Conflict: Denied OpsESRB:
Category: First Person Shooter
Developer – Eidos Interactive
Publisher - Pivotal Games
2-16 players online
HDTV 720p/ 1080i/ 1080p
I haven’t played very much on my PS3 lately. Other than my Blu-Ray movies I only have a couple of titles to play as I spend a lot of time on Sony’s competitor’s online offering. Conflict: Denied Ops is a title I hoped would follow the Conflict legacy. The series in the past was squad based and was one of the better co-op series produced in its day. This latest iteration is a diversion from the core gameplay that made previous conflict games fun. The squad based game now no longer, so I wondered what developers Pivotal Games and the producers Eidos Interactive could do to make the game carry on it’s good name.
Visually, Conflict is somewhat disappointing. The game looks like an early next-generation title, which is fine, but unfortunately it could also pass for a late PS2 or Xbox game. Sure it supports high definition all the way up to 1080p, but what good is that when it has unappealing bland textures? At times the dirt on the ground can blend in with some of the buildings giving the frame a muddy and very ugly look. I also found that I lost the gun a few times as it reflected the ground and camouflaged the barrel way too much. The character models are decent but they seem a bit too shiny, like they are lubed up with huge amounts of sunscreen. Mind you some of the explosions and surrounding foliage can look pretty nice, but they can get a bit repetitive. The actual architecture and level design are quite uninspired too, with a lot of repetition happening throughout the level. The game also has multiple areas of clipping and significant signs of slowdown to it. It made for a quite an interesting experience in regards to fine aiming at times, but most gamers should be able to compensate for it. It’s too bad as I was really looking forward to the series visual jump on the PS3; however this was not the case.
The games voice work scattered throughout the game is pretty funny at times but overall it is quite forgettable. Although decently done the dialogue is confined to awful movie stereotypes, with Graves being the grizzled veteran who's gruff but lovable and Lang being the cocky young dude who adds "mother****er" to the end of every sentence.
The music is just as obnoxious as it is generic rock that sounds as if it belongs back in the mid 80’s as the cheese level is pretty large. However it does manage to fit into the game in a very strange way.
The sound effects are decent but they lack the punch of say Call of Duty 4. The guns tend to sound alike even though they are different; however the explosions are good, as are the crashes. I think the game could have used a bit more in the way variety as it could have helped the gameplay to include some uber sounds. As a whole it’s more than adequate but far from perfect.
Conflict Ops user-friendly interface is one of a very few redeeming factors. The game’s two main characters are interchangeable as you switch between Graves and Lang with the circle button while commanding the AI character with L1 and L2. While using Lang, you aim and press L1 to order Graves to provide covering fire, while L2 tells him to either follow or stay put. The covering fire system works fine, but don’t forget to press L2 when you're leaving an area otherwise you'll wander down the road and into a firefight and discover your support is still back at the last area. The result is almost certain death. I’m not sure why he would stay behind but he does and it is annoying. It’s like he gets locked into the covering mode and stays locked, but you would think once the threat has been dealt with he would move on with you. If you press the circle button to switch to him you'll find he's just standing in the middle of the room you cleared out five minutes ago, daydreaming like a bored child staring off into space. This happens all the time, and it’s extremely frustrating. The game has a healing mode between the two characters that reminded me of Gears of War. When you or your partner is down you have two choices: Find your downed companion and press X to fix him up via a needle or stay as you’re near dead bloke and hold L2 to summon your partner to your side. The latter rarely works though because he's half a mile away in a room you emptied of terrorists 20 minutes ago.
Graves has a sniper rifle and Lang has a rocket launcher and machine gun. The game does try to play up their different personalities, reminding me of the older movie “Tango and Cash” and many others in the same genre. The two keep the same weapons throughout the game with a few upgrades and add-ons, but they never are able to swap out their guns respectively, giving the game a bit a linear feel. Denied Ops also has quite a lot of things to blow up. The levels are full of gas or propane tanks and barrels of some kind of fuel which all explode quite easily. Most people will probably play the game with Lang, thanks to his rocket launcher (which you can’t really aim but you’ll pretty much blow everything up) and machine gun combo. Lang will also have access to a grenade launcher add on later in the game. Graves’ sniper rifle on the other hand works, but not very well. It was extremely tough to hit targets with any consistent accuracy with him. Point blank shots for some reason would not register, upping the frustration level. Even with repeated uses the sniper rifle was horribly inaccurate so I ended up playing as Lang for most of the game.
Conflict: Denied Ops throws in some vehicle segments throughout the game. You can take control such vehicles as hovercrafts and tanks to name a few. Controlling the latter is pretty cool given it’s a huge and virtually indestructible vehicle which you can use to unleash hell on almost anything or anyone. Who wouldn’t love that? The hovercraft is cool too, but not as much as the tank. For some reason you aren’t allowed to switch to the gunners seat and have the AI steer for you, so you really can’t run amok like the tank. Unfortunately most of the game’s overall control feels, not just the vehicles, feels a bit off. The steering is sloppy, aiming is very tough at best, and there is no support for the Sixaxis controller.
Conflict Ops has multi-player functions where 1- 4 players can play together, or up 16 players can play online. The game also has a two-player cooperative mode, which you can even play online. This is easily the game’s other saving grace and something I tried to spend most of my time on. The flaws with the AI buddy are largely gone with another friend. This mode is by far the most fun, being able to run around and blow up stuff with a friend made for some great moments. The competitive multi-player modes are ok but they don’t really even come close to games like Rainbow Six or Call of Duty 4. You play through death matches, team death match and conquest. Everyone is one of the two characters during these times too and I found it interesting, and somewhat boring, to see most people would choose Lang over Graves.
Conflict: Denied Ops really feels like a game that was thrown together hastily. The very core of the title sets you up for a pretty cool game, but the unyielding control, bland graphics and poor level design knock the stuffing out of it. To be honest I really got very little real enjoyment out of the game. The multi-player mode offers a bit of fun, but unfortunately it cannot save enough of this title from being a bit of a dud. I thought the game would continue on with some of the older Conflict games history, but this one barely makes it to the finish line.