outcomes or dire consequences in the other. An example of this is when stopping a speeding train as the Field Operative must follow the direct instructions of the Hacker to the exact letter. Moving dials, pulling levers and even mixing liquids exactly as instructed. One wrong move means certain failure. The one minor negative that I have on the puzzles is that while the majority of this felt like you were actually a secret agent operating to the timer of a ticking bomb, there were a few puzzles that felt like they didn’t fit. They were cooperative and fun puzzles but they just felt like they didn’t fit the secret agent scene.
On top of all of this is the story and while the full immersion into the puzzles of the games takes 100% of your focus, the story plays out in the cut scenes of the game and provides an easy to follow and solid storyline. The ultimate goal being the capture of Cypher and the undoing of any actions perpetrated along the way. This story is linear and the only exploring to be done is that undertaken when searching for a clue, a target or next part of the mission. This reviewer wished that there were more missions as once you’ve played both sides, the game doesn’t offer a reason to revisit.
With so much going on, especially at times on the screen of the Hacker, the player may find it a bit overwhelming but the controls for both characters work quite well, putting mission failure down to the lack of coordination and not the difficultly of the controls.
The complexities of the game definitely do not make this a game for the younger kids though and couch co-op is also out of the question as a key feature of this game relies on the player not seeing the other side of the screen. The game however is solely built for co-op and is a great ride with a mate from start to finish.
Xbox Gamer Dad for One More Game
9 – Amazing – as near to a 10 as you are going to get without it being a 10. It’s an amazing experience that just requires that little something else to make it a masterpiece. Your hard earned cash and time would be well spent here.
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Operation: Tango was reviewed on Xbox Series X and is also available for purchase on Xbox One/Series S, PlayStation 4/5 and PC.
A digital code was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. Our thoughts are ours and ours alone.