By Spencer . September 21, 2007 . 4:44pm
Poor Success Corporation. They didn’t even have a full booth at Tokyo Game Show! If it wasn’t for Operation Darkness being stocked at Microsoft’s booth I don’t think they would have a presence.
I hopped on to one of the two Operation Darkness demo stations right in the middle of a briefing. Yes, there is voice acting and I was told the mission was simple. Don’t let the protagonist die and vanquish the enemy troops. Sounds simple right? I let my strategy RPG gear kick in and completely lose the mission. Why? Operation Darkness is a twist from melee SRPGs with magic and swords. Let’s start with this fact everyone has guns.
The maps on Operation Darkness are huge and they have specific cover points. You do not want to bring your troops out in the open too much like any other SRPG. Instead keeping them behind broken walls and in sandbag barricades is the best thing to do. If you bring your entire squad out in the open you’re going to be right in the line of gunfire. Everyone has ranged weapons in Operation Darkness and that includes tanks that have no problem aiming at the main character. Since you’re out numbered and out gunned you have to hide.
Alright, lesson learned. Round two. I’m going to move my characters carefully this time and place them strategically around cover points. Things are going much better and one of the members from the team explained to me you can hit a trigger button to rotate through the targets when you attack. This is brilliant because you can shoot pretty far and I was getting tired of manually searching for a square. When you aim your sights to shoot a gun it tells you how much damage you will give and the hit percentage. If it says hit zero then the enemy unit is behind a wall.
To compensate for the large maps Operation Darkness lets your characters run pretty far, a good six squares of map space instead of the usual three. Some units like tanks take multiple squares of space too. Speaking of tanks gunfire is nearly useless against them, but one of my units has a rocket launcher, a gun and a knife. The rocket launcher doesn’t have to be used on the tank you can also fire it to hit a 2×2 square of troops.
I really enjoyed Operation Darkness because it wasn’t a cookie cutter strategy RPG. Maybe one way of explaining it is imagine an SRPG where everyone is forced to use bows. Long range magical bows that shoot from far away. It’s good stuff that I hope will be released in North America in the future.