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Operation Darkness review

As ungainly as a one-legged zombie and twice as fugly

We might’ve been able to overlook that (it is a strategy game, after all), but for the fact that you have to keep slots empty in your inventory so you can raid dead bodies for bettergear(because the Allied Forces supply depot only sells crappy stuff). Meanwhile, at this exact same point in the game, the AI starts to get cheap. The Nazis suddenly all have heal spells, an endless supply of tanks, and periodically have crappy things on them when you rob their corpse despite obviously having awesome weapons or items prior to death (which they were totally using on us).

The would-be saving throw for this S/JRPG is the plot. Typical or not, Atlus has never skimped on voice acting and Operation Darkness has some of the most realistic-sounding Scottish, English, Irish, French and German accents you will ever hear in WWII game (your call if that’s a good thing). And like Castle Wolfenstein, you can never deny the savage appeal in sticking it to Hitler and his undead minions, so that element at least works with the plot rather than against it. But the lousy last-gen graphics murder what compelling plot there is. This game is an Xbox 360 exclusive; Atlus has got to do a little better than motionless anime cutouts and gruesome in-game models that only occasionally move their mouths. And while listening to three seconds of footstep sound effects with a dominatrix vampire Nazi onscreen is unintentionally funny, it takes class away from the game instead of adding charm to it.

Above: Notice how her hair clips right through her back

We want to pat Atlus on the head for trying something different; but this isn’t the Girl Scouts and critics don’t give out trying badges. So while we acknowledge Operation Darkness for attempting the extra mile when crafting a unique Xbox 360 strategy RPG, we’ve got to tell you to stick to your PlayStation 2 JRPGs until Atlus gets its act together.

May 15, 2008

More Info

GenreStrategy
DescriptionThe idea is good - a World War II strategy game with zombies, Nazis and werewolves - but the execution is lame and the graphics make you want to cry (and not in a good way).
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingMature
UK censor ratingRating Pending