The much-anticipated sequel to Peacekeepers: Prompt Deployment expands the franchise from bureaucratic decision-making to all-out observation with binoculars.
Realistic, indecisive AI • Responsive binoculars • Blue hats • Sound design
Can’t understand what Ban Ki- moon is saying half the time
At the end of Peacekeepers: Prompt Deployment, players left an eight-hour committee meeting wondering “What next?” Well, I’m happy to report that Peacekeepers 2:Tactical Observation picks up from that exact point and answers the question in no uncertain terms: “I don’t know. Let’s watch and see.”
At the game open the player finds himself (girls don’t play video games) in an immersive world of realistic bureaucracy coupled with a can-do spirit that’s kept in check by the special interests of the Security Council.
While locked in intense negotiations with the Russians and Chinese, the player must make concessions that allow the Russians to freely annex the Republic of Georgia while the Chinese censor Google and execute dissidents. This is done by pressing the X button repeatedly for 27 minutes. After those and other concessions have been made and Sino-Russian obstacles removed, an agreement is reached that UN peacekeeping forces will be sent to the troubled region of Sudanistan. This fictional nation, which is based on current events, has been struggling under a civil war and the cruel oppression of a theocratic government that is not Islamic.
After issuing a resolution condemning Israel for something, troops are dispatched to the region – and that’s when the fun really starts.
From high up in your tower you can scan the horizon with some of the most realistic binoculars in any video game to-date. The binoculars can zoom in and out, focus and be stored in a dust-proof box, just like real binoculars. Want to see what’s going on over to the left? Just push your controller’s left stick to the left. What about to the right? Just push your controller’s stick to the right. If you’re so inclined, you can keep turning to the right until you’ve gone a full 360 degrees – allowing you to see everything around you!
The developers have gone to great lengths to recreate what you might see in your binoculars. It might be a rusty car. A sheep. An old boot. Perhaps a shrub. Ooh! Did you just see gun-toting militiamen? Nope, it’s a group of happy school children carrying an easel.
On the odd occasion when you do see something truly out of the ordinary you have the ability to either watch it or look somewhere else. If you watch it, you’ll be asked to file a detailed report which will then be placed in a manila folder. In one instance, I thought for sure that I was watching several people being executed by government paramilitary forces. I used the right trigger to phone my superiors who repeatedly asked me if I was sure that’s what I saw. When I hung up, there was no trace of the gunmen or victims – if there even were any – so I focused my amazing binoculars on a feral dog I saw rummaging through highly detailed trash. Again, the designers spared no expense.
One of the things I like most about Peacekeepers 2 is that you don’t have guns. I mean – sure, you have guns (if you select the third-person viewing option you will see one slung over your shoulder) but you don’t actually use them. They just exist to try and deter bad behavior. The game design is so detailed that if you turn the right way sunlight reflects off of your constantly-shouldered rifle.
In the end, Peacekeepers 2: Tactical Observation is the most realistic first-person non-shooter on the market. With two games under their belt already, the developers have such a head start on the competition that it’ll be a miracle if anyone else manages to break into this genre. We’ll see how Activision fares in 2011 with the release of Recalled from Duty: Modern Troop Withdrawal.