LAS VEGAS--Conflict: Denied Ops is a game that sort of feels a bit like Eidos' version of EA's Army of Two, only without all the crazy double-teaming moves. Still, when you have a military-themed shooter that lets you switch instantly between two protagonists as they run-and-gun through the bad guys, it can't help but bring up comparisons.
This is a game that feels like it's inspired by the headlines. There's a military coup in Venezuela, where the first mission takes place. Then toss in Russian nukes and African blood diamonds to round out the story. As such, expect to see a lot of different locales.
You play as two CIA operatives sent in to deal with this entire mess. In the game, you can switch between either agent at any time by simply tapping a button. One operative is a heavy weapons specialist and carries a light machine gun and other appropriate gear, while the other is the sniper and carries lighter weapons. There's a context-senstive command system that lets you give orders to the other character quickly. Point at enemies and you can tell them to attack; point at a location and you can give an order to go there, or, if playing with an Xbox 360 controller, hold down the left trigger to get your buddy to fall back to your side.
With just a few minutes of practice you can get a hang for all of these controls and start to use them creatively. If under heavy fire, switch the to the recon guy and give the heavy weapons guy orders to lay down suppressive fire. While the bad guys' heads are down, you can sneak around and flank them. If you're gunned down, you have a couple of options. You can call for help from your buddy, and he may be able to fight his way over and revive you. The easier route is to simply switch to them and then revive the fallen character by yourself.
Given that there are two characters, two-player cooperative multiplayer is a no-brainer. The console versions also support four-player co-op. You can also play 16-player deathmatch and team deathmatch matches. There's also a custom mode called conquest. Conflict: Denied Ops will ship for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on February 12.