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Operation Flashpoint Red River (XBOX 360)

Operation Flashpoint Red River (XBOX 360)

Operation Flashpoint Red River XBOX 360 Review

Operation Flashpoint Red River (XBOX 360) Review

The Operation Flashpoint series has long since been considered the ultimate in realistic war simulation. It’s something no other game in today’s boisterous and testosterone filled FPS market can boast and a valuable commodity for players who are looking for that little bit more from their gaming experience. To many, playing through a game a la CoD is like sitting on a ghost train, watching as preordained ghouls frighten you just for a moment before swiftly disappearing again, leaving you with enough time to recover before the next shows up.

Operation Flashpoint on the other hand is like being on a ghost hunt, terrified and nervous as you find yourself surrounded by possible obstacles and dangers. It is the immersive military style shooter that has been missing from the market for some time as developers seemed happy to drop the same old ego-stroking, big budget games so when we got our hands on the latest addition to the OF series – Red River – we couldn’t wait to test it out.

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Playing as the faceless and nameless squad leader we must take control of a 4-man squadron of potty mouthed marines and work our way along the hostile and dangerous border between Tajikistan and China. Tasks can be assigned to our squad via a range of radial commands, each of which will direct our AI-controlled partners to a set position, or switch them into a different state of mind. All of the usual military based jargon is available; Cover me, Secure That Position, Hold This Position, Follow Me and the like, though mastering the right way or situation to use these does take time.

Once players finally do get to grips with the squadron control the game can be hugely engrossing and fun. The feeling and sense of pure fear that oozes from the controller into the player bloodstream is something not seen in other modern day titles. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve decided to rambo our way into an enemies tightly guarded base by ourselves armed with nothing but a pistol and balls of steel and took control of the area, wiping out tens of opposition forces before clearing the path for your team with a rocket launcher acquired by one of the poor souls corpses. That just isn’t possible in Red River.

Ammo is scarce and players must think up measured and carefully planned out attacks before shuffling into the battlefield. Take a bullet and things become difficult, a thundering clunk is followed by the almost sudden loss of all motor systems, cover must be sought and medikits must be used before continuing. Take a few bullets from a particularly angry enemy and it’s just about goodnight Vienna, as such, it’s a thinking man’s war game, much like Jarhead was the thinking man’s war film.

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When not working our way through a battle time is spent walking and listening as our team chat which may not be to everyones tastes however it does mean we become deeply involved with the team and the missions. Despite being a bunch of less than perfect companions they do become like brothers as we progress through the tense and difficult missions – some of which can last up to an hour at a time. It requires a certain level of dedication and a certain level of concentration to make it through some of the tougher parts and the feeling of joy when the mission is over, as well as relief that your squadron have made it through unscathed, is unrivalled.

Given how challenging it can become controlling the AI, taking to the battlefield with three friends in co-op mode offers so much more fun than the solo missions could and it’s definitely recommended that players take advantage of this mode if they wish to enjoy the game to its fullest.

In terms of multiplayer Last Stand does what it says on the tin and so players must defend against wave after wave of enemy attack. ‘CSAR’ has slightly more thought put into is as you must touch down, find and rescue a captured comrade whilst ‘Rolling Thunder’ sees players clear a path for their convoy from their Humvee.

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At distance the backdrop of Tajikistan looks mesmerizing as the sun reflects off a waterfall as it crashes down to the lake below, or the mountains work as a cut-off point between daylight and night time, yet up close and personal it’s not quite the same story. Clunky looking characters glitch out at times as they go from the upright to the crouched position at the blink of an eye, or warp five feet in front of where they just were.

Still, fire fights are intense and the sight of a friendly jet flying overhead and dropping a half tonne of explosives on top of an enemy bunker is something to behold. Definitely not the best looking game ever made but it’s up there with most of the modern shooters on the graphics front – though some extra polish would have been appreciated.

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Drone. Drone. Drone. Drone. Drone. That’s what the sound of Staff Sergeant Knox soon becomes after one of his many tedious and dull radio conversations, littered with insults and swear words he is the now token army "bad-ass" (idiot) and after an hour or so we found ourselves wishing he would catch a stray bullet from the Chinese forces.

Disregarding much of the dialogue throughout the game things aren’t too bad, bullets whizzing past our heads didn’t go unnoticed and the deafening thud of a grenade explosion certainly makes us feel like we’re in the battlefield.

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For the anoraks who love nothing more than getting down and dirty in the technical aspects of war Operation Flashpoint: Red River caters perfectly to your needs. Despite not being quite as unforgiving or realistic as the much loved ArmA the game doesn’t stray far from its roots and creates a sense of realism that is rarely captured these days in a market saturated by the usual CoD-esque shoot-em-up titles.

The game is not devoid of bugs and irritants, yet it’s easy enough to put them to one side and concentrate on the things that make it fun and once players learn to do that they will spend hours upon hours working through the campaign that offers real satisfaction for completing missions. Definitely worth a play-through.

Gameplay 80/100 Despite featuring some AI which could do with some work and a few irritating bugs when the action gets under way OF: Red River can be as exciting as any FPS title on the market, yet also offers something different to people who prefer to strategize.
Graphics 85/100 Up there with the likes of CoD and Battlefield yet there are some glaring bugs which should have been sorted. Weird animation glitches can be distracting, especially when trying to control a 4 man team at once.
Audio 75/100 Staff Sergeant Knox is hands down the most annoying part of the game, the sound effects work well though.
Value 80/100 With a lengthy campaign some neat multiplayer modes the deal is pretty much sealed. The only disappointing thing is the lack of any kind of competitive multiplayer.
(Not an Average)
80/100 It’s still the only game on the market that does the job it does, which means by default it’s the best. Yes there are problems and yes it has a long way to go before it can be considered as much fun as CoD or Homefront but for those who seek that little bit extra thought in their FPS it’s great.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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