The Conflict series hits the five game milestone by following up Desert Storm, Desert Storm II, Vietnam and Global Storm with Conflict: Denied Ops.
A demo has been released for the three target platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. How do they compare and which will be the one to buy?
Things start badly for the PC. It took a ridiculously long time to install, nearly ten minutes. Then, for some reason, they have managed to use a video format that probably won’t work on your XP PC. Helpfully they supply a Windows Media 11 patch to fix this. It doesn’t. Thanks.
Anyway, an iffy video codec won’t affect the gameplay, will it? Well, it might stop you even bothering to get to the gameplay. You have to skip the treacle-slow movie by hammering the Escape key until the planets align and the key-press is recognised. If you can’t be bothered, you’ll never even see the game. Brilliantly, the outro video doesn’t allow you to skip but the demo is fully Windows-friendly and behaves itself if you press Ctrl-Alt-Del for bring up Task Manager and that handy End Process option.
Once I got into the game itself I was a little perturbed to see that my system simply couldn’t handle it. My PC can play Bioshock smoothly with just a single option turned off. Disappointed, I went into the graphics options are starting turning things off to get a usable frame rate. After a couple of different items made little discernible difference in frame rate, I decided to turn everything off. While marginally better, it was still virtually unplayable. The engine used here clearly has no innate performance (that fact will be borne out by the badly compromised PS3 version). On top of that, it looked horrible even with everything turned on.
Perhaps the consoles will be better.
The PS3 at least runs at a consistent frame rate. Nice, smooth and eminently playable. I had an enjoyable time playing the mission supplied in split-screen Co-op. However, it looks horrid and doesn’t feel like it is running in a true HD resolution (it’s feels almost as ugly as the PS3 version of Fear). Perhaps the low resolution, jaggies and blurry textures would be eliminated in single player. Nope, the PS3 version of this demo is staggeringly ugly.
Now on 360 we get something unique. Uniquely rubbish, unfortunately. The developers are so inept and / or careless that the demo isn’t actually called “Conflict: Denied Ops Demo”, oh no. It’s called “Single Player and 2 player Co-op Demo.”
However, once you’ve found the demo, this is easily the best looking of the bunch as it runs smoothly and looks okay. The explosion where the wall gets dropped on the tank at the beginning is smaller than on the PC but the remainder of the combustible landscape looks cool. The textures are sharp though aliased and the games runs very smoothly.
Xbox 360, no question. What’s more disappointing about the technical and design shortcomings and overall carelessness is that there is definitely reasonably entertaining gameplay. The gameplay does shine through on the ugly PS3 version if you can keep your eyes open long enough while the PC version is virtually unplayable. The 360 version looks and plays fine.