I not only don't hate this game, but it's among my favorite PS3 experiences. The reason reviews are mixed stems from its divergence from the tactical, 3rd-person gameplay of prior games in the series.
Why so good? The split-screen co-op campaign is an absolute blast with each person taking on a specialist role. One person plays as a heavy machine-gunner, and the other, as a weakling sniper, working together to shoot chumps and survive. What more could you ask for in a military-style FPS?
There is a nice, long, challenging co-op campaign specifically designed for two players with an acceptable level of gore and excellent graphical effects. The on-screen effects for getting injured present a convincing illusion of receiving pain.
Now, I'd never played any prior Conflict games or FPSs on a console (I'm a long-time PC gamer), so I went into this with an unbiased, clean slate. What I REALLY enjoyed is how the game doesn't immediately force you to end when you kill friendly people with collateral damage. For that reason, to me, Conflict: Denied Ops is better than any Call of Duty/Modern Warfare campaign. Player-freedom is king! When killing friendly characters is forbidden (in every way) by a game engine, it's a sure sign of over-produced, carebear hand-holding that reduces player freedom and truly breaks immersion.
Since playing Conflict: Denied Ops, I've been desperately seeking more graphic, split-screen co-op FPSs with friendly-fire, like this! Sadly, most FPSs these days are too high budget to allow players to feel like pioneers and do things the designers didn't intend.