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Operation Flashpoint: Red River
Tested and reviewed based on the Playstation 3 version.
Review by Ben Nacca
(Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BenNacca )
XBL GT: Darkeyes2k7 PSN ID: Darkeyes2k11
After the franchise reboot with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising back in 2009, receiving very mixed reviews citing bland environments filled with chaos as its shortcomings,Codemasters have returned once more to pick up where they left off.
Hailed as a game that was incredibly difficult, realistic and unforgiving, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising actually shifted quite a few copies despite such average review scores. Unfortunately the majority were found in the bargain bin later as people squealed in terror at the sheer learning curve that went with the game that walked hand in hand with the bugs, glitches and problems the game had. It just didn't feel finished and what could have been an amazing tactical shooter sadly fell short of that target. Codemasters have returned with Operation Flashpoint: Red River, in the attempt to build on their first outing and improve on the aspects that were not up to expectations.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River (OF:RR) is a realistic first person squad based shooter. You are part of a team and have to use them wisely to navigate through the terrain, eliminating the enemies without getting shot yourself. I guess the catch here is that one or two bullets and you are dead compared to Battlefield or Call of Duty where you are bullet sponge most the time.
Set during a fictional conflict in Tajikistan in 2013, you are part of the squad Outlaw-2-Bravo and are tasked with quelling the terrorist group known as ETIM throughout the game. OF:RR features wide open landscapes and wide environments that players will be forced to use to their advantage.The terrain is detailed but there is a lot of bland textures and rendering issues at times. The overall look of the game is good enough though and is certainly not an eye sore but this is a shooter for gameplay, not necessarily for the graphics since there is no wide variety of locations. You're inTajikistan, and that means arid, desert locations predominantly.
OF:RR sounds good though for the most part. Voice work can get on your nerves at times with the overly macho script. Everyone loves a good marine rant from time to time but the person on your radio all the time? He has some issues and it just distracts you from the game because, what he is saying,which takes about 5 minutes, is going to be summed up in a one line objective sentence afterwards. Squad voices and commands, along with the weapon sounds and environment are all nicely done and seem crisp and precise. The vehicles sound as they should and the enemies speaking what I can only presume is Tajik all contributes to the realism OF:RR has to offer.
The game features no competitive multiplayer, so you can kiss goodbye any hopes of realistic team deathmatches, capture the flag or similar game modes. What OF:RR does present, is 4 player squad based action through the campaign. You can choose between 4 classes of Marines and can each work together to complete the missions. Trust me, this is much better than playing on your own with the A.I. As you can imagine, the demand for intelligentA.I. is a must and it is a shame that at times, OF:RR feels like it is you against the entire of Tajikistan, with a squad comprised of multiple Baldrick characters akin to the Blackadder TV series. I think that is the closest comparison because sometimes the team mates are shocking and it is a wonder they managed to actually hold their weapons. Naturally, there are times when the commands and A.I. movement is slick but when a game is so dependent on realism to the point that your survival is at the mercy of your team, you can become disillusioned with the game very quickly.
Overall the game looks nice but with some pop up issues,texture problems and rendering bugs here and there, the OF:RR could be so much better. Also, with such wide open landscapes and no real need to have that scope, Codemasters should have concentrated at making the close up textures better rather than the Tajikistani herding his sheep 50 miles away from the town your about to invade. Just saying.
Sounds crisp and precise for the most part with the only grate being the overly macho sergeant on the radio whenever he is issuing commands or briefings. Gets old real fast and distracts the gamer from the mission itself.
The mechanics work well enough but there is no real feeling of pace or enjoyment. It lacks that wow factor that leaves it somewhere between the shooter simulation genre and the fast paced action shooter genre. I Feel it needs to decide which one it wants to be in because the middle feels out of place.
With a superbly well done 4 player co op option, and plenty of campaign, solo or with friends to do, it should keep you busy. However, the lack of other multiplayer features can leave gamers wanting more and unfortunately there is not a lot more to do.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a decent effort by Codemasters but I don't feel it has progressed too much from Operation Flashpoint:Dragon Rising. 2 years since the first games release and it seems that Codemasters have not really gone in any new directions which is a shame.Fortunately, this game can be really fun with friends and if you have a mate,or three, who have this game then it will be enjoyable.