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 Home -> Reviews -> Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising By: John "Award" Del Percio
October 23, 2009
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Developer :Codemasters
Publisher :Codemasters
Release Date :October 2009
Platform : PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

Mission Accomplished

If there is one major victory to the game, it's the mood it creates. Frequent deaths for all but the most experienced, tense situations of bandaging a wounded squadmate in the field under fire, taking a hit to the arm while keeping him from dying, and narrowly escaping doom create a realistically intense and frantic situation. When you finally make it to a checkpoint or evac it creates an equally intense rush and relief. Thus the game accomplishes exactly what it set out to do: Create a realistic military experience, albeit one that shows only the worst possible combat situations not often encountered except in the most contested areas. It has its flaws, notably in the AI errors and fickle checkpoints, but the overall experience should be worthwhile for anyone looking for a reasonably authentic yet still fun military experience. It may not be as alive as ArmA II's civilian inhabited world, but it's also a lot more polished than the indie title. The graphics are excellent due to Codemaster's Ego engine, though not as great as the Ego based racing games, and the terrain is a very well interpreted Kiska island (renamed Skira for the game.) The world does feel particularly empty and devoid of life like the stereotypical battlefield more reminiscent of WWII than modern urban warfare, but aside from that there's a sense of real terrain and a real mission. When debating whether to choose Operation Flashpoint versus ArmA II, it's best to keep in mind they're both different. Where ArmA II will likely be king of the PC online multiplayer military sims due to its open server setup, Flashpoint provides a more polished single player and co-op experience, as well as being the only game of its type on console, short of the re-released original Operation Flashpoint on XBox 360. The flaws prevent the score from reaching a high apex, but it's best to keep in mind that while the score is absolute, the experience is relative. If you're looking for a military sim, especially on console, Dragon Rising is a great game, even if objective nitpicking whittles down the score a bit, just keep in mind that it's not an action game and serves a very specific niche of those looking for realistic combat conditions. Wall jumping with a rocket launcher and jumping from rooftops would be very, very unwise.

Rating

Personal Note

Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Depth - Multiplayer  Reviewed by John Del Percio
GRAPHICS
88 %

It's not perfect, but the Ego engine does, as always, an excellent job. For consoles the graphics, especially the sprites for grass, brush, and trees look a little cheesy at times, but considering the draw distance we're talking about, and rendering little dots of soldiers on far away mountainsides shooting somewhat accurately at you, it's a remarkable feat on console. For PC, the graphics are definitely pushed a bit farther with more detailed world objects. The Ego engine doesn't render quite as photo-perfect as they do in racing games such as DiRT 2, but compared to ArmA II's aging Real Virtuality engine it's gorgeous.

SOUND
83 %

The voice acting isn't anything Shakespeare would be hiring, but they're very authentic comm chatter voices for a military engagement. Where the game shines is in the raucous and chaotic gunfire, mortar fire, gunships, tanks, jeeps, and other disorienting sound. Bullets are well placed and are about as easy as one would expect them to be to trace based on the sounds of them whizzing by your head. There's nothing truly special about the sounds, beyond the fact that they're real enough to blend in to the world.

GAMEPLAY
89 %

Great attention to detail, realism, and excellent use of diverse terrain make for some great tactical action. The radial menu for the squad control is a required evil, but could have been better laid out. AI issues weaken some great battles, and for console gamers, the tiny enemies far away may be too hard to see at times, while they seem able to shoot you easily enough. Often, they have longer range weapons, in those cases though, and the experience of taking out an objective and hauling out as fast as possible is slick and well designed. Overall it's a great gameplay set, a bit tighter than that of the original Flashpoint or ArmA, but without sacrificing too much of the wide-open feel.

DEPTH
94 %

Story-wise, it's another anonymous battle just like any other. Gameplay wise, there is infinite depth. It may not have a civilian population to worry about, but the combat tactics, weapon choices, angle of attack, etc. are virtually infinite, and relies purely on your skill. It's impossible to strip many points for depth from any game of the simulator genre, though it's not as technically entailed as, say, an aircraft simulator, so a fairly round score fits it well.

MULTIPLAYER
86 %

While it's not as geared for multiplayer gaming as the PC-only ArmA II, it still has an impressive multiplayer set. The co-op campaign will be the highlight for many, as the campaign is so well polished, running through it with real squad mates can only make it better (especially since you don't need the radial menu.) Open skirmish maps also provide sandbox gameplay for assaulting human opponent squads. For console, the population on the servers may be thin, largely due to a smaller audience playing the game, and for PC the population will be thinner and shorter lived than open server based games. On the other hand, given the likes of some of the people hanging out on the Halo and Quake waiting rooms, the smaller more mature audience has a strong appeal. Split-screen co-op would have been a strong boon for console players, but it's a miracle that the game can be rendered on consoles at all, let alone doing so twice.



Games like this have become increasingly rare in modern times. In the PC dominated gaming days ultra-serious hardcore games were a dime a dozen in the shovelware bins. Back in the DOS gaming days, they were virtually the only types of games around. Now you have to look long and hard to find complicated simulators. It should be no wonder that the company that brought us oddball games like Perimeter and Overlord would be one of the few willing to go out on a limb for a hardcore game as well, but whatever the case, it's nice to know that in the wake of companies like MicroProse, there's at least a handful of companies willing to cater to more refined gaming tastes in the flashy modern era. It may be niche, but if you only have one competitor, you get at least half that niche as customers, so it may not be as business-unsavvy as it sounds! Amusingly, one apparently obvious missing element to the authentic real war experience in this game is salsa dancing, book clubs, and karaoke...go get some, marine! No points were deducted from the score for this omission...

Overall Rating

 


 


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