AV­ENUE Q

EDGE - - PLAY -

As well as reshuf­fling rooms, the game’s al­go­rithm de­ploys safes con­tain­ing for­mu­lae that un­lock sin­gle-mis­sion boosts, blue­prints for new guns, and in­tel to sell on for cash (another out­let for Dy­namighty’s satir­i­cal eye). The best drop, how­ever, is not ran­dom. Beat the score set by another player in one mis­sion and their corpse will be se­creted in the next, ready to loot. Cash is scarce, es­pe­cially since ammo is ex­pen­sive, so the bonus vastly ratch­ets up the sat­is­fac­tion of out­do­ing your friends. way out as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble. Un­til, that is, things hit cri­sis point, and Coun­ter­Spy loses its head.

Rag­dolling bod­ies are sub­ject to clip­ping is­sues – a guard pulled silently from a high ledge might dan­gle an arm through the plat­form where he comes to rest – and the trickle of ex­plo­sive firearms into the clumsy hands of the fast-pro­lif­er­at­ing guards makes fly­ing corpses ubiq­ui­tous. Gun­play grows in­creas­ingly loud and chaotic, and since many fights aren’t op­tional, that makes stealth tricky at best. It’s fur­ther com­pli­cated by the fickle AI, which will of­ten de­duce your pres­ence from any dis­tur­bance, in­clud­ing a clip­ping limb, and ra­dio it in. The host na­tion’s per­sis­tent DEFCON level then rises un­til the ra­dio op­er­a­tor is si­lenced, or a cam­paign-end­ing count­down is ini­ti­ated. In re­sponse, you’ll have to scrab­ble across si­los like Maxwell Smart, facecheck­ing into cam­era paths and ri­fle bar­rels – with surveil­lance and death both ways to boost the DEFCON level fur­ther. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of anti-head­shot hel­mets frus­trates, too, the ex­tra bul­lets re­quired to put th­ese marks down all but cer­tain to break your stealth chain, even when saved for last and silently elim­i­nated.

It’s a cas­cade of mis­steps that need­lessly sab­o­tages the late game, and ev­ery dif­fi­culty above Nor­mal. A patch could fix so much – after all, Dy­namighty’s blue­print for great­ness is plain to see. Un­like a good spy, how­ever, it flubs its fi­nal ex­e­cu­tion.

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