Global Agenda: Free Agent
Global Agenda: Free Agent is a science-fiction themed MMO shooter. Choose from one of four classes and fight back against an oppressive government or slaughter other players through fast-paced combat.
|Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Type: MMO Shooter
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Pros: +Fast, action-oriented gameplay. +Varied PvP options. +Multiple skill trees with many options.
Cons: -Developers have ceased updates. -Small community. -Known latency issues.
Global Agenda: Free Agent Overview
In the 22nd century, Earth is devastated by the Third Great War and ruled by an Orwellian government called the Commonwealth. Those in power use artificially intelligent (AI) drones to control Earth's dwindling population. Resources are scarce and the future looks bleak. Enter the world of Global Agenda: Free Agent and rebel against the oppressive regime. Become an elite operative and fight for your freedom using high-tech weaponry. Featuring a third-person camera view, players select from a variety of PvP arenas in this hub-based shooter. Join an agency (guild) and compete in 10v10 ladder arenas where winning teams receive unique materials at the end of a season. Or, venture into the larger scale persistent world and engage in PvE combat.
Global Agenda: Free Agent Key Features:
- Free-to-play – ability to earn all of the game’s current items without spending real money.
- Competitive Guild-centric Ladder Mode - 10v10 arena matches fought for resources.
- Unique Genre – FPS combat in an MMO setting.
- Original Blend of PvP and PvE Elements – third-person FPS shooter including both a hub and persistent world.
- Class Variety – choose betweeen four different classes of assault, medic, recon, and robotics.
Global Agenda: Free Agent Screenshots
Global Agenda: Free Agent Featured Video
Global Agenda: Free Agent Classes
Assault - Charging the frontlines without fear, the Assault class is the Marine of Global Agenda. Using heavy weapons and armor, they unleash serious damage that's difficult to match. Their focus on overwhelming might comes at a price; they are not versatile. Nevertheless, they crush their enemies through AOE moves and devastating firepower. Assaults typically fill the role of the tank in a party.
Medics - Medics are the only class in the game that directly heal other players. While their primary role is to keep teammates alive, they decimate enemies using the antithesis of medicine—poison. Pairing a medic with an Assault class creates an unrivaled duo that can mow down legions of robotic warriors.
Recon - Mimicking rogue classes featured in other MMOs, the Recon class stealthily dismembers Commonwealth machines. They are considered the most versatile class and the most popular. Using bionics and jetpacks, they maneuver themselves to vantage points to line up shots with their sniper rifle. Additionally, they can also sneak up and backstab enemies before machines have the chance to compute what is happening.
Robotics - By partnering with machines, the Robotics class yearns to turn AI on the Commonwealth. Using force fields, turrets, and remote-controlled robots they secure the upper hand on the battlefield and obliterate legions of robotic armies. They are the most defense-oriented class and are one of the most effective classes in PvE.
Global Agenda: Free Agent Review
By Sean Sullivan
Global Agenda: Free Agent is a free-to-play hub-based shooter MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) developed by Hi-Rez Studios using Unreal Engine 3. The game went live on February 1, 2010 and switched from a subscription-based model to a free-to-play model in April 2011. It can be download from Steam as well as from Hi-Rez Studio's official website.
Set in the year 2155, Global Agenda: Free Agent paints a bleak landscape. The third World War has ravaged the Earth, rendering most of the planet uninhabitable. A world government called the Commonwealth rules through brute force. Namely, enforcing their edicts with an army of artificially intelligent (AI) drones. However, there are some who rebel. As an elite operative, you are charged with safeguarding what little humanity remains in an Orwellian world. Choose from one of four classes—Robotics, Medic, Recon, or Assault—and fight back against the Commonwealth.
Awakening From A Long Sleep
The game starts with a cinematic fire-fight that paves the way for the tutorial and foundation of the story. Your character is isolated in a fluidic chamber—a warped government experiment to create super-soldiers. A fight between government-allied soldiers and rebels commence. Only one soldier survives to see you freed from captivity. Your first mission is to escape Commonwealth Prime.
Movement is simple for anyone who has played an MMORPG; standard rules apply. You move your character with WASD keys, press spacebar to jump, run up to walls and press spacebar to watch your character scale it like the Monkey King. I turned around and their was a gold exclamation hovering above an NPC's head to indicate a quest. By default, interacting with NPC's—or any interaction—requires pressing "U." It's a bit of an odd choice and I don't understand when developers refuse to acquiesce and assign"Use" to "E."
Quests are dished out and it's not necessary to pay attention to text to complete them. Once a quest is accepted, an arrow indicator system shows you the best path to your objective with a snake-like trail for players to follow.
Learning the Ropes
Upon following the arrow indicator, you're quickly tossed into combat. My first weapon was an Energyburn Mace, and I was itching to clobber AI robots. Melee weapons allow players to both attack and block. Left click swings while right-click blocks. Attacking from behind awards additional damage. However, having an opportunity to attack from behind is rare as enemies detect you regardless of which way they are facing. An interesting feature of blocking is that for every melee attack blocked the attacker takes damage. Kamikaze robots can be dealt with by letting machines damage themselves swinging at your shield.
Shielding uses power—Global Agenda: Free Agent's version of mana. Every time an action is used (besides melee) it draws down on your power. Once that action ceases power regenerates. Power is displayed under your health in the top-left corner of the screen and starts at 100. One of the first items you receive is the jetpack, which quickly drains energy as you hold down spacebar to zip around. It's not just shields and energy devices that devour power. Because there are no bullets in Global Agenda's future, ranged weapons rely on power as well.
Guns fire energy-based bolts that would look at home in Star Wars. They come in two settings. Left click fires at the area designated by the onscreen crosshair while right click enters scoped mode, allowing for long-range shots. Furthermore, guns do not have unlimited range. Their energy fizzles out so you must be within a certain distance of enemies before making a shot.
Terminating Commonwealth AI
As I mowed down NPC's with my HEL-TAC rifle I got a sense of satisfaction watching them blown apart like ragdolls in the wind. I quickly learned that managing energy is central to the gameplay and adds to the tactical drama. You cannot just hold down left click to eliminate enemies. Do I use my jetpack to sneak up to an enemy and smash their face in? Or do I save my energy, pick a vantage point, and pop heads from a distance? The choice is player driven but each class has its specialties to cater to a particular playstyle.
Gameplay can be rather fast-paced but enemies are easy enough. Waves of robots run at you in the early stages of the game. Throwing up my shield and a turret I ripped through them, transistors flying in every direction. Even when they are firing streams of energy blasts at you, their missiles are easy enough to dodge. I rarely felt like NPC's were offering much trouble.
The environments offer plenty of cover any time you do find yourself in a desperate situation. Recovering health is as easy as using the Rapid Epidermal Synthesizing Tool—or as I like to call it “R." Pressing "R" places a life-giving field at your feet that also slows your character's movements. It's never a good strategy to use "R" in the midst of combat. Take cover, recover, and get back into the fight. Dishing out large numbers to kill enemies is more important than hiding.
After playing, I learned that the game has almost no RNG (random number generator). The same hit from the same weapon in the same context will always dish out the same damage. To my dismay I also learned that there are no critical hits, or headshots. I spent time lining up heads wondering why I wasn't seeing larger numbers scroll across my screen. What's the point of sniper rifles if I can't watch heads pop like balloons at a birthday party?
The Future is Boring
For a game from 2010 I'm willing to make some exceptions. Global Agenda: Free Agent looks and feels good. I didn't notice any stuttering while playing and my FPS stayed safely above 60 for my entire playthrough. While the desolate backdrop of a war-torn world is commonplace in any science fiction story, the game fails to utilize its design. What's left is a world that is as bleak as it is boring.
Entering the Sonoran desert I was greeted by the humidity and a forever-setting sun. However, there is no life in the environment. The environment does not even have sound effects. A subtle soundtrack would have made a huge difference. The world is dead, as dead as the six billion people that perished during World War 3. Not even silicon-based life made an appearance for me to pulverize. I felt like I was in the MAKO from Mass Effect, exploring ancient planets and dead civilizations. Unfortunately, this game wasn't designed for open-world combat. It is, at its foundation, a hub-based shooter.
The persistent world MMO areas were an afterthought. So, to truly test Global Agenda: Free Agent you have to play it for its core. From the main city, called Dome City, players can choose to enter a number of terminals for PVP and PVE missions. Missions force players to cooperate towards objectives. As the game was designed as a hub-based shooter, it is through hub-missions that Global Agenda is meant to shine.
If gloating over other players corpses is your muse then Mercenary Mode is the calling for you. Two teams of ten players go head-to-head in five different game modes where the secondary objective is to crush your enemy. The first game mode is control where two teams must fight to control objective points on the map and hold them until they rack up 800 points. Payload is an asymmetrical map where one team escorts an objective while the other team uses every gun, explosive, and machine to disrupt them. In Demolition, each team has their own mech, that any player can drive, and both teams must destroy the enemies mech to secure victory. In Breach, one team must secure three objective points before the time runs out. Finally, in Scramble, there are many objective points on the map but only one becomes active at a time; the first team to secure and capture the active objective three times wins.
For players who don't like to kill fellow players there are PVE missions called Special Ops. They can be played solo or cooperatively with up to three friends. There are four difficulties with increasingly difficult enemies barring your way to the boss. A clock countdowns from 20 minutes to reach the instance boss. Then, players are given only four minutes to defeat the boss.
Agency vs. Agency
In Agency vs. Agency (also called Conquest Mode), two teams of 10 players lock-on to one another to secure territory. The teams represent player-run agencies that are producing wealth. The more territories controlled, the more wealth that is produced. Scores are not tallied until the end of a season and then the top 10 agencies are awarded for their accumulation. Agency vs. Agency is the ladder bracket of Global Agenda: Free Agent. You must be in an agency to compete.
Where is everybody?
In its glory days, Global Agenda: Free Agent may have been a hotbed of PVP, cooperative missions, and parties setting out to tackle overwhelming bosses but those days are over. The game is not populated. Global Agenda: Free Agent is a game that thrives on cooperative play. It doesn't work as a solo adventure. There's not enough to do. The players I met who still enjoy the game seem to be holding on to the nostalgia of a game that was an empire in its own right, but has fallen very far from grace.
Agenda Points and Tokens
We can't end this review without talking about the Cash Shop. Always a point of controversy, the cash shop in Global Agenda: Free Agent is largely irrelevant unless you need instant gratification. Agenda Points can be purchased and exchanged for weapons, armor, cosmetic flair, pets, consumables, and other in-game items.You can also buy a booster which speeds up progress by increasing your token and daily XP increments. Trading in cash for XP and items might matter in a game that's populated. But that's not this game.
Final Verdict - Fair
Global Agenda: Free Agent is a game that has seen better days. Combat is fun, for a time, but quickly becomes repetitive and laborious. Without headshots, critical hits, or a proper feedback mechanism for melee weapons, engaging enemies is unfulfilling and leaves me wanting more. However, Global Agenda does run like a charm. Any computer released today should be able to run Global Agenda: Free Agent without any hiccups. The plot is lacking for any serious solo-player to find something to love. What started with a solid foundation—even for being cliché—quickly devolved into a world that feels uninspired and patchwork. A dwindling community robs the game of its strength, a hub-based multiplayer shooter. It's only worth downloading if you have a group of friends to play with. In its waning light, it feels as desolate as a post-apocalyptic world. I can only recommend Global Agenda: Free Agent to players with an unrivaled love for MMO's or a bored group of friends.
Global Agenda: Free Agent Videos
Global Agenda: Free Agent Links
Global Agenda: Free Agent System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP SP2+, Windows Vista SP1+
CPU: 2.4+ Ghz Single-Core Processor
Video Card: 256mb video ram or better with Shader Model 3.0+ (GeForce 8 series or higher/Radeon HD3000 series or higher)
RAM: 2GB RAM (3GB RAM required for Vista/Windows 7)
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB Free Space
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
Video Card: ATI or Nvidia graphics card with 1GB video ram or better and Shader Model 3.0+ support (Nvidia GeForce GTX 560+ or ATI Radeon 6950+).
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB free
Global Agenda: Free Agent Music & Soundtrack
Global Agenda: Free Agent Additional Information
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Game Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Launch Date: February 1, 2010
Free-To-Play Date: April 14, 2014
Closed Beta Date: July 24, 2009
Open Beta Date: January 7, 2010
Development History / Background:
Global Agenda was developed by American video-game developer Hi-Rez studios. On February 1, 2010 the game went live and initial pricing reflected the game's essence as a hybrid between a hub-based shooter and persistent MMO. Beginning June 25, 2010, Global Agenda transitioned to a subscription-free platform, just before the release of the expansion Sandstorm. Further refining the subscription model, Hi-Rez announced the second expansion Free Agent that transitioned the game to a free-to-play model. A sequel was announced in October 2012, but has been on hiatus as Hi-Rez focuses their attention on Smite.