Good turn-based strategy; rare for consoles
This game is pretty sweet IF you are a fan of isometric turn-based strategy games. I don't think this is the kind of game that would win people over to this genre of game like Bioshock did for FPSs or maybe XCOM did for this kind of game, but if you are already a fan of grid-based turn-based strategy there is quite a lot to like here.
Story is pretty cool.... I'll admit I'm still playing through so I haven't seen how things fully unfold, but it's a unique take: an alternate-history WWII which involves the occult, the undead, magic-ish stuff, etc. Graphics aren't great.... they don't detract horribly from the experience but they are definitely not a high-point. Sound is pretty good... gameplay is your basic turn-based strategy with both WWII weapons and some more super-natural combat techniques. You gain experience and level up your characters...... one complaint (and one that is easily fixed by playing a certain way) is that if certain characters die: the game ends. As long as you bring along enough "generic" troops, i.e. troops that don't play key plot roles: this game plays like a straight-up turn-based strategy game.
It's fun, there is a lot of content here, and it's one of the only chances on the 360 to play a game like this. Perhaps I would grade more harshly if I was stacking this game against the smorgasbord of similar titles on the PC or even the less-stout but still larger collection on the PS3, but as far as the 360 goes: this game could very well scratch that turn-based-strategy itch that some console owners may need scratched (definitely something I sore missed after switching from PC to console some years back). At least go into it with an open mind: I really found myself enjoying it despite having read a VERY wide range of review scores..... and it has the Atlus name on it.... that's usually a good sign in my past experience.
One of the most challenging strategy games ever!!!
If you liked valkaria chronicles then youll love this game! Its a lot hard though in my opinion. It is a must by for strategy lovers!
I Didn't Want to Rate this Game Poorly but...
This game is a mixed bag for me.
There are only a few turned based strategy/tactical games on the Xbox 360 and this game does provide that experience. I enjoy the game because of it's board game-like feel and it's slower pace. Overall, the game is fun as long as I'm willing to be persistant to overcome difficult gameplay. This game is very hard to complete and that is why I really can't recommend it to others.
The first difficult quirk the player notices is the awkward camera controls and angles. Once someone gets used to the camera, it's not too bad, but it may take a few hours of gameplay to get comfortable with it.
When the player gets into the gameplay, they will continue to be overwhelmed by superior enemy numbers and weapon power. And if it wasn't bad enough, after you manage to clear out all the enemies, another large group of reinforcements usually appear.
It gets worse. In later rounds, the enemies movement rates are double or more of your team mates and will take multiple turns during your round of attack. It feels cheap, as if the designer thought the game might be too easy or they were trying to bump up game play value but only end up frustrating the gamer. When I first encountered dragons, the creatures can get up to 6 attacks for every round of my squad.
And if that wasn't bad enough, enemies like to target one individual on my squad and constantly attack them. Usually, that targeted squadmate's death results in losing that mission.
So, if your looking for a turn-based game and don't mind a difficult, if not frustrating, gameplay experience, try this game. Otherwise, pass on it.
One of the Best Strategy games ever made
Operation Darkness suffers from little promotion and a niche category in Strategy Games. Atlas (who made Tactics Ogre) decided to bring a real strategy game into next gen consoles. There are a few setbacks with camera work during gameplay because this is their first venture. After that you will experience a difficult well written strategy. This Game seams to speak to all geeks with WW2 weapons, Zombies!!!, vampires, Werewolfs, and other occult themes. The strategy part of the game is still the forefront and is done pretty well. You will be annoyed by the camera for about 2 hours until you master it and if you don't train this game will make you pay. Still one of my favorite strategy games behind Final Fantasy tactics and Tactics Ogre.
A definite challenge
For those of us who love strategy, Operation Darkness is the game to buy. Taking place during WW II, you find yourself in the middle of combat only to be seriously wounded. When you come to, you join the ranks of a special group of soldiers called the Wolf pack. Everything seems like regular war until you learn that the Germans have recruited a deadly army themselves. As you battle against nazis, zombies, vampires, and powerful bosses, you begin to learn that your group has something special as well. Your team consists of werewolves, accurate snipers, a necromancer, a fire witch and more. You must lead your team to victory and bring peace to a warring world. I must say, this is the most difficult game I have ever played. Its not a regular strategy and requires looking ahead to determine the consequences of your actions. A wrong move could lead to failure. As others have noted, the camera is pretty frustrating, but for the sake of the story and gameplay it can be ignored. The opponent AI is very tough. In several campaigns the odds of your team willing is slim. You must make the opportunities and overcome the darkness. Levels worsen as your team fights against an army of tanks or magician nazis who can attack from afar. The cut scenes are pretty good graphically, but when you lose you cannot skip the briefing, which can be a bit annoying. The sound is pretty good. It doesn't really stick out, but provides good background music while your thinking of your next move. There are several ways to customize your characters and even more ways to win the war. Again, this is a very difficult game. I've given up a few times, but picked it up again every so often to get a bit further each time, but still haven't beaten it even after a year. For those who love a monster challenge, this is your game. Great game even greater price. The darkness awaits...will you lead your team to victory?
WHOOO!!! RETURN TO FRONT MISSION 1!!!
This game is like the original front mission (that's right, the one for super famicom). I loved that game intensely, and played it through something like 20 times. Everyone complains about the camera, but i didn't have any trouble with it at all, the only real problem i found was gauging the distance you had to move, combined with the range of weapons, it's hard to keep all that in your head when you're trying to control 12 different little people, making sure 8 or 9 of them don't die. This game had everything i was looking for in front mission 3 and 4, and blew them out of the water. I've always been a FF tactics fan, i LOVE those games, but finding one that actually keeps your attention and is out for a next gen console is very rare. Anyone who played the original front mission should love this game.
WHY ALL THE HATE?
Ok yes, Operation Darkness is UGLY. It's one of the UGLIEST if not THE UGLIEST game on the Xbox 360. But then you know what I always remember? GRAPHICS DONT MAKE THE GAME, GAMEPLAY DOES, and I personally think that this game is very fun. I won't go into a huge summary of what the story is as I'm sure most everyone already knows what it's about, but I will say that I think the story of Hitler being an occultist and using zombies and vampires during the war is incredibly cool and original. You'll need to lead your team through 27 campaign missions so you can get to Hitler and rub him out. PROS: Strategy gameplay is very fun, nice variety of weapons and equipment, team members have magic skills and transformation skills (werewolves) to help you get the upper hand in battle, you can search the bodies of fallen soldiers for more items/weapons/equipment. CONS: MANY of the levels are/can be INSANELY DIFFICULT. This is due to the fact that when you begin the battle there are a good amount of enemies to take out, but once you've taken out a portion or all enemies then a HUGE amount of more enemies appear that you have to take out. If you don't have any medkits and/or are low on ammo you better start praying for a miracle. That happens A LOT, so you really have to know EXACTLY what to equip on each character before the battle starts or you'll find yourself trying to pass that same level dozens of times. Also the fact that if a certain character dies or if any of your characters die (depending on the mission) it's automatic game over, and to top that off, the mission's where certain character are allowed to die..if you dont revive them DURING the mission they're gone FOREVER. So all that time you used to level up that character is wasted. OUCH. There's only 1 character that has the ability to revive a fallen comrade and if he dies...well...then you're completely out of luck. Like I said, this game is HARD. But even with the difficulty as high as it is I still find this game highly enjoyable.
When I first put the game in and the first mission came up, I was thinking I should just eject this sucker and bring it back to the store for a refund. The camera angles were frickin' confusing and the fact that there are no moving characters in the briefing sucks. I continued to play, and this game grows on you. You get used to the camera angles so you don't die as easily and the gameplay is very strategic. You need to actually think about your every move which is awesome. The story line is alright, I mean you're basically being educated about WWII but with fantasy. It would have been much better with cinematics instead of anime characters and dialogue bubbles, but if you can put that aside, the game ain't all that bad. The battle segments are long and fun, but it requires some brain power on where to move your team so they don't get killed and to put yourself in a position to annihilate the enemy. Overall, if you like strategic RPG's, this one is one you can play and enjoy.
Doesn't look great but gameplay is fun
If you enjoyed the classics like Xcom UFO defense, Jagged Alliance, etc., then this game is for you. I highly recommend it. The graphics aren't great, but there is a real challenge to the game. The character development is good and the equipment is interesting. The critics really gave the camera a beating, but I didn't find it nearly as frustrating. Perhaps one's best bet is to wait for it to come down in price. I, however, could not wait and had to grab it as I was tired of playing the demo over and over again. The 360 is really hurting for solid turn-based strategy, but this is a good start. I hope Atlus makes a sequel to this game with a little more polish. For now it will have to suffice. Plus you can't go wrong with a WWII setting.
Not that bad
This game is not as aweful as IGN would have you believe. It is not the best game ever made, true, but it is not worth the 2.5 score. Turning Point: Fall of Liberty was MUCH MUCH MUCH worse and it received a 5.0 score. First, yes, the camera sucks. It is not *too* bad once you get used to it though. Lots of room for improvement here though. Graphics are on the weak side. Animations are ok, but the textures could have been tons better. Interface is pretty bland, but it gets the job done. Cinematics are stock WW2 footage mixed with the type of cutscenes you would expect on a Nintendo DS. Nothing fancy here at all. Good news is that you CAN skip cutscenes or fast-forward through them. The start button skips cinematics, and the right shoulder button fast forwards through dialog. This makes it much easier to replay a mission if you die (which you will). They are worth watching at least once to get a better feel for the storyline though. AI is fairly weak at times, but can surprise you. I've had tanks flank my cover to attack guys in hiding, and then I've had Nazi soldiers with pistols storm my well covered party equipped with MG34 machine guns. Sound is ok, nothing fantastic. Voice acting is good and the weapons sound authentic. The music can get annoying though. The game can be very difficult at times. When one of your "core" members die, you lose. Once you learn the Auto Restoration skill (very early in the game) your characters will "revive" themselves if they happen to die. They can only do this if they have healing items though, so you must plan ahead. Most enemy soldiers carry a healing item, so you can run up to a dead soldier and have a good chance of finding more healing items if you happen to run out. The story can be very interesting if you can make it through the rest of the game's downfalls.. Zombies, Nazis, Werewolves, Vampires, and Machine guns? Yes please. Overall, it is a pretty fun and addicting game IF AND ONLY IF you like SLOW paced strategy RPG games and can live with somewhat dated graphics. Obviously the amount of people that will like this game will be very small, so try out the demo before renting or playing.