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Anthony Capone
12 May, 2011

Operation Flashpoint: Red River Review

360 Review | Ready for deployment or up river without a paddle?
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising attempted to show how realistic military shooters could be done on consoles. While it was not entirely unworthy, a multitude of bugs, difficult gameplay and being in the shadow of Call of Duty made for a somewhat average FPS. The next game in the series, Operation Flashpoint: Red River on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, hopes to bridge the gap between mainstream shooters and realistic military simulators. The result is a game that stands above recent shooter releases and may be appreciated by all fans of the genre. Operation Flashpoint: Red River is best enjoyed with a group of friends, and while it encourages forward-thinking, it also required you to be familiar with the entire military handbook.

In Operation Flashpoint: Red River, players are cast as the leader of marine squad Fireteam Bravo. The four-man group is sent along with a substantial part of the United States Armed Forces into the country of Tajikistan to quell an insurgency that has also caught the attention of China’s People’s Liberation Army. With so many guns in the one country, things can get out of hand very quickly. The game presents the unfolding tension at a great pace with some terrific cut-scenes. The plot nevertheless follows the standard formula, but if you can tolerate the soldiers who sprout bad language like a running tap, the narrative does a good job of moving the game forward.

These soldiers enjoy shooting the enemy’s heads off, and their mouths off.

These soldiers enjoy shooting the enemy’s heads off, and their mouths off.
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Operation Flashpoint: Red River features a tiered yet robust system for commanding your squad. Commands range from the most basic, such as falling in, to more intricate orders, like suppressing specific targets and calling in the big guns. The system is easily adaptable, but still allows for a certain depth of gameplay. Operation Flashpoint: Red River has all the markings of a squad-based shooter, but things do not always go according to plan. Your AI team might be competent in certain moments, but for every display of resilience, they can be downright stupid at other times. Squad members have a tendency for wandering off and failing to maintain formation. You have to heal the friendly AI team repeatedly, as they frequently fail to see the merit in taking cover, instead having an attraction to enemy bullets and alerting insurgents to your location. The result is a game in which you can spend as much time babysitting your team as you do shooting the enemy.

When your squad actually choose to follow orders, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had in out-thinking the enemy and seeing your plans reach fruition. Unlike Call of Duty, going in all guns blazing is the surest way to a quick death. After experiencing a few missions, you quickly understand the importance of suppression and flanking manoeuvres. Given how alert the enemy usually is, Operation Flashpoint: Red River rewards the player who places thought into their battle preparation. Setting up the perfect ambush or sneaking up on unsuspecting insurgents and unleashing all your might is very satisfying. However, long trips between objectives and sporadic team AI can break the overall immersion. Frustration is further compounded by a minimal checkpoint system, which makes you replay overly large sections of the game.

The game offers an approachable, but detailed command system.

The game offers an approachable, but detailed command system.
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The earmark of Operation Flashpoint has always been its emphasis on tactics and planning. Anyone who was overwhelmed by the complexity of Dragon Rising will discover a more streamlined game, which gradually eases you into the ins and outs of the command system. Red River also gives you the ability to customise the difficulty of your experience, with a number of assist features that can alleviate the burden of playing an authentic military shooter. These gameplay aids include aim assist, radar and objective markers. Hardcore players with a desire to play a more realistic game akin to Arma or Dragon Rising are advised to disable these features, and will find a far more challenging experience as a result.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River really displays its true potential when played cooperatively. In addition to the solo mode, Red River supports online cooperate for up to four players. Before jumping into any of the single-player missions, players can customise their loadout of weapons and gear. Teaming together with real-life buddies is far more entertaining than progressing through the campaign with the lobotomised AI. Playing with a team of friends is highly rewarding experience, as you can actually approach the battlefield with a sense of coherency and coordination.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River does away with competitive multiplayer, instead focusing entirely on cooperative modes. In addition to the aforementioned campaign levels, you can also play a number of co-op missions known as Fireteam Engagements. Fireteam Engagements offer slimmed-down objective-based experiences, including wave defence, protecting a convoy of armoured vehicles, clearing maps of insurgents and rescuing downed pilots. These missions offer intense and entertaining co-op gameplay, and go a long way to ensuring the life of the game past the main campaign.

Players will be treated to some impressive background vistas.

Players will be treated to some impressive background vistas.
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As you progress though the campaign and Fireteam engagements, you are given experience points to level up your character. Investing points in each of Operation Flashpoint’s four classes – rifleman, auto rifleman, scout and grenadier – rewards you with new weapons, gear and perks. As you complete missions, players can also upgrade other character abilities from a separate menu, increasing skills such as awareness and accuracy. Conveniently, all of the upgrades carrying across to both single-player and co-op.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River has received a much welcome upgrade in the presentation department. While still not rivalling the likes of Crysis, the game boasts vastly improved visuals over Dragon Rising. The lighting and mountainous backdrops are particularly worthy of mention, with spectacular views sweeping for miles. Environmental objects can be a little basic and detail is sometimes lacking, but overall, the game aptly conveys the sense of fighting in a far-off foreign land. Sound effects are solid, with explosions and gunshots immersing you in the battle zone, and the voice acting is survivable, often falling into the realm of military clichés.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River does a commendable job of walking the line between mainstream shooters and realistic military games that usually only populate the PC. Red River maintains the series’ strategic gameplay, while creating an above-average experience that will satisfy both beginners and veteran players. While the single-player is undermined by lackluster AI, teaming with friends in co-op is both challenging and highly rewarding. Coupled with solid shooter gameplay, a ten-hour plus campaign and the upgraded visuals, Operation Flashpoint: Red River deserves a look-in from all FPS fans interested in more than the norm.
The Score
While poor programming undermines the single-player, Operation Flashpoint: Red River offers an engaging and challenging cooperative experience for shooter fans of all levels. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Operation Flashpoint: Red River Content

Operation Flashpoint: Red River launch trailer
21 Apr, 2011 Fire in the hole!
Operation Flashpoint: Red River co-op developer diary
19 Apr, 2011 Tactical derka derk.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River co-op video
12 Apr, 2011 Available next Thursday.
4 Comments
2 years ago
Been playing the first one recently, i think cian has been as well.....i really like it, but this one seemed a little off. Think i preferred the terrain in the first one
2 years ago
Fetidchimp wrote
Been playing the first one recently, i think cian has been as well.....i really like it, but this one seemed a little off. Think i preferred the terrain in the first one
Yep I have and I definitely prefer Dragon Rising. The map itself is better and the mission layout is more stealth based, four man teams and no BS. Red River is completely different, the open world is restricted, Knox is a pain in the arse and the graphics are extremely poor. Textures are very slow to render and that really takes away from the realism, but then again, Dragon Rising used the same engine...but the flaws were hidden by darkness so it didn't bother me too much. It just feels very...over the top with all of the American-isms. And they scrapped competitive multiplayer instead of fixing it? Nice one. Anthony's score is still about right though, just make sure you play it with a friend.

Up for a bit of co-op in Dragon Rising if you're keen.
2 years ago
indeed, hit me up at some point, been wanting to see it as co op as i think it would be damn fine.
2 years ago
i have to say i like this one better than of:dr, like a couple of my freinds said while helping me out "oh wow, cool i can actually shoot people in this one!"...

i especialy like the terrain/maps compared to of:dr, this one feels a bit more battlefield...
each to their own i guess.
i could use sum help too though, if anyones keen for sum co-op send me a msg.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  21/04/2011 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Codemasters
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2011

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