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OFPDR

Operation Flashpoint has been popping in and out of my radar throughout most of this year, like some kind of energetic meerkat. I visited Codemasters, and whilst the trip focused more on the DiRT 2 side of things, I think I can breach the NDA I signed to let you know that through a crack in a window I saw a designer putting a wall into the game. That’s right, I had insider knowledge there was at least one wall in this new flashy and pointy Operation Flashpoint.

It wasn’t until a press event for upcoming Codemasters titles that I actually got to see the game in action and even play it. From that moment I was hooked and waiting for this game to come out. But can it live up to the hype I had created inside my head?

The game starts out fantastically with a wonderful intro akin to the videos of “kinetic typography” as the cool kids call it. It is from this start that you begin to see the depth of the detail the developers went to; not only did they create an immense island for you to run amok in, there is also a deep and realistic backstory for those who like that sort of thing.

The unfortunate fact about the game, is for those not familiar with the series, it is stifling to get into, as Operation Flashpoint is incongruous with conventional shooters. If you are looking for a game to go from one action scene to the next, Operation Flashpoint will not be your cup of tea. Additionally, for those who aren’t shamelessly British and actually drink other things, this game will not be your coffee, your red bull or your rum and coke.

There is a large amount of down time in which you will be moving between areas of the island: the island is huge. I’m talking about an island the size of Cliffy B’s bravado here, an island that would take you nine hours to walk from one coast to the other. However, if you were masochistic enough to actually want to try such a feat, you’d need the PC version for its Mission Editor, as the console version will limit your exploration to the confines of the mission.

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It is this fantastic setting that provides you with one of the greatest elements within Operation Flashpoint, and that is freedom. If you think leaving the path and going up the hill for better cover will be the better option, you are free to do it. If you think going 10 minutes out of your way so you are able to stay out of the enemy’s sights long enough to creep behind them, again, you are free to do so. The sheer scale of tactics that can be employed is staggering too, from formations to flanking and all the rules of engagement in between.

This is both a blessing and a curse. I do not know of any other game that does what Codemasters have done with Operation Flashpoint to the scale they have gone to with this title. It’s the most realistic shooter I have ever played, and I’m someone who plays on a generally easier setting on most shooters. Where running and gunning is an option. In those games, I can be Rambo, I can be Robocop, or I can be a dude playing a dude dressed as another dude. But in Operation Flashpoint, if you play like that dude, you’re certainly going to be a dead man. You have to employ tactics; they are a necessity, not some superfluous extra.

Difficulty in games is often a treacherous ground to tread. Generally, while playing games on a high difficulty, enemies have more hit points, which makes the game frustrating rather than tactical. Operation Flashpoint steps around this pitfall with an impressive swagger. The various difficulties affect your interface mostly; as a harder setting will cause enemy place markers to fade from your map quickly, it’ll remove your compass (a tool which shows which direction the enemies are in), and it’ll remove your cross hairs, forcing you to rely on each gun’s sights. Each normally vital factor removed from your experience makes the game more challenging by making it more realistic and immersive.

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The multiplayer element of the game is a mixed bag, with my experience seeing the main problem in one distinct area: players. This is a game about tactics, a game where the AI can be merciless and where cohesion between you and your squad is vital. Yet, when everyone online runs about thinking they’re playing Call of Duty, the tactics sort of fall flat. However, co-operative multiplayer is so good that I need to find a new superlative to describe it. Incrubulous? Yeah, that’ll do. Grab a headset and some friends, and this game reaches a peak of gameplay that everybody needs to try.

Despite how good the game is, it has its share of bugs, however, which range from some model clipping to awkward collision detection on vehicles. In all honesty though, none of these problems detract from the game in any way. They are enough to make you go “aw, that sucks” and then immediately forget it and get on with the game.

If you are searching for a realistic shooter, or for a game to lose yourself in through advanced tactical action, then look no further. In fact, read no further, just go out and buy Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising right now.

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
The interface variations that are dependant on the difficulty setting make this game stand out from the crowd, and everything from the menu screen to the openining to cinematic is slick and polished.
How does our scoring system work?
9.5 Gameplay
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is deep, tactical and immersive. It's easily one of the most engaging games of the year.
8.5 Sound
The sound effects are superb, and the voice acting is excellent, but be wary about spending too much time on a menu screen.
8.5 Longevity
The game has an excellent campaign mode, where combat will vary on each playthrough, topped by a fantastic co-operative experience.
8.5 Overall
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising stands as a glowing example that not every shooter needs to be a constant action movie, providing an immersive and compelling experience that will leave you painting your face and crawling through your neighbour's garden.

  1. Great Review Paul. Generally, I tend to be kind of weary of games that have such a huge map, as you’ll be trucking along for a while just to find a glimpse of action, but your description sounds like this game is intelligent as well as exciting.

  2. avatar LoL

    oh my god…i cant belive you gave the game such a high score.Realistic? are you insane? AI is extremely weak. There is virtually no chopper/artilery support when charging enemies. Small grouped teams never-ever take a charge against a ginormous force. TRUMPETS?!?!

    And what about when you are crouched and walk,say,on the left and you go against a rock: YOU UNVOLUNTARILY STAND UP (the so called “Skylining”),which is stupid.
    There is also this idiotic AUTOMATIC RELOAD which is a total dissaster if you played as a sniper.If you have no idea why this is so, i have a fair bet you never played this game for more than a few hours in the first mission.
    What about NO DEDICATED servers? this is also okay for you i guess…
    What about the AI seeing you thru foilage ? what about the muzzle-flash that gives away your position in real life ?

    What about the fact you can only drive 3 vehicles in an entire campaign ? Where are the choppers,differentiated character’s stories ? (in CWC you played thru several characters/teams)

    I guess you like this. Just please,dont call it tactical and realistic,since you have no clue to what you are saying.

    • avatar Reyhan

      Well pretty much what I’ve sttaed. While I was with the Marines, I only had the pleasure of using a Dragon sight while on an observation mission. Even then, at the time, you had to carry craploads of batteries for the cooling system. So, for them to show it used rather carefree on rifle scopes ??? Not too realistic there since they didn’t show a single nvg screen at all. It’s like they have their wires crossed nvg = more common than IR which is rather rare on personal optics

  3. avatar LoL

    oh,another thing… the campaign is so short and the incredible sortage of weapons.Where is the freedom of picking up weapons or selecting what to use in a mission,like in the other games (Arma,Operation Fp.:Cold War Crysis).

    Also,to mention another thing: semi-automatic mode of firing is too slow… it is just stupid to make it this way! people got killed in the game because of this

    And again: NO DEDICATED SERVERS!

    No military sim would have only 2 TEAMS TO CHOOSE FROM : a team of regular “grunts” or a spec-ops team … this is an insult.

    Only because they lied about the fact the AI is “great” (it is the stupidest thing i experienced in a “military sim”) and that they had a military advisor that has anything to do with military (i cant belive they had…since the missions were seriously non-realistic)…only because of these 2 facts,the game should be given a 2 or a 3 point penalty.

    Cold War Crisis had an AI that was way beyond its sequel… a sad thing.I checked a store and this game was sold for something like 22 Euro

  4. avatar Ljudmila

    Something I really enjoy about the whole thperios and achievements thing is that it gives me motivation to finish games. It’s like a reward, where as before I’d maybe get bored and not play the game much.I’m sure there are tons of great games I’ve never played

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