2008 Reviews

Conflict: Denied Ops

  • Review Date: 2011-11
  • Release Date: 2008-02
  • Developer: Pivotal Games
  • Rating: 6.0

Denied Ops is the fifth game in the Conflict franchise, none of which I've previously played, so I was going in fresh with this completely randomly titled game. It's apparently a little different previous titles anyway, moving from third to first person and just two players instead of four.

The main inspiration of Denied Ops is co-operative play. You have two characters; one a quick sniper with the other backing up with the machine-gun. Both have their problems, unfortunately. The machine gun is pretty useless from a distance and sprays it's bullets very unreliably. In the last few levels you get a rate of fire upgrade and can hold it much more steady. Too little too late, though. The scope helps in getting the more distant enemies, but it's far intrusive and dominates the entire screen and as soon as you start firing the screen is filled with smoke, meaning you have to stop firing to see again. It's small things like these that just ruin the combat. The sniper is even worse; I played as him for maybe 15% of the game. The speed is good, but he wobbles around like a drunk sailor when you're attempting to snipe enemies. And if you can't hit them in the head they can take up to ten shots to finally die. God forbid someone gets close to you while you're playing sniper; you're basically screwed unless you can pull of a miraculous headshot.

There's lots of upgrades such as grenades, a grenade and rocket launcher, a shotgun. But actually accessing all this stuff is complicated and messy. And so is ordering your team-mate around. There's just too much to remember especially when some keys do completely different things depending on whether you hold it or not. Perhaps i'm a simple minded player. After seeing how many keys I was going to have to learn in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, I gave up after one level. Denied Ops isn't as bad as that, but it could have been a bit easier.

Then micro-managing your team-mate is another issue when he decides to just stand on the spot and not follow, or go charging into the line of fire and die straight away. You can switch players on the fly, which is great (the only great thing in this game). Especially when you're down and need your team-mate to revive you. But it would be nice if you could drag your buddy out of the line of fire in order to revive him because quite often you can't handle all the enemies yourself and it takes several seconds to revive someone. You're often dead in that time.

Denied Ops does have a great sense of teaming up with your buddy though, whether is be real co-op or just a bot. The sniper buddy saved me a lot of times, but more often it was me laying carnage. This is a game you need to play quite carefully with a lot of cover and picking guys off one at a time. Especially in the last few levels. It can be quite annoying at times, usually in the end of level battles where you need to clear the landing zone to get picked up. And this landing zone consists of you being massively outnumbered and often having to use the utterly hopeless rocket launcher to take out a helicopter. As a quicksave game it'd be fine, but this is checkpoint console crap, sometimes with checkpoints ten minutes apart. The last level was ridiculous - they seemed to have completely forgotten to put checkpoints in.

The design and look of Denied Ops isn't really up to a 2008 level. Textures are rough and too shiny, design is plain and lacks a lot of detail. One such underground corridor system carved out of rock was completely rectangular, just using the texture to make the appearance the the rock was jagged. Nice try.

It doesn't look bad. It's certainly light years ahead of the last game I played; SAS Secure Tomorrow. But it's not going to 'wow' you, and certainly isn't a game you'd want to get for it's art and engine capabilities. It's also very flat - you'll rarely go up more than two floors. Even the mountainous and outdoor levels look like vast plains. Couldn't the developers at least have painted up an awesome looking environment background? Nope. But at least in the ten levels you play through, there's a lot of different settings and themes.

On a final note, apparently this game was rubbished by players due to the bugs. I played the unpatched version and found no bugs at all. Sound was fine on Win7 64bit.

Overall a pretty average game. Nothing really wrong with; it just gets repetitive with it's two dominantly used weapons, both of which needed tweaking, and design which looks about '2006' not '2008'.