Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage Review | Set in 1969, you are Agent 49 of the Secret Service on the trail of the stolen Royale Diamond which leads to a maniacal plot to destroy the world. Will you be able to retrieve the diamond and save the planet from destruction? Developed and published by Kungfu Takeaway brings Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage which has 7 missions to beat, collectables such as mission dossiers, secret passports and tapes to collect and hidden spies to see out of your handy binoculars. Have you got what it takes to be the perfect secret hero?
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox One | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Story is fun | The story in Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage is very fun and simplistic. In a game like this, it would be very easy to overcomplicate things and in the end, they come close to making it convoluted but escapes it by being very self-aware. Evil genius wants to destroy the world and you are a secret agent set out to stop him. Breaking new ground it is not but it does not need to reinvent the wheel as it pays homage to James Bond’s timeless plots rather effortlessly.
- Music fits each level well | Whilst the sound effects of the gravel and shooting sounds are simplistic enough, the main highlight of the audio goes to the theme music for each mission, each bringing an extra level of personality to the surrounding area. From the classic secret agent-style music in the USA and opening missions to the classic tunes for Russia and Tokyo, some of the music may be steeped in stereotypes but it fits well.
- Sneaking through the levels | The real meat of the game is sneaking past guards and finding ways through the electric wire, gun turrets, and a killer shark in an island villain lair (yes it pays homage to James Bond there also). The ways the developers of Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage make sneaking extremely important is they make gunshots essentially one-hit kills for both yourself and your enemies, so there’s no way of surviving this game unless you avoid detection, which is a very clever way of making you play by its rules which is the clear intention. The only negative to the one-shot kill mechanics is the section towards the end where it’s all action and you have no choice but to go to combat. You may die often in this bit but this is splitting hairs really. They have done a fine job in making it a true espionage game.
- Collectables | The developers have added a lot of possible collectables in this game to add extra content. It depends on whether you are a completionist or an achievement hunter but in this writer’s view the collectables do add an extra layer of content and some are very difficult to find so adds a layer of difficulty on top. However, by the end, the search for these collectables does get tedious eventually.
- Puzzles | Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage does have puzzle sections to solve which is a nice touch and I didn’t expect this element of gameplay added into a title like this so it is appreciated. The drawback to this is the puzzles are rather simple to figure out and they won’t keep you stuck for any time at all. I would have made the puzzles at least a little bit taxing on the brain, get me thinking, sadly it doesn’t keep you engaged for long and it doesn’t get remotely difficult to solve.
What we Disliked
- Performance issues | The real villain of this game are the bugs that I have unearthed during my playthrough of this game. Within the opening 15-minute mark I was treated to a game-breaking bug which required me to shoot all the power boxes so it would unlock the next area but I accidentally died on electric fencing so I respawned in a closed-off area without my pistol which I needed to shoot the power boxes. Essentially that stuck me in the room and I couldn’t retreat as the gate closed on me, meaning I couldn’t advance further so I had to restart. Other bugs include where the guards couldn’t shoot me. I was completely invincible for one mission but this bug though gave me the biggest laugh I had during the game (unintentionally, of course) where I mocked and danced around the misfiring guard and mocked him to his face. It’s such a shame this game was let down by these performance faults and I wish they were rectified before launch.
- Humour misses the mark | Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage attempts to be funny in many parts as it tries a triple and quadruple agent joke which doesn’t hit home at all. It tries to parody James Bond’s Casino Royale and this section didn’t bring me any laughs at all. All the laughs this game brought me were from unintentional performance errors (as above) and that saddens me, unfortunately.
- Voice acting | Normally I would have put this in with the humour section but I believe this deserves a moan of its own. The voice acting could have been improved in my opinion. A lot of the characters are very bad stereotypes of the country. The Japanese characters sound so bad it’s borderline xenophobia and the Italian agents sound like Super Mario knockoffs. Agent 49 sounds like a poor, lifeless imitation of Sam from Sam and Max, without the laughs and the charm of course. And the accompanying agents 21 and 22 are very boring and nondescript.
- Length of game | The length of the game is extremely short. I completed the game in 2 hours for all 7 mission levels but that was me taking Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage to its fullest extent so some people will be able to complete this in an hour if they rush through it. This game could have done with fleshing out a bit more extending the sneaking areas and making the mission areas a lot bigger as currently they are the size of a postage stamp.
- Visuals are blocky | The visuals in this game are very blocky and wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1999, not 2023 which is a shame and could have been greatly improved on. The mission areas do resemble the areas in which they are based but I would have preferred something a bit more refined and polished. There was a section of this game in a cutscene where it showed a close-up of Agent 49’s face and it had no facial features at all – no nose, eyes or expression – just a mouth. That image will haunt my nightmares for weeks to come. The one positive about the visuals is the heads-up display and the pause/title screen menus which look crisp and smart but they do not make up for the ugly in-game visuals.
How long to beat the story | 2 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 2-3 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Secret Agent or Perfect Dark
Overall, I was really wanting to love this game and the major sneaking and gameplay elements were making me like Secret Agent: Cold War Espionage up to the point the bugs and glitches started. It’s a real shame because overall it’s not a bad game but bad choices in the decisions about what the voice acting would sound like, performance issues and the blocky visuals prevent it from turning an ok game into a great game.
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