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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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