Conflict: Denied Ops Updated Hands-On

We get some more hands-on time with the upcoming military-themed switch shooter Conflict: Denied Ops for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

This week we got our first hands-on with Conflict: Denied Ops at CES '08. And while the team was chasing the latest game announcements on the show floor, back in the office we were getting better acquainted with the latest build of the game.

Denied Ops is the fifth game in the Conflict series, and like the titles before it--Desert Storm, Desert Storm II, Vietnam, and Global Terror--it's being developed by Pivotal Games. Denied Ops also marks the franchise's first foray into next-generation hardware, appearing on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC when it goes on sale in February '08.

In Conflict: Denied Ops, you take control of Graves and Lang, two CIA Special Activities Division (S.A.D.) agents. These are the guys they send in when things really hit the fan and the government needs to maintain a layer of plausible deniability with the mission if and when it goes pear-shaped. Unlike some other team-based military-themed shooters, Denied Ops gives you the ability to control one character, give orders to your teammate, or even switch characters on the fly by pressing a button. The command system covers the basics, such as movement, regrouping on your position, and suppressive fire, and extends all the way to character-specific objectives such as protecting an escort NPC or planting C4 to blow up enemy artillery. This flexibility means that while you will realistically want to swap characters to take advantage of their weapon loadouts--Graves has a sniper rifle and Lang wields a light machine gun--you can feasibly spend as much or as little time as you wish with one character.

You can go it alone, but this is a team shooter.

As good as the team AI is (provided you tell it what to do), we can't help but recommend you don't leave it to its own devices, as we found in our playtime that it tended to lag behind the player you have control of unless you continue to issue movement and attack orders as you move. We're not sure if it's a casualty of our test build, but while you could command your second player to jump into a vehicle and man a turret, swapping seat positions and asking him to drive didn't pan out the way we had hoped. We sat there waiting for him to do something, and even after we issued orders to drive, he would jerk forward a couple of feet before coming to a complete stop and refusing to budge. On the plus side, the game doesn't have to be played alone. It features split screen, system link, and online co-op play in the campaign mode. The game can hold its own in the single-player mode, but we can see this game being the most fun for two players to take on together. It also gives you the option to alternate between characters on a mission-by-mission basis rather than always assuming the tough-guy or sneaky-guy role.

Once killed, you'll have to switch characters and heal the fallen soldier, because leaving a character for more than three minutes of dirt nap will see you fail a mission. Resurrecting is as easy as activating the "heal" function, which sees you stabbing your bud in the arm or neck with some kind of magical anti-bullet serum. There's no limit on the number of times you can jab your wingman, so provided you can get to him safely, you'll be able to continue as long as one character is standing. Unfortunately, the hit zones on both healing and environmental interaction (like ladder climbing) are quite small and use the same button to perform a melee attack--A on the Xbox controller, and the space bar in the PC version--meaning that often when you're trying to resuscitate your fallen partner, climb a ladder, or climb onto a small ledge, you'll swing the butt of your gun, doing your friend a disservice with a sharp blow to the face or swinging ineffectively at brick walls.

Like with your pseudo-necromancy skills, there's no limit to the amount of ammunition you can carry for your weapons, making every target a potential lead holder. Unfortunately, smoke, flash, and frag grenades are a different story, since you'll be able to carry only a couple of each. Luckily for you, scattered around the levels are ammo supply boxes, letting you refill your ammo, so you'll never be left wanting for one more flash before breaching a room full of enemies.

The ammo concept gives the game a more arcadey feel than many other first-person shooters, and the automatic weapon upgrades you'll receive along the way take a lot of the fun out of specialist roles such as heavy weapons or sniping, since you arent required to spend in-game currency or complete challenges other than finish missions.

The game opens with very little in the way of backstory--which is befitting given the covert-ops nature of the team you're controlling--and drops you in Venezuela charged with infiltrating a communications post housed in the ruins of the Santa Cecilia Monastery. Once inside, you'll need to locate and acquire information relating to General Ramirez and his potential unfriendly nuclear capabilities. This first mission is set in a worn castle complete with large sandstone brick buildings. Inside you'll find plenty of henchmen trying to stop your advance towards the basement, which houses a slightly out-of-place-looking server cluster that you'll need to destroy using Graves' C4 packs. Doing so unleashes waves of foes to take care of while you scramble back through the ruins towards your next objective. Back in natural light, you're targeted by an attack helicopter, but since you don't yet have a rocket launcher, you'll need to take out the gunner, sending the chopper crashing to the ground.

Following the twisting cobblestone paths in the bowels of the monastery leads to an open area where--depending on your method--you'll need to clear multiple hostiles. We found that Graves and his rifle were most useful here, with a crouched stance giving the best mix of agility and rifle accuracy at range. Explosive barrels litter the place, making their collateral damage from being shot the most visually dramatic and effective way to take out hiding groups of foes.

Order your team to perform a function like planting C4.

Once clear, you'll get your first chance with a vehicle, and using a double right mouse click or pulling the left controller trigger while hovering your weapon sights over the tank will order your mate to get aboard. After a roll through the countryside and blowing up some RPG-wielding soldiers, you'll confront an enemy tank. The Halo-style driving makes it easy to lurch forward and fire off a cheeky round before ducking back behind cover. Environmental building destruction is scripted, so there's no risk of losing your cover. Rinse and repeat before friendly air support drops by to blow up a barricade blocking your progress, and you can stroll over the finishing line to complete the first mission.

After completing the first mission, you'll open one of three mission choices in different locations, and you can do them in whichever order you wish. Here you can choose between Sveta Archipelago and investigating the Sveta-Ostrov whaling station based on intel from the stolen data at the monastery. Then there's Metuwe Township in Rwanda where you'll be in search of a phantom radio transmission. Lastly there's Kolyma Castle in Siberia, which sees you tracking down known underworld warlord Alexsei Morchenko and his nuclear suitcase bombs. Regardless of which mission you choose, you'll complete tasks like rescuing and protecting informants, escorting prisoners to safety, holding a position until reinforcements arrive, or destroying SAM (surface-to-air missile) sites. Completing these levels unlocks additional weapon upgrades, including a rifle silencer, a shotgun attachment, a 200-round box magazine for Lang's machine gun, and a 40mm grenade for those close-quarter firefights.

Regardless of what objective you pick, the second mission begins with weapon upgrades, giving Lang access to a HEAT rocket launcher, which is useful for those helicopters and tanks that will try to stop you along the way to your task. Graves gets a gun camera for his rifle, allowing you to take shots from behind cover by engaging the camera with the left and right D pad buttons and with the Q and E buttons for PC players. It's not as dramatic as being able to shoot down threats at range, but since you can swap characters at will, you can always find a safe spot, switch, destroy your target, and go back to sniping in just a few button presses. With the exception of hallway clearing--and even this becomes easier once you have the shotgun upgrade in conjunction with unlimited ammo--we found we spent a lot of our time playing as Graves. Often you'll sneak up on lone soldiers facing the opposite away--who are prime candidates for single-shot skull ventilation. Headshots are by far the easiest way to eliminate enemies, with torso rounds even from the 7.62mm rifle taking an average of two to three shots to get targets down.

Conflict: Denied Ops seems to be shaping up quite well. Its combination of fun, solid single-player and online co-op play looks like it may give the title some legs. Check back for a full review when the game is released in February 2008.

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Discussion

85 comments
p-niiice
p-niiice

Obviously paid (p)review. Gamespot has no credibility.

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

Where the heck is the gamespot Review for this game? Newer games have come out and been reviewed...but why not this one? Is Eidos involved? C'mon, I wanna see Gamespot's honest review of this game

Hamza20
Hamza20

Is there co-op on the PC? By the way, the graphics aren't that good, so it'll just be a "good" game. Hope it turns out well.

JDaleMoney
JDaleMoney

Is it 4 player co op that wat it says when u click on tha hyper link of the game.

Canitbe
Canitbe

[quote]Conflict: Denied Ops seems to be shaping up quite well. Its combination of fun, solid single-player and online co-op play looks like it may give the title some legs. Check back for a full review when the game is released in February 2008.[/quote] This is currently one of the most horrid games I've ever played, it's unbelievably buggy,remarkably bland, and honestly, not worth the time to download. Amazingly though, it appears gamespot is semi hyping it up, when most gaming sites have completely tore it apart. Wonder if it has to do with advertising............

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

This is the 5th and newest Game in the series and doesn't feature 4-player co-op when ALL FOUR of its predecessors on the first X-box did.....what? Reminds me of Ghost Recon. The First x-box owns! Don't buy this Game, please.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Played the demo.... YUK!!, its games like this that make you realise just how good R6 & COD4 really are (not to mention GRAW)

oliver655321
oliver655321

I played the demo and it was terrible!!! ughhh i never want to see that demo ever again or this game title.This game genuinely sucks it.ive never had such a bad experience with a video game

JDaleMoney
JDaleMoney

i'll read the review from gamespot and IGN before i get this game

hassam7
hassam7

The graphics of the game r quite sharp I mean xtra sharp tht smetimes it hurts ure eyes.

SamuraiMatt77
SamuraiMatt77

This is easily one of the worst FPS I have ever played. JUST TERRIBLE. Bad AI, bad explosions/effects, ugly textures, kak dialogue & storyline, painful music, pointless level design... It's games like this that tear the industry apart - Soldier of Fortune 2 is LEAGUES ahead of this project, and was released 5 years ago! We've moved past this, to truly succeed games must offer something original - not simply plagiarize (badly) elements of other, more successful titles. What a terrible, sad and shameful development.

DarksjeiK
DarksjeiK

Graphics are HD PS2 but the game does have a chance because it did play very well. If they can spitshine the game some more and come up with interesting levels I might buy...

notquitesure
notquitesure

downloaded the demo for my ps3... what a waste of HDD space... im not trying to be funny, but if i was a company making a game and came out with this! when you can pick up games that already exist that are miles better! id think to pull my finger out or just hide with embarrisment. i feel sorry for anyone that buys something like this when you can buy yourself COD4... even 3! and have yourself a better game :) oh and sbaker127, looks at the co-op games coming out vegas 2 and army of 2 off the top of my head

JDaleMoney
JDaleMoney

It sort of pissed me off that the conflict series went from a four man squad to a two man squad. but i guess i'll have to get past that and i guess i'll see if its any good with 2 players

gimlifn
gimlifn

The only thing cool about this game was the explosions, the graphics were ok and the environments that they are promising to take you too sound cool and look pretty cool in the preview, but there are just too many other great first person shooters right now for me to consider this as a purchase game.

JBjazzbo
JBjazzbo

played the demo. It was really good! considering its a complete piece of crap! waste of time, money and umm a game? yes. don't buy it. if you really want it, steal it. it sucks ASS

deadcow1977
deadcow1977

Played the demo and Gubitz is right. Looks like a PS2 game in HD. Not a particularly good one at that. Oh yeah, gameplay sucks as well. Stupidest bad guys ever. Why is it that for every COD4 we seem to get about a thousand other really suck-ass games? Next gen my butt.

Gubitz
Gubitz

I played the demo on PS3 and the graphics sucked and the only reason i liked Conflict, was because of the 4 player co-op so this game screws up every thing for me, i hope thye delay it until summer cause they need the extra time for improvments.

uckoff2008
uckoff2008

Just hope its much betta game play than the one on ps2....but i think it stll cant honestly beat COD 4 this is one of the toughest games i've in a long time tu come.

lingtong15
lingtong15

So far form what i have sen the AI are not as good as they could be and neither are the graphics... But this game does have potential and no doubt those that are true to the series will find this a good game to play. But for most people i say COD4 is still unbeatable and for a great next-gen game Brothers in Arms seems to look promising, but Squad based shooters are genrally harder to pull off

sbaker127
sbaker127

Hopefully it will be good, ive been searching for a next gen 2 playa co-op

therightchoice
therightchoice

why would you want it to be like cod4 or any other game? there would be no point of buyin it. just have 2 of da same game, that would be gay. and whats wrong wid blowin up objects? lol but i agree with the fact people are veksin cos of theres no 4 player co op cos i have 2 brothers and a 2 or 3 freinds that might be buyin this btw demo is out if you didnt know. havent palyed it yet still waitin on my new computer.

pidow
pidow

Fix the AI, fix the switching abilities(driving, etc.,).....this game has to be better than Army of Two, it not.......why make it. I am looking for games to play that are different, interesting, has a reason for me to play it......not just shooting people and blowing up objects, has to have a reason and purpose to the game.

niedman
niedman

the whole conflict series are handsome, it is a game that you enter and forget everything.... in this plataform better than this just rainbow six las vegas...i think particular i loved "conflict global storm"...I hope that serie expands Congratulations

hammerman316
hammerman316

I'm sorry but i dont have alot of experience with the whole conflict: series but i think this one looks half bad i cant see it being anything like COD4 apart from FPS and i no it is quite clearly a rip of army of two but i would think it would be quite good to tide the time until they eventually decide too release that and fair enough they dont have four player co-op it still could be really fun for two people, but i am no expert on the conflict games but im not sure whether or not too buy this?

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

R6 Vegas 2, BF BC, COD4. I really cant see this doing particulary well at all....

lattimer22
lattimer22

It's $49.99 as well while all other games are $59.99. I believe that is Eidos's way of conceding this game and realizing they made a mistake taking the Conflict staple out, being 4 person coop and third person view. Why else would it be 50 bucks??? Eidos Sale!!!! $49.99 - Sorry Consumers!! heres your discount!!! Enjoy The Game..... lol

lattimer22
lattimer22

Mooshu92887 do some research before you go dog a game, Honestly what you said is like saying, "Grand Theft Auto was crap man". Conflict was awesome obviously to everyone else in this world. It is one of the best selling series of games in history. They always got low raitings from gamespot but they were the funnest to play. Gamespot doesn't know crap. Checkout IGN.com they even have more pictures Gamespot doesn't show. Eidos's reviews and preview budget might be going to IGN mostly. I love gamespot though.

therightchoice
therightchoice

um shrek all of the conflicts have been coop and exploding everything... stolen? what the hell, thats just realism if anything.

SHReK987
SHReK987

this game looks kinda dumb. Its a cheap ripp off of army of two co op wise and for the exploding everything its stolen from battlefield, even though many games are going to be doing that soon because of the new engines

Wigster666
Wigster666

humm ive enjoyed the previous conflict games but this sounds crap tastic.

vorquin
vorquin

I agree, the entire preview makes the game sound like a stupid antique arcade game w/ a new layer of paint, yet he says it's shaping up to be a fun, solid game? Wow, Gamespot, just wow. The game sounds terrible, the AI apparently is craptastic... sometimes I gotta wonder about the people that write these articles.

pidow
pidow

I don't know yet, buy or not to buy, some question ha?

HoodCheese
HoodCheese

me and my brother LOVED playing the conflicts spiltscreen. Hopefully this one will be amazing.

Smoolander
Smoolander

Have to agree with Koal_Jadian. This preview basically highlights plenty of things wrong with the game, and little right, yet the last paragraph gives it a glowing endorsement. Some selective editing perhaps.

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

The worst part of all of this is that the company will get away with ruining the franchise, taking away the 3rd person style AND the 4-player co-op which defined the game and were the only reasons people played them. Whoever reviews this from Gamespot will be forced to give high rating otherwise Eidos will have them fired from gamespot (recall: Kane and Lynch) It's already happening, look at the last paragraph: "Conflict: Denied Ops seems to be shaping up quite well". Well no its not shaping up well, they already gone against every player who's ever played the previous games.

jgmoniz
jgmoniz

VEnezuela!!!! I cant believe that they finally decided to name us in some game!

chechak7
chechak7

ok lets see if it can come by with COD 4 ?

dutch777
dutch777

I agree with JoeyM24, why does it have to be a first person shooter. Conflict games have always been third person and that is one of the main reasons that i have collected all their games. PLEASE give us the option to be third person.

Mooshu92887
Mooshu92887

Hey guys, remember when the Conflict series was good? ... Oh, thats right.. it never was.

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

Furious George, you are entirely correct but the stupid idiots aren't putting 4 player co-op in this...how does the next gen version of the game have less functionality and less features than ALL FOUR predecessors on the PREVIOUS generation console?!?!?!? Geeze, this game is already a disgusting failure, i dont care about their damn online play, my console has FOUR controller slots...why?!

Furious_George1
Furious_George1

This game series was never about graphics but was really fun if you had 3 friends to play it at once. Not many other games out there let you play 4 players co-op through the actual game. So don't try to compare it to Halo or Gears and just have fun with some buds.

veggie530
veggie530

Is teron crazy? Desert Storm I was God awful. I liked DSII the best and the rest seemed... :-\ My favorite part was the co-op (split screen)...without that, forget it.

teron678
teron678

the 1st installment was phenomenal (Desert Storm I) .. they rest after were a waste of time ............ hope this one doesn't lead to disappointment .......

Eaglez7711
Eaglez7711

Omg watch the video on Gametrailers, the graphics are pitiful!

Percypoo
Percypoo

I hope it's good. The conflict series allways needed something extra to push it into the "good" category at gamespot.

JoeyM24
JoeyM24

the conflict: desert storm games were easily the best squad shooters i have played and had an imensely fun co-op. global storm and vietnam less so. hopefully it'll be a return to form for the series. only having two people in your team will still work, i think. it'll be a change. i don't like the idea of it being first person though. hopefully they'll give you the option to play third person.