This is it.
This is the lowest of the low. The worst game I have ever played.
I have long wanted to do this for games that nobody plays anymore, probably the very first game I wanted to do. Now is the right time. In our giant industry of great communities branching together to make nice handshakes, Conflict Denied Ops is the type of game which spurs no community. It’s hard to believe that a studio executive somewhere, full of absolute control, commissioned this to be published. In fact I believe that the publishers, Eidos, have this to thank for their downfall. Kane and Lynch not so much (it had some good ideas), this just butchered everything I’ve come to expect from videogames. It comes to butcher ever ounce of coherence, every bit of rational, nothing is left. If this was the face of videogames, I would stop. Right there. If this was hailed as a good game, if one or two websites gave it any substantial reward, if my friends ever mentioned it; I would flip. Maybe it’s because I’m both passionate and crazy and sad about videogames, because I do care about the potential we have, but this is an absolute mockery of potential.
To begin to describe Conflict Denied Ops would be to point at a drab teenager with ‘Violence is Awesome’ on his t-shirt. If you ask him what his favourite game is he’ll say “Halo 3” or “Call of Duty 4″, if you ask him what he thinks about videogames as an artistic expression and further as a means of message to tell a story involving deep characters and massive pacing within all qualities he will likely pull a quizzical look. This is why videogames suck. Our primary audience is, apparently, 12 year olds. We stuff games full of violence and incoherent themes, we don’t think about the consequences. Gears of War, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, BioShock (yeah I went there), Madworld and thousands more all explore the same connective theme. Violence. Sometimes it’s used for actual effect (I’d say that BioShock would be a hallow game without seeing the blood stained bodies of civilians and listening to audio logs including them being strangled) but most of the time it is not used to explore any artistic merit. Violence should only be used when it satirizes something or only when necessary. This is where Denied Ops fails. Massively.
For starters, the opening cutscene includes a suggestion that one of the main protagonists shot John F. Kennedy. Nice. Clever joke gone wrong. I usually don’t ever critique a game with a bad story, as that isn’t it’s full intention, I will rip apart Heavy Rain but not Just Cause 2 because that makes it a comparison. You can’t compare Heavy Rain and Just Cause 2 at all in any sense. But here, I have to critique it, I have to call them out on their god-awful cutscenes, I have to rant, I have to shout from the heavens. While I was watching the promotional material and interviews for this game, before my friend and I played through it, all of them had a developer mention a ”complex story” and ”great characters”.
I am insulted.
More as a person than a gamer, that the developer thinks that I see upon these two indistinguishable characters (one of them is black, that’s really the only difference, seriously) a dash of greatness. That I see a complex story in an incoherent mess, that the plot is nothing more than a shell to drive the derivative shooting. I’ve written fiction for quite a while, I started when I was around 6, I have learned from past mistakes. I have developed ideas, changed my characters to suit their own purpose and not the direct narrative, through this I have made good stories. According to others opinion, my writing has potential, I have potential. I can tell you with absolute confidence that ten years ago, when I only begun writing, I could have written a better story than Conflict Denied Ops.
I have hundreds of ideas on pen and paper and iPod touch notepad apps, some of them are drab Tom Clancy inspired military style. Probably stuff I’ll never write. Some of it, however, has won me awards. I hate writing military fiction, but sometimes it can be quite juicy reflection unconventional themes. I told a whole story, for an hour, about the Iraq War from a child’s perspective. The last half was improvised (I’m a lazy writer), but it had taken me weeks to research. Two months even, I can’t fully remember.
Just imagine for one second the absolute effort that went into Conflict Denied Ops. Lets imagine the brainstorm sessions.
“Okay we’ll have it change perspectives!”
“Okay good idea.”
“Yeah lets have one guy have an semi-assault rifle which can fire at long distance.”
“Okay and the other guy?”
“Lets have him be a black man and have a light machine gun that HAS ZERO RECOIL (NO JOKE)”
“Now lets have the level design to be a maze on the magnitude of having the players run around an environment for a WHOLE hour without a minimap to guide them.”
“Okay, what about the plot?”
“VENEZUELAN CONFLICT WITH DEEP MORALS AND DEEP CHOICES AND COOL CHARACTERS.”
“Sorry, what? Where you just reading the Mercenaries 2 Wikipedia page?”
Lets just think for a second that this was considered to be a comedy, that the developers weren’t bothering for a second. Why would they advertise this to the press, maybe the guy being interviewed was put on the spot and just using buzzwords. Instead of using buzzwords how about you explain something that you game ATTEMPTS to do, go in depth about the shooting. Talk about co-operative player, talk about anything other than the story. Please, it’s an insult.
That’s not to even say the shooting gameplay can be considered an ‘attempt’, the light machine gun (basically a M60) has ZERO recoil. You can fire grenades whenever you want. Enemies take two hits, blah blah blah blah game is awful.
I’m giving up right here, this game is impossible to ‘Games That Nobody Plays Anymore’. It is an insult to the gaming industry, it is an insult to gamers everywhere, it is an insult to 12 year olds everywhere. The worst game ever made, including E.T and Superman 64. I even finished Sonic the Hedgehog. It was not an insult to my intelligence or even the gaming side of me.
Want to know what makes me feel better?
The developers had to close their studio. I’m not insulting the great men and women who worked in a creatively claustrophobic environment, I am insulting the few in the studio who attempted to craft a story. Do not sell me a story, sell me what you do best. Do not bother writing any dialogue, funnel me along a path and let me make my own choices.
Do you know what, just repackage it in the Heavy Rain box. Sell it as a story driven game, let’s just see what a massacre that gaming forum boards would become.
At least that would be more fun than playing Denied Ops