Operation Darkness Review
Operation Darkness box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Success 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 24, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 (Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

It seems like there's a laundry list of issues, but much of it is overshadowed by the strategy engine underneath everything. Blowing up a tank with a bazooka is super satisfying, and when you win an hour-long battle there is a true sense of accomplishment.

Operation Darkness screenshot

As you see your characters level, getting new skills (like healing, special attacks, etc.), acquiring powerful weapons, and tapping into their supernatural talents, you just want to keep going one more level forward. If you get stuck, you can always replay non-story missions to build experience.

The inclusion of Xbox LIVE support is a surprising feature. You can play co-op with up to four people online on a small selection of maps. The nice thing is someone who has level 10 characters can play with someone who has characters at level 60. It would have been nice if the developer put in the ability to do player-versus-player matches or play the entire single-player campaign in co-op, but what's included is welcome.

The easiest way to knock Operation Darkness is to pan the graphics. Sure, the in-game models look a generation behind (almost like an early Xbox game), but the 2D art on display in the story sequences is stylized and detailed. From an audio standpoint, the voice work is well done and most of the backing tracks complement the dramatic tone of the game.

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There's a solid strategy game underneath the absurd story exterior of Operation Darkness; it's just a question of whether the average gamer will have the patience to tough it out through the difficult beginning to get there. Strategy-RPG fans will ignore the game's shortcomings and find much to praise, but this isn't a game that's going to rope in those who aren't already fans of the particular genre.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.3
Graphics
The 2D art is gorgeous, but the in-game character models and maps seem suited for the original Xbox.
3.7
Control
Controlling the camera is a messy process. The supply depot and inventory interfaces are poorly designed, but the sound tactical controls make up for those shortcomings.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Most of the voice work is well done. The score fits the game, but doesn't really stand out in its own right.
3.8
Play Value
The difficulty and obtuse camera will be enough to drive a lot of players away. However, the solid strategy-RPG engine underlying the lengthy single-player component should garner the game a cult following.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Lead the Offensive! Brave dozens of missions, confront supernatural creatures, and discover mystical powers as you progress through a sweeping campaign of drama and mystery!
  • A Strategy-RPG with an Emphasis on Tactics! With a vast arsenal of historical weapons and a large team of specialized characters at their disposal, players will have to consider every variable as they plan their method of attack - using the environment to your advantage is imperative!
  • High-definition visuals, fully-voiced dialog, and in-game cutscenes deliver a true next-generation experience!
  • History and fantasy collide: Play the hidden battles of WWII as you combat the occult forces of Hitler's regime, including Nazis, zombies, vampires, and more in this epic alternate WWII strategy-RPG.
  • Engrossing squad-based tactical gameplay: Dig deep into the tactics of weapons and magic, werewolf transformations, and issuing condition-based commands via the cover system.
  • Huge arsenal of weapons and skills: Outfit your team with a huge arsenal of arms, artillery, and magic skills.
  • Xbox LIVE co-op play: Enlist up to three other players in Xbox LIVE multiplayer co-op mode.


  • Screenshots / Images
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