Review by blueninja4444

"You're In Charge of the Denied Ops... Are you up to this FPS experience?"

Ok, bud, the world's in trouble. Third world countries are getting their hands on weapons and information we don't want them to have, and it's up to you and your wise cracking, polar opposite buddy to save us all in a first person shooter, with lots of stuff to destroy and blow up, only available on the next-gen systems. Think you can handle the challenge? Well let's debrief this mission a little more. Conflict: Denied Ops from Pivotal Games gets broken down like this....

Graphics: 6/10
This review is for the PlayStation 3 version on Conflict: Denied Ops (which was also made for the XBOX 360 and PC) and it's easy to tell straight from the beginning that this games doesn't live up to the standards of some similar games on the same consoles with much better graphics. In fact, there's games on the PlayStation 2 and first XBOX that look better than this, as far as details and environments go. Not to mention how horrible fires and explosions look. I kept trying to change my smoke grenade to a frag grenade, only to realize I was using a frag grenade the whole time.

But in the interest of fairness I will say, the whole game doesn't look as bad as the fire, and the environments differ enough to keep the look fresh, from arctic Russia to the inside of warehouses to the sunny streets of South America. Resistance: Fall of Man looks much better than this, and didn't that come out quite some time before this game? I thought so....

Sound: 6/10
This is a shootin' game, with lots of destruction, and lots of explosions and lots of death, so the sound probably isn't far off from what you'd expect. However, you might find the voice acting a little disappointing and, at times, drowned out by the on-screen action. To make it worse, there's no sub-titles option so missing something, thanks to poor voice acting or sound editing can be a little bit of a downer. The enemies are bad stereotypes, but then again, so are the good guys. But to save the score, the BGM is good stuff, and fit's the mood. From the time you start the game you'll notice the impressive BGM before you even press start.

Controls: 8/10
It's your basic FPS, nothing you've never seen here before. R2 shots, R1 tosses a gernade, the right stick looks around, the left stick moves, and you know the routine. It's pretty simple, but there's no method or training to get you used to the controls. If you wanna know what does what you have to either press start and go to the change the controls screen or look inside the booklet that comes with the game. You would think a game like this would have the opening level set up to teach you some basics....

Story: 3/10
Ok, so, the box says you lead two hardened CIA paramilitary operatives into intense missions set across South America, Africa and Siberia. Though the game itself says that Lang, one of the before mentioned two, is a fresh recruit. The game tries not to include a whole lot of story, and if that's the goal then mission is completed! You and your buddy take orders from an unseen commanding officer and all three of you act very bitter towards each other in “tough love” jokingly kind of way, but really the constant insults gets old and at times feels a little unnatural, like when an enemy tank is coming at you and your commanding office just says over the comm, “You're about as alone as a 400 pound virgin on prom night.”

There is also no mention as to what the sub-title to this conflict means “Denied Ops”. Your two man team nor the missions they receive are never referred to as Denied Ops. Though to give credit to the story, one mission usually leads to the next story wise, I.E. you're in Africa and you hack a computer with vital information and it tells you that the enemy has been making deals in Russia, so next thing you know you're off to Russia. But in all honesty, there's not much of a story, which is a shame because the case, instruction manual, and even the title would imply that this game has a story but alas we get nothing but insults from our buddies.

Gameplay: 8/10
Ahh the meat and potatoes of any video game! The gameplay! In this case Graves would be the meat and Lang would be the potatoes. Or any way you want to look at it. The two playable characters in this game are complete opposites, not just in personality and appearance but in combat style as well. This affects the game play greatly. Since Graves is the stealthy sniping expert and Lang is the loud mouth machine gunner/ rocketeer. And of course, the first thing you should know, with two main playable characters like that is that this game is indeed coop meaning you can team up with a buddy, or stranger, or whatever and tackle the terrorists together.

This opposites game adds certain elements of game play and strategy, since you can not give up your role even if you wanted to. Tired of being a sniper? You and your buddy wanna run in there guns a blazing? Too bad, no assault rifles for you. So really you have to think about how you want to go about certain missions, where you want your sniper to stay so that he's high enough and concealed enough to provide cover fire for Lang. And Lang... Well he doesn't have to do much thinking, just a lot of shooting. Basically he just decided “Assault Rifle or Rocket Launcher?”

Also when playing co-op, other decision must be made, like which one of you will steer the army tank in those vehicle missions and who will man the turrets? If your buddy dies should you go out there ASAP to revive him or do you risk going solo for a few minutes to take out more guys before they can get you too?

This game operates much like other First Person Shooters on the next-gen systems; There's no classic health bar system, but as you take damage your vision becomes a blur and the way to recover is simply staying out of harms' way for a few seconds. Ammo is unlimited, except grenades, and if I'm wrong it's because I'm playing on easy. There is no “cover” button, that lets you pop out and shoot like in Rainbow Six Vegas, though it is annoying because you can clearly see your CPU controlled allies popping out from cover to make shots. That feature would've helped this game, but at least your sniper has a camera mounted on his gun so he can fire concealed shots... Though ironically you can still be hit when firing from there, even if the bad guys don't have a shot on you. It seems like if they shoot your gun you will lose health. And it doesn't help that your CPU buddy (or real life buddy for that matter) occasionally ruins stealthier missions by randomly firing shots at the wall, as if he were able to detect an enemy behind that wall.

Now the A.I, you see, the enemy doesn't have much A.I. They usually just stand there and fire at you, or, occasionally, they will flee from you at all costs to no where. Your CPU buddy doesn't do much better either. To make up for this lack of logic, it seems like enemies can shoot through anything you hide behind and even worse take bullets to the face and skull without dying.

Overall, when it comes to game play, I would think you would enjoy the game more if you had a real person to play coop with or if you have online capabilities. The single player, though almost the same, just seems to lack some adrenaline and strategy of having a real person to give orders to and kill enemies with.

Replay Value: 5/10
Conflict: Denied Ops is generally a fast paced shoot ‘em up game that doesn't last very long, so it's kind of a coin toss on weather you'd find the game enjoyable enough for a second play through, possibly spending more time as the character you spent less time as in single player mode, or playing as the other character you didn't play as in coop mode, meaning you'll have different strategies and tasks this time around. If you have multiplayer you may squeeze more fun out of this, as I believe there are online death matches and stuff, other wise you may just sell this game after a play through or two.

Overall: 6
All in all Conflict: Denied Ops tried to find success changing the formula of the Conflict series, but in the end falls short of making it's own distinct splash in the Next Gen FPS market. The game has about as much personality as the character stereotypes it tries to portray, but, as I mentioned earlier, if you have a buddy to play this game with, or an online connection, I recommend buying or renting this game. If you're looking for a fun solo FPS with a smart AI CPU buddy, then look somewhere else. Conflict as a FPS? Denied......

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/19/08

Game Release: Conflict: Denied Ops (US, 02/12/08)

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