I recieved Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for Christmas and if I had attempted to write any review for this game from then until about two weeks ago, you would probably been reading words like disappointing, too hard and realism. So after a few months play and hours of frustration, it got flung to the bottom of the pile and collected dust. But then I got bored, everything else was complete, except for this. So popped back in and still the frustrations at constant death remained. After a while something seemed to click, and that is when the game started to make more sense.
Before I explain that, a bit of background into the game itself. Developed by Codemasters and released in 2009, it is a first person shooter that puts you and your squad of US Marines on the fictional Skira. It is May 2011, and the Cinese People's Liberation Army has seized Skira and it's vast reservoir of oil from the Russian Federation. Peace talks are useless and it appears that two of the planets major powers are going to go head to head and start the Thirld World War. The US are called to stop the Chinese and head off the global catastrophe.
Now obviously reading the above is enough to get anyone interested. Through in the amoount of weapons on use and also that you can either control vehicles or indeed call on them for support adds to the excitement. Also that you are the leader of a four man unit harking back to the days of Ghost Recon and this game should be a winner. But why so many complaints?
Simple. Look around at the competition. The likes of Halo in it's various guises and CoD4: Modern Warfare are just straight shoot 'em ups, with little required in terms of thought. You just run round and kill anything that moves. The key to Operation Flashpoint is in the description that Codemasters themselves gave the game. It is a first person TACTICAL military game. Lets not forget that the game began life on the PC where simulators are just as common as arcade shoot em ups. And that is where perhaps this game is a little like a fish out of water on games machines.
Graphics and sounds are good. The realism dictates that if you engage the enemy of distances of over 150 metres, you won't be able to see them clearly. They are camouflaged after all! The after effects of explosions are pretty cool and intensively realistic. The aftershock of a 2000lb bomb leaves quite an amount of dust that obscures your vision, and be careful when calling in an artillery barrage. The squad based command system is easy enough to master, as are support units and your personal accesories menu.
So what can be said about this game in the end is that it is challenging. If you are expecting your typical xBox 360 fare then you are going to be frustrated. There are missions that require you too creep around in the dark for half an hour and sneek past the enemy to succeed. This game is a sim and as such is such a rarity on the xBox espescially in this genre, that it should be cherished as such. In the run up to Christmas it was pitched against Modern Warfare 2 and as such has suffered from comparisons. But I would advise those who want something a little different, more realistic and something that will give you a sense of satisfaction IF you complete it, to give this ago. At least until Reach arrives!!
OF: Dragon Rising seems to have quite the 'mustard' effect. I've read many complaints of people saying the game is too realistic and boring. I couldn't disagree more. I admit when I first started playing the game I didn't like it. The controls were completely different to most FPSs and everything seemed slow. Changing guns, crouching, going prone, reloading - it was all pretty frustrating.
Once you get past these initial frustrations however, you see what an amazing game it really is. As you can imagine, realistic is a sought after word that most FPS game developers want to hear their games described as, and I can proudly award OF: Dragon Rising that word. After playing the game for 5/6 hours and completing the first few missions I really got the hang of the controls, and found myself tactically completing objectives and having great fun at the same time.
OF: Dragon Rising is one of the most rewarding games I've ever played. You're given primary/secondary objectives, plunked on to the map and that's it. It's up to you how you go about completing said objectives, and there's nothing better than working out a plan of action with your friends and executing it well.
The visuals also really stand out in this game. The vistas you see are remarkable, from dank, dingy rainforests to open fields littered with bodies, OF: Dragon Rising never fails to impress. The levels themselves span miles and no detail seems to be left untouched, which is pretty remarkable.
The in game sound is equally stunning; with teammates barking enemy positions and bullets flying past your head, the game utterly immerses you in the battlefield.
Add to this the extensive single player/multi player and OF: Dragon Rising is a game I'd hate for any tactical shooter fan to miss.
Operation Flashpoint to me was a huge disappointment.
I expected a fun enjoyable yet challenging war game that gave you the closest war experience without it being real.
I found this game to be extremely long and way too realistic , I didn't think I would ever say a game was too realistic however this one is exactly like war, you can get hit by random stray bullets and get killed in 1 shot, this is way too realistic and took the fun out the game for me.
The online multiplayer is definitely the best part of the game; the campaign is VERY hard and extremely long. However the weapons on the game are very life like and fun too use, I personally found that all guns were easy to use and the gun statistics were correct.
The graphics are very good and are nice to look at. The most impressive thing about the graphics is then scenery around it is almost life like which is always good to see in a game, as it makes you feel as if you are there.
I would not recommend you to buy this game for its full price of around £30 however anything lower than £20 is a good price and worthwhile buying it.
A huge step up from call of duty: modern warefare giving you the most realistic war experiance I've ever seen in a game.
There is no story as such except that Russia owns this island and China claims orginal owership because they were there but left and now want oil. You (the US Army) have been called to take back the is land for Russia. You controll one of two 'fire teams,' but it really makes no differance, and get given orders to take a town or defend some where etc. The gameplay is varied into diffrent situations and you can choose how to aproach, you can be stealthy or aggressive etc depending on how you feel.
The landscape is open allowing you to run the length of the island like it was really there in real time but you usually have something or somewhere to go. You get a lot of diffrent weapons to choose from and vehicles to drive as well.
As I said before it realistic so you have to get ammo and weapons off fallen enemies other wise your in trouble. In fact its so realistic you have to do so much like use a bandage to stop you bleeding to death if you get shot, tell you team what to do and struggle with real time objectives. You get a menu to help with these things but it takes a while to get to what you want to do. Its a ring with four options all of which could lead to another four and then another all thw while your still getting shot at so it time confusing and annoying if you go wrong.
The game uses real world physics meaning you have to aim in front of who your shooting if there moving and above if there far away to make it as realistic as possiable. It also means the enemys can see as far as you and are just as good with the guns and when one bullet can kill its challanging.
To sum up, it realistic, and challanging trying to juggle everything at once but really really fun trying to plan you attacks etc because you feel good if it pays off un like other FPS where you just run and shoot. If you're looking for shoot 'em up then buy call of duty modern warfare but if you're one of those people who loves to analyse and be in command trying to puzzle solve, shoot, drive, fly to achive the objective then this game is for you. The best game I've ever played!
There is co-op careear and online multiplayer which makes the game better because in the story you play with you mates in stead of AI and online you are challanged by real people.
This is for the military tacticians out there. If you feel like ripping an entire platoon to pieces in a 10 minute bullet fest then this game is not for you. Each mission requires careful planning but timely enough so that your allied squads are not left on their own and surrounded.
You are in command of a squadron of 4 and must offer instructions concerning Formations, Rules of Engagement, Positioning, Flanking manoeuvres and instructing your medic. This game is a proper challenge and takes the patience of a Saint.
Wounds are realistic and if you receive a bullet to the head or chest, it's good night. You will limp, groan and swear when injured and require medical attention and take time to heal. Changing weapon in my opinion is slower than reality which becomes a pain during an engagement.
Bullets have to be well aimed as the enemy will engage you from a distance and moving forward for a better shot is suicide.
The graphics are fairly poor for modern standards but this is probably due to the vast map that had to be developed which encompasses an entire island.
The vehicles are good fun and you can pilot helicopters, jeeps, tanks and boats to escort your team around the environment.
I found this game to be too difficult and time consuming. I have no doubt that certain people would enjoy the highly realistic level of strategic planning and appreciate successful missions as rewarding.
I was only made aware of this game a few days before it came out by a friend. I'm so glad that i was. This game is the more realistic first person shooter that i have ever come across. I have been told that the army do use it for simulations, whether this is true or not it does not bother me, because it is fantastic. It ticks all the boxes for an army sim, accurate, team control, way points with a tactical map. The AI is not the smartest, but up to par compared to most games, and the graphics are absolutely gorgeous. I have a few things to complain about though. Firstly the game is way to short, it lulls you into a false sense of security by making you think its a huge game, and so much more to do, and out of nowhere it ends. Secondly if your not playing online, the story mode and then ...well...nothing. I think they held back of content that will come available to download later, for a premium no doubt, but other than that a great game.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
There's one question I'm always asking myself, do I want realism in a game? If you were to give me a realistic sports/racing game like, say, Forza 3 or Fifa 10, I'd probably say no because they're so realistic that they are just boring. But, with Operation Flashpoint 2, a hugely realistic first-person shooter sequel from Codemasters, it was a slightly different story because I love tactical games like Rainbow Six Vegas or Ghost Recon. So it was quite tempting when I heard about OF: DR and, it's safe to say, I couldn't help but buy it. Featuring a conflict where greedy countries try to secure oil, does it take tactial shooters to the next level or is it a failed tour of duty?
An island of Skira is taken over by China after their economical climate collapses, despite how Russia siezed it after World War II. They want it back, obviously, and call in on the peace treaty after the Cold War to pull America to the island so they can clear out the PLA forces and secure the energy source. There's a long video at the begining explaining this conflict, but after that the story is almost completely non-existant. The sparse dialogue between other soldiers is just to explain the mission, and none of the characters in the game are interesting or memorable. In fact, it got to a point where I said to myself ''why am I here exactly?''
Dragon Rising is supposedly an open-world game. When you're in a mission, the world is vast with a lot of land to cover, but the problem is that there is very little reason to explore it. Sure, it's a large landscape but missions still take place over a linear structure, where the mission markers guide you to the objective with very little freedom in what you can do. You follow the markers, complete the mission and do it again for the next mission. There are some side missions like destroying SAM units or eliminating enemies from a nearby village, but they add nothing really. It's a very large landscape, but most of it is the same three squares of bland shrub.
The other problem Dragon Rising faces is its mission structure. The missions vary in their objectives from tracking a leader of the PLA to clearing the path of Anti-tank gunners so the tanks can move on. However, most of the missions simply have you following the objective markers, killing any enemies in the way, and maybe planting an explosive or destroying an enemy vehicle at the end. There are some shake-ups during the course of the game for example in the 11th mission you are tasked with tracking a PLA leader as well as destroying a radio station. You can choose to either kill the PLA leader there and then or nailing two birds with one stone and tracking him until they reach the radio station and blowing them both up with an airstrike. But these are rare unfortunately.
Of course where Dragon Rising stands out on the market is its realism. No matter what difficulty you are on, it could only take on bullet to the chest area for you to be dead, and taking too much damage will affect your perfomance. If you take a shot to the legs, you can't sprint and a scrape on the head will affect your vision for a good minute which is enough time for you to be shot and not even know it. If you take damage you'll have to heal yourself with medical bondages, otherwise you'll bleed to death. Sometimes, however, you can be revived by medics if you're downed though considering how lethal bullets usually are it's rare that will happen. Trust me, on Dragon Rising you'll die quite a lot, even on the lower difficulties.
Realism also carries over to Dragon Rising's weapons. You'll gain access to real-world weapons including the M16A4, M4 MWS and the Queen Bee rocket launcher. There are also some vehicles to drive too, but the Jeeps handle horribly, helicopter controls are wonky and I couldn't actually find a boat to ride in during the campaign. The aiming is supposedly realistic, with wind and recoil affecting the aim, but sometimes the aiming was just plain retarded. If the aiming indicator is over an enemy you'd think the bullet would hit the enemy, but way too many times during the campaign the bullets completely missed my target. Whether that's realstic or not, it certainly isn't fun.
There are some other things which distract from the realism. Glitches like floating bodies and spastic reload animations detract greatly from the immersion factor. There are some other issues too, for example on lower difficulties if your squad dies, once you reach a checkpoint they magically respawn from nowhere. I mean, if a Helicopter dropped off more squad members then maybe it would make sense, but because they just drop out of nowhere once you reach a checkpoint, it feels very unrealistic. The A.I. is also quite unrealistic, shooting at the floor, or not shooting at you at all. Squad A.I. is worse as they walk in front of your shots constantly, and sometimes fail to perfom squad moves which can greatly affect a well-laid plan. If you're going for realism, you need to go all the way rather than making somethings realistic and others not.
However when Flashpoint is working, it is a pretty majestic game. Watching your squad perform what you want them to do and eliminating a room full of enemies in a flash is satisfying, as is popping the head of an enemy a hundred yards away or blowing up a troublesome APC with a single shot from a Queen Bee RPG, however it's let down by the repetitive mission structure and troublesome A.I. as well as some irritating glitches which distract from the realism and fun.
There is also multiplayer, but it too isn't hot. The co-op for four players is actually quite good though, as you and your three friends can communicate and work out tactics together to suceed on missions. However the eight player competitive multiplayer, frankly, sucks. There are only two modes variants in the form of standard deathmatch and capture modes, and for some reason, the multiplayer on 360 and PS3 is limited to 4v4 unlike the PC version which sports up to 16 players. And for some reason, most of the games I joined were quite laggy, meaning it wasn't exactly fun trying to play on the multiplayer, yet co-op was fine. And considering the campaign barely takes 5 hours to complete, its safe to say a £40 purchase for Dragon Rising isn't advisable.
Dragon Rising sports a huge open world which is powered by the Ego engine, which powered the graphically excellent Dirt 2. However it is certainly not put to good use here. Yes, the world is large, but most of it is the same three squares of green shrub, which looks blocky and pixelated. The cost of this barren world is that everything else looks compromised. Animations are stiff, enemies constantly repeat, squad mate's faces repeat constantly and the weather effects are only on specific missions, rather than a constant day-night cycle, though the game takes place over three days. The night vision effects look pretty good, as do the weapon models and the motion blur around them, but it's not enough to cover up the sparse and blocky world.
The sound effects aren't actually that bad compared to the game. The raw gun effects make you feel like you're holding weapons of death, and getting shot by them. The sound effects for getting shot will send shivers down your spine. Everything from the vehicle engines to the sprinting effects to the notes your squad gives like how far an enemy add some nice touches and increase the realism, despite some flaws taking that away. However the voice acting is bland and irritating, sometimes going from low to high. Though usually the transition from battle to not fighting means a change in pitch, which is a nice touch.
Is Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising good, bad or ugly?
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is, sadly, quite a mixed bag. On the one hand, when the game is at its most realistic, it's a fun and quite satisfying as you pop one to a PLA soldier in the head. However there are way too many flaws which buring this game deep into mediocrity. It's short, five hours, and the multiplayer doesn't help increase the value. But worse, while it's realistic with its guns and damage, glitches and bugs like disappearing corpses and spastic reload animations. Worse yet, it has a huge open world, but no reason to explore and poor graphics for the world. It's mixed, but if you are a die-hard fan of difficulty and tactical shooters, then maybe this is worth a rent, but for everyone else there isn't enough reward to trudging through the game's flaws to make it worthwhile, especially when there are much better tactical shooters on the market.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising was released on October 9th, 2009 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It is rated 15+ for strong language and violence, and is avaiable for £40 on this platform.
Thanks for reading.
Operation Flashpoint 2 : Dragon Rising came out just last week and I got it as an early birthday present from a lovely friend. Being naughty, I didn't want to wait to play it so I tore it out of its packaging and installed it. My main goal was playing the multiplayer co-op with him, but I'll get to that in a moment. I'll start from the beginning.
I have never played Operation Flashpoint, but I had heard good things (and rave reviews) about the original. The developers had made a "realistic" combat FPS, that was detailed and hard, but still fun to play. Those same developers left and went about making ARMA and ARMA2, games in a similar vein. I played ARMA and I have to admit, I didn't like it. It was too realistic. That was my main problem with it. I found the interface clunky and I was dead before I could even spot an enemy. I was worried that Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising might have the same problem, but from the reviews it didn't sound like it would. I sound found it wasn't. They seem to have nicely balanced realism with fun. The interface is much like that in Battlefield 2 or 2142 and if I had to describe the game quickly I would say it was a cross between Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare and Battlefield 2. i.e the graphics and fast pace of COD, but the team play and interface of Battlefield.
The first place to start is the menu system. On loading the game and flicking between pages, you are greeted with rather funky and atmospheric music. Someone else said it was annoying, but I quite enjoyed it. The menus are smooth and classy. A sign of things to come. The storyline for the game is featured in the manual but also in the game as you start the campaign.
You can read some of it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Flashpoint_Dragon_Rising
You are thrust into battle quickly. Voice over comms from HQ will give you your mission as you play team leader to a small 4 man squad, giving orders and carrying out objectives. The idea is to use your comrades to complete objective. You have a medic, machine gunner and engineer. Giving orders to move, assault, flank, lay down suppressing fire and a multitude of other orders, you have to move as a well oiled military unit or risk dying. This is a nice feature, but unfortunately, sometimes your men are completely useless. The AI isn't brilliant and at times when I've been trying to stealthily sneak up on an enemy position on my stomach, the other men have just stood up and waved at the enemy. Well, not quite but you get my drift. Luckily, the enemy AI is just as good. I managed to pick off one chap from a couple of hundred meters away and his buddy standing not 20 feet from him didn't even blink. That being said, the enemy will take cover and flank you if you aren't careful, so it is still smart in places.
The maps are open and expansive. It really does feel quite immersive and vast. The graphics (which are very nice by the way) only add to the effects of battle. You occasionally get yourself a bit of fire support, in the form of artillery, mortars or trident missile and when you call it in and it hits, the effects are quite impressive.
Your character and team mates will automatically call out enemy units spotted on the battlefield, their type, distance and direction. These are then added to your map and also a small compass style radar at the top of the screen on the HUD. This is a handy feature in the vast expanse of the world, as sometimes they might see something you haven't (or not see something you have, whatever the case maybe). Sometimes, this can get daft, for example the last time I played my character shouted out "Enemy Helo spotted, 1 click, South West." He must have good eye's as that's nearly a mile away. But still. Other times when you want to spot someone and are looking at them through your binoculars, you character wont announce them which can be frustrating.
There are other nice touches too. The damage/health system is quite clever and intricate. Get shot in the leg(s) and you will find yourself unable to sprint until you get a medic to heal you. Getting shot in most other places will have ill affects too, so it's best to avoid it at all costs. If you do get badly injured you will find the world start to blur and redden then you might die if not attended too quickly. But even uninjured, one good shot from an enemy can kill you easily and quickly, so keeping your head down, using cover and being careful is important. Keep your medic alive or you will soon be in trouble. You do have field dressings but they will only stop you from bleeding out and won't heal your wounds. The squad system is important in other ways too. You cannot send your men on constant suicide missions or you will soon find them refusing orders or doing the opposite or worse, dying and being more than useless.
The levels switch between a different number of squads and you play in each. There are assault teams that take on main battles and stealthy special op's teams with silencers and night vision. It's a nice mixture of it all, being part of a large scale (fictional) military operation. You are really made to feel like your efforts count. For example on one level your team is tasked with eliminating enemy anti-tank teams before a main advance. If you fail to do it in time you can watch as your allied APC's are blown to hell by the enemy. So it really feels like your efforts are worth the trouble.
There are a very nice mixture of weapons, vehicles and equipment. US marine (as that what you are) forces weaponry is common equipped with modded versions of the common US weapons. So you find some guns unrecognisable as they are bristling with tactical attachments, grenade launchers, silencers, flash lights and scopes. But becareful not to run out of ammo. The best option is to grab a gun off a fallen enemy first chance you get. Luckily you can carry two main guns and a pistol, as well as binoculars, grenades, C4, smoke nades, IR strobes and other goodies. I found on some levels the enemy weapons were actually better than my own. Finding a marksman rifle was better range than my assault rifle and had a better scope. Weapons are quite well named with "assault", "marksman", "CQB" and "stealth" so you know what's what. Because of the massive nature of the landscape and the fact that Close quarter battles are very dangerous, I found it was better to keep a marksman rifle at hand and pick off enemies at a distance (if you can spot them in the tall grass).
You can grab a humvee or enemy jeep and roll around the map with your team, but you risk bringing attention to yourself so mostly its better going off on foot.
Because of the nature of the game and the poor AI (in places) it feels like this game would be best in CO-OP mode with friends (upto 3). Unfortunately, the multiplayer is currently a bit buggy. It has been recognised and they are trying to fix it, but we found that some of us lost connection too often. It even killed my internet connection a few times (where it was working fine playing other games). So I only managed a couple of games with friends. Which was a shame because I imagine it could be very good fun indeed.
I have to say one of my favourite parts is the voice chatter.
"Sabre two this is sabre two actual, how copy over?"
"Sabre two actual, this is sabre two, solid copy over, go ahead."
It carries on much that way and Americans have a very good way of making everything sound cool.
In the end, once its fixed, this is a very good game. Lots of fun, realistic, but a nice balance as it's not too complex or hard but immersive and interesting. If you are modern warfare FPS fan and cannot wait for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, I'd recommend this to tide you over!