Review by Arctic_Sunrise

"Worth a rental, but don't buy it"

Lots of things exploding. Every other word a swearword. Bullets raining down from a dozen directions. Horrible stereotypes.

It sounds like a low-budget guilty-pleasure action movie, doesn't it?

And that's precisely what you get with Denied Ops, in game format. It's not great, it's not even good. But it's okay, and as long as you approach it with this expectation, there is some short-term fun to be had here.

Denied Ops features a storyline we've all seen a hundred times before - evil dictator with designs on world domination has his hands on some WMDs, with only two people available to stop him. In this instance, those two are an unlikely duo named Graves and Lang. The former is the grizzled veteran. The latter is the mouthy rookie. Stereotypes galore, the two have no particular charisma or engaging relationship. The dialogue between them is delivered with all the acting ability of those same terrible action movies. Despite this though, you find yourself warming to their flat characters, if only because their simplicity lends itself to the general premise of the game - blowing stuff up and not caring who knows it.

It is this simplistic gameplay that is the game's saving grace that makes it rental-worthy. You can switch between Graves or Lang with a button press, and each has his own weaponry - Graves a sniper rifle, Lang a heavy machine gun and rocket launcher. Those weapons obtain upgrades throughout the game. You run from point A to point B, and you shoot everything that moves. You blow everything up that doesn't move. You can order your teammate to shoot/perform an action/destroy something while you're busy. It never gets more in-depth that this. Nothing is fiddly, and the AI is serviceable enough to keep you from having to babysit your comrade, if nothing astounding. There are a few vehicles that you can hop in and use to lay waste to your enemies, though these are few and far between. It's blunt, unashamed explosive entertainment, and it's enough to amuse you for a rainy Sunday.

Level location is varied enough to hold your interest, ranging from frozen whaling stations to African towns to terrorist-controlled oil tankers. Each linear affair is stuffed with enemies and generic objectives - save hostages, defuse bomb; all in a day's work for the hardcore and recreational gamer alike. Nothing here is going to push you to controller-breaking-point, but with the game's many flaws, this average level of difficulty is quite welcome. The graphics cannot hold a candle to the likes of Grand Theft Auto 4, or Gears of War 2, certainly, but neither are they atrocious, and you won't be reaching for the sick bucket because of any outright shoddy visuals. It also moves smoothly, without any noticeable slowdown, despite the frequent explosions. All of this is accompanied by a regrettably forgettable soundtrack which has a nasty habit of cutting out or fading at random. I wholeheartedly advise sticking on some of your own music while blasting through this.

Denied Ops features a multiplayer mode, but it is predictably average and without the variety required of modern games to hold the interest of the audience. Friends might be able to leech a couple of hours of amusement out of the Co-Op mode, but in reality, the game's anti-boredom qualities lie in the single-player.

The Good

- Explosive, run-and-gun single player entertaining for a few hours
- Levels are varied, if cliche in practice
- Straightforward controls
- Blowing stuff up is fun

The Bad

- Voice acting is corny and stereotypical
- You can't pick up enemy weapons
- There's nothing in the slightest bit out of the ordinary

The Downright Horrible

- Soundtrack is puke-worthy


If you're bored and you need something to do for a few hours, rent this game. Don't spend your hard-earned money on buying it, by any means, but take it for what it is and don't expect any surprises and you'll get some entertainment out of this.


Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 04/13/09

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

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