Gamereactor UK. Watch the latest video game trailers, and interviews from the biggest gaming conventions in the world. Gamereactor uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best browsing experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy with our cookies policy

English
Gamereactor
reviews
Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Codemasters have put a lot of effort into story-telling and the co-operative mode in Red River, but does it still hold up as the definite infantry simulation?

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field
HQ

I've been on a steady diet of curses, weapon grease and gravel for the last week. I've been asked to run around rural Tajikistan like a mad man with a pissed off commander shouting at me throughout the experience. It's not been easy, but Operation Flashpoint isn't meant to offer the same kind of experience as other first person shooters. Instead of a tight, scripted and predictable journey where everything is served on a silver platter, this is something that demands much more out of the player.

The conflict revolves around a group of rebels who have fled Afghanistan and established themselves in Tajikistan. When the rebels become increasingly violent a squad of marines travels across the border to fight them in Tajikistan. When China finds out, they get nervous and decide to lay claim to the same territory, and all of a sudden we're caught in a three way war.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

If you've been around for a while you will recall the first Operation Flashpoint for its strict and brutal realism. When Codemasters assumed control of the license they tried to adapt the concept to a modern audience. They managed decently with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, even if I feel that it was rather stiff and frustrating in retrospect. Codemasters clearly attempted to deliver the same brand of experience Bohemia once did, but this time around things are very different.

This is an ad:

Codemasters have tried to maintain the basic concept to the best of their abilities and largely succeed in doing so while also adding some new elements in Red River. It's still a very challenging game, where you will be punished as soon as you lose focus on your objective. If you stand around looking out at your surroundings with binoculars at night from your cosy and well-lit hut you are likely to be an easy target for a sniper. The countryside of Tajikistan is a dangerous place, and you are always fighting against an enemy that outnumbers your squad.

Once again you're in charge of a four men squad, and you can pick from four different classes. Personally I picked the sniper class as I prefer to pick off my enemies from a far to get a smoother trip through the countryside. Most of your escapades scores you experience and as you rise in ranks you gain access to new weapons, upgrades and abilities for your squad.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Codemasters have mixed the infantry simulation from Dragon Rising with a healthy dose of Hollywood. Instead of the partly boring, lifeless and impersonal experience Dragon Rising offered, there is a lot more focus on the characters this time around. Instead of formal orders over radio you've got a constantly foul mouthed superior showering you with army clichés. Your enemy are mostly motherfuckers and you and your squad aren't worth squat. Codemasters make an effort to give the player an increased sense of comradery as every is either cursing at you or shooting at you.

This is an ad:

Each mission starts off with a mad general giving you an outline of what you're supposed to accomplish and you will quickly notice the change of tone since the last game. While it's a more entertaining take that creates a better overall experience there are also problems to be found in Red River. The by far biggest problem is the horrible artificial intelligence that your companions suffers from.

It's incredibly frustrating to have to micro-manage their every move to get them to act appropriately. If I order them to take cover and hold a position and take it for granted that they seek cover to the best of their abilities not stand six feet from the cover their squad mates have taken refuge behind. When they fail to get into cover they are easy targets and you're going to have to heal them. It puts the rest of your squad in danger and makes for a frustrating and slow moving experience.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

When this pattern repeats over and over again in a firefight you have to wonder about the balance in Red River. What is even worse is how often your squad mates run in front of you as you trying to shoot the enemy and you end up killing them. During one mission I manage to kill the whole squad as they made like chickens and ran back and forth in front of me. As I tried to pick off Chinese troops with my M14 I kept seeing American soldiers in front of me. They pop out of nowhere, running and screaming that they're in the line of fire. There is something awfully wrong with that picture.

It has even happened on occasion that a soldier has run around in front of the cover. Some soldiers just seem completely out of their minds as they run back and forth all over the place. When this is combined with the uneven balance you end up feeling more frustrated than entertained. Codemasters claim to have built the experience from the ground for the co-operative online mode, but it's not just your own squad mates who display an alarming lack of intelligence.

The co-operative experience is a lot of fun, even if some of the problems I've mentioned persist. The co-operative experience is not limited to the campaign as there is also a game mode reminiscent of Firefight in Halo or Horde in Gears of War. Four soldiers trying to survive wave after wave of enemies. A very entertaining game mode much like it was in Halo and Gears of War.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Despite the fact that Operation Flashpoint: Red River tops its predecessor in many areas there are just too many flaws. The uneven balance and the random soldier behaviour makes for an experience where terrific firefights and mixed with horrible chaos. The game is technically impressive with vast and beautiful environments blessed with great lighting. Well crafted character models and solid texture work are paired with jerky animations and awful particle effects. I may have expected more from the game, but Codemasters pulled off the Hollywood style surprisingly well.

This without ever becoming as superficial as Call of Duty: Black Ops or Homefront. Where you're a passive marionette on a roller coaster ride in those games, always where the action is. Here you have to work to improve your position and it's a constant struggle. It's just too bad you're not going to enjoy much of if you're playing on your own, while players who go online will have a great time.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River
Operation Flashpoint: Red River
Operation Flashpoint: Red River
Operation Flashpoint: Red River
HQ
06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
+
Excellent co-operative mode, nice environments, great atmosphere, well crafted experience system.
-
Horrible AI, unevenly balanced combat, awful animations.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

Related texts



Loading next content