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It’s hard for me to say if this game is universally good or bad. Critics were right four years ago; as a retail game with a $60 price point, Operation Darkness isn’t a very good game. It has all the potential, it’s gameplay is fun and challenging, but that doesn’t hide its flaws and underdeveloped presentation.
Operation Darkness isn't so bad as to be unplayable, but it gives no motivation for the completion of more than a few hours of play. If the poor quality of the graphics and sound don't bore the player into dullness, the thoughtless characters and plot will. The developers botched a valid video game concept, and there's nothing in the game to warrant a purchase. If you can't get to sleep at night, however, consider investing in Operation Darkness, although it may keep you awake with nightmares brought about by the existence of such an uninspired RPG.
Operation Darkness isn't a bad game at all. It has its issues, but they don't ruin the experience — with the possible exception of the absolutely shameful graphics. The problem is that it doesn't really rise about mediocre. You'll play the game, you'll probably enjoy it, and then it will be tossed aside or traded in, and you'll probably forget that you even played it within a month. Not even a lackluster Xbox Live mode or optional missions can make the title something that will keep your interest past the story mode, especially once your team becomes so ridiculously powerful that you'll be able to slaughter everything in your path without tactics. Operation Darkness is another Xbox 360 title that will probably sate a desperate RPG gamer's fix, but it will do little to improve Microsoft's poor standing among Japanese RPG fans. This is for hardcore fans only, and even they may want to look twice at the game's $59.99 price tag.
Whether you should play Operation Darkness depends on your level of patience. The horrendous camera and dingy graphics may turn you off, but if you stick with it, you'll find that there's a game worth playing lurking underneath them. And Nazi vampires driving tanks.
Despite its faults, I still enjoyed my time with Operation Darkness. It's not quite as engrossing a turn-based strategy experience as Final Fantasy Tactics, but its unique setting kept my interest long enough for me to discover the fun that lay beneath the unpleasant exterior. Be warned, you'll have to really be in love with turn-based strategy and the quirky mish-mash of themes present here in order to appreciate this game.
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.
Playing Operation Darkness is like being in love with a deadbeat. You can see the silver lining and you want to make it work, but it’s a downward spiral of concessions and empty promises and the next thing you know you’re living in a trailer and he’s hocking your jewelry for strippers.
It’s hard to believe that anyone could like this game; even the most hard-core strategy game fan would have a hard time actually enjoying Operation Darkness. Between the horrific camera and the absolutely infuriating battle deaths it is a wonder that this game was ever allowed to be put on the shelves. It’s just a bad game that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth and dent in your wallet that will be felt every time you reach in to purchase a game actually worth buying.
Gaming should be about having fun. Operation Darkness teases that with werewolves, vampires, Jack the Ripper and more crazy beings that have no place in World War II. Then it slaps fun in the face until it runs home crying. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.