CES 08: Conflict: Denied Ops Impressions

Eidos sure likes its buddy shooters. You've fallen for Kane & Lynch--now meet Walsh and Laing, a pair of lovable CIA operatives who also shoot guys.

Developer Pivotal Games is changing up the Conflict formula this time, aiming for the increasingly popular co-op shooter genre. On the outside, Denied Ops is a standard first person shooter, full of machine guns and rockets and blood. You move from objective to objective, occasionally climbing ladders, or clearing rooms. It's nothing you haven't seen before in other games.

However, from what I could tell, Conflict: Denied Ops has three things going for it.

The first is its co-op component, fully enabled for online or offline split-screen play. In single-player mode you can order the AI-controlled buddy around, either placing him to provide cover fire or calling him to your side for help. The more interesting aspect of this relationship is the Lost Vikings-style switching that can be done. With a tap of the B button, you can instantly take control of either soldier. Since there didn't seem to be any platforming puzzles to solve, I'm not sure how useful this will be in the long run, but it's an interesting feature nonetheless.

Another bullet point is the game's destructible environments. As will be the trend in 2008, with games such as Battlefield: Bad Company and Mercenaries: 2: World in Flames heading to stores, Conflict: Denied Ops boasts its physics-enabled Puncture Technology. From what I can tell, what this means is that crates break a little more realistically.

As you can tell, I wasn't that impressed. I couldn't shoot a soldier through the bottom of a metal grate, or shoot through a thin wooden wall, but sometimes a cement wall would bust up a little.

I was a little more impressed with the game's minimal HUD. Not a single indicator is present on the screen other than two tiny tick-marks, indicating your objective's position and the direction of your partner. Damage is signaled through a red screen, as in something like Gears of War.

Other than that, it's a lot of shooting, and stuff blows up pretty well. Nothing about it felt particularly fun or interesting, but it wasn't bad, and hey, co-op.

With that stunning endorsement, expect Conflict: Denied Ops to hit PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on February 12.