Going wading through robots as a team of four in PvE is less immediately exciting than PvP, but picks up once you unlock tougher difficulties at level 12. Still, it's less Left 4 Dead or Borderlands and more... well, more Global Agenda than you might be hoping. Blitzing missions as part of a squad who know exactly what they're doing is satisfying, but the moment you find yourself eroding your resolve on some statistically superior arrangement of NPCs the drab design of enemies and levels begins to wear thin.
If Hi-Rez is trying to sell its game to some as a straight shooter, the bigger problem with the PvP and PvE (besides the fact that all four of the classes have trouble shooting straight) is the lack of control you have over your game. You can't simply drop into a match, you have to spawn in Dome City, make your way to the Mission select terminal and then join a queue for either PvE of a certain difficulty or PvP. There is no filtering the matches you'll join in any way, no choosing the map, and in PvP there's no picking which of the five game types you'll end up playing.
More inexplicably, after every mission you're dumped right back to Dome City to repeat this process and rejoin the queue. If you spend a mission as a defending team, you never get the chance to try your hand as an attacker. Oh, and the mission select screen also obscures your chatbox. There will be no chatting while you wait for mother game to dispense your assigned portion of fun.
You might be wondering how the MMO side of things fares: all that character progression and crafting. Well, wonder no more! It fares just like the shooting. It's unquestionably tolerable, but also a touch hamstrung by the fact that Hi-Rez wants a low-level player to be able to defeat a high-level player.
As such, levelling up tends not to mean a great deal. You either get a single new item of equipment or a skill point. Getting a new weapon can be relatively dramatic in the context of Global Agenda, but since all the weapons and items in the game are meant to be balanced (and classes tend to get some of their best gear from the start) getting new items only ever offers more variety in your loadout. Getting a skillpoint to spend on one of your three skill trees is a similar story - it's nice, but rarely anything that'll change your game.
The upgrades you can craft suffer the same fate. The huge array of different helmets and armour you can see on fellow players is actually only cosmetic. Crafting, which uses components gathered in PvE, is different. It lets you create little stat boosts to put in any of the 16 slots on your character. Crafting is also colourless, laborious, and the upgrades you can create are both invisible on your character and degrade over time.
What Hi-Rez was always trying to create with Global Agenda was a Frankenstein's Monster of a game. As the developers said in interviews, they wanted to stitch together the best parts from any number of successful games to create some unstoppable, giddy Řber-game. The way the character progression I just talked about ends up hampering the shooting is one of many examples of an error in their working.