Review by hoz
There is an adequate picture showing the missions target with a short piece of text that is related to the mission. The picture could perhaps benefit from a border, but it's not required.
The briefing is very well documented with loads of information, all aspects are in working order. Be careful you don't suffer from information overload! The briefing is sectioned off nicely making it easy to read yet contains all the information you'll need along with plenty of background data which helps support the storyline.
You have a limited weaponspool selection in the lobby. The weapons are balanced in favor of iron sights with a couple of sniper / scoped weapons. There are some launchers here too and I suggest that you take a few rockets with you!
The author has really taken advantage of the new parameters options in the multiplayer lobby. There are many options here and you may regret skipping past this screen. Wiper has included options such as skill level, game mode, time of day, grass height and a few others. These options also exist while playing the mission in single player mode, if you'd rather play by yourself.
You're inserted via chopper and left to find the wheeled transportation left for you. These locations will always be randomized for each play through. Be sure to reference the map each time you begin to familiarize yourself with the surroundings. You'll need to find and use the truck to transport you and your squad within range of the General, then battle your way in. Look for the red transparent marker.
On the lowest enemy settings (25%) the battle is fairly easy, with just 3 semi-decent players the mission objective can be completed in under an hour. As a leader you have to take your time and command the squad, be sure to coordinate with other grunts and communication with the other players is really an asset.
Crank up the difficulty and then look out! You will want to use this option to play with skilled players.
While playing multiplayer, one person must always be in the leader position. This is a bit of a downfall in this mission, because rather than using the normal respawn, the mission uses team switching. This has the side effect of the leader position not always following the default leader. So when you die its possible your squad leader doesn't know what to do. This can be easily addressed by re-switching to the leader. I assume this is done for the compatibility of single player mode and it doesn't take away from the mission, I just found it an annoying quirk.
After playing and completing the mission over and over we were able to come up with a strategy that worked well for us. I won't divulge the strategy other then to say... stay close to your team-mates, coordinate and be sure you are leading the squad.
The author includes a small camera cut away scene as you are being lifted out of battle. There are some mission credits displayed and all in all the outro is simple and done in good taste.
Wiper has spent a great deal of time developing Cipher to include complete randomization of all elements! You can't get much more replay value than in this mission. Each and every time you run through the mission you need to re-acquaint yourself with the environment and surroundings. Not to mention that the mission can be enjoyed by the most basic players through to the highly skilled players.
My friends and I have had a great deal of entertainment playing Cipher and if you're a COOP mission type player you can expect to get a great deal of enjoyment out of playing this mission. We found that with difficulty mode: easy, with 2 - 3 players, you can expect the mission to last about an hour. On the harder difficulty levels, expect the mission to last much longer and factor in less time for the number of real players you have. Cipher is a great dynamic mission and I would highly recommend trying it out!