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Maybe I’m spoiled. Maybe my expectations are too high. Whatever the reason, the most positive thing I can say about Conflict: Denied Ops is that I was not physically injured by how horrible it was.

Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh. There’s nothing really fundamentally wrong with the game — it’s just so underwhelming in pretty much every aspect that’s supposed to make games fun.

Browsing the Xbox Live Marketplace, it seems the developers spent a lot of time trying to make people think this game was going to be cool. Developer diaries and trailers showcase the “destructible environments” and cooperative elements — both of which, in practice, suck ass.

In one of the videos, the player blows a hole in a wall with a shotgun and then shoots through the newly formed hole with his sniper rifle. Seems like that should be awesome, but it’s not. The most destructible thing I encountered was a wooden guardrail around some stairs, which splintered in a very impressive N64-era kind of way.

I shot plenty of things with my shotgun in an attempt to destruct the environment. A television screen shattered (not impressive) and I put a dent in a table (also not impressive). While it is a step up from the flat, untextured decals that represented bullet holes in the past, it is not the mind-blowing feature they try to make it out to be.

As far as co-op, it’s just garbage. Playing this game with a buddy is like when you eat something disgusting and then say “Dude, this tastes like shit! Here, try it!” It’s nice to have someone to share in the experience, but it would be more fun to just take turns stabbing each other in the brain.

Then the characters themselves — wow. You have your choice between generic white guy and generic black guy. Whitey has a sniper rifle with a shotgun attachment, as well as a silenced pistol. Blacky has a light machine gun with a grenade launcher attachment and a rocket launcher. Their interactions with each other remind me of Padmé and Anakin from Star Wars Episode II — more irritating than a sandy vagina.

The shooting is pretty bland. The sniper rifle has absolutely no kick and barely makes any noise. I kept shooting a wall when I first loaded the game up, and I couldn’t tell that I was even shooting. The wall didn’t deform like I expected either, adding to my uncertainty as to whether or not I was actually firing. Maybe I was just confused because of how bad the graphics are…

The overall impression I get from this game is that it sucks. It’s either poorly designed by people that don’t know what fun is, or it was targeted at 3-year-olds that don’t quite understand all the intricacies (the few that exist) of tactically shooting people in the face. In either case, I think it’s in your best interest to only play this game if you hate yourself.

For all you masochists out there, the demo is available now for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN.