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Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Review

by R834,
6th April 2011
The first thing I noticed was the graphics, but not in a good way. Everything seemed to be covered in jaggies (pixelation that results in slopes looking like saw blades) and the colour scheme is rather dull too, seeming to comprise of only dark green, brown, and grey.

I was helpless with the controls for a while as well. I wanted to have a button mapping similar to what I'm used to from games such as Call of Duty, but the button assignment options from the PC version are nowhere to be seen on console, so I was forced to sit down and learn the controls.

I got to grips with the controls just as I was thrown into some introductory action. Using the Squad Command wheel, I persuaded my squad to lay down some suppressive fire to keep the enemy behind their cover while I picked them off with my scope. It was here I realised that this game is definitely a simulation, as bullets drop over distance. On the other hand, the enemies still take bullets like a brick wall before going down, instead of being thrown to the ground in pain, which detracted from the realism.

Skip forward and I was introduced to the rather stodgy driving mechanics. The car skids like crazy around corners and is extremely bouncy when flipped over, which I found out first-hand. Using some of my subtle driving skill, I thundered over a hill onto an enemy anti-air weapon, managing to impale my car on the emplacement in the process. I survived and the turret was destroyed, but my car was now stuck irreversibly on the smouldering remains of the turret.

Having lost my car, I was forced to trudge by foot for 1.8km, which was extremely dull. On the other end of this long walk, I found another enemy encampment. Creeping into a good sniping spot, my allies failed to notice an enemy who had appeared behind me before he filled me with holes. Bam. I was dead.

Here I discovered Op Flash's lack of checkpoints as I was placed back next to my impaled car, 1.8km away from the objective.

Over time, the game's little niggles revealed themselves. The Squad Command Wheel severely hinders your movement while you trawl through the menus to find the correct command, leaving you exposed.

The AI seems a bit thick too; how they made it through army training we may never know: enemies stand stock still behind cover if you're more than a certain distance away, despite showering them with bullets and my medic ignores my desperate cries for help as I'm dying, only making a dash towards me at the last minute and getting shot in the process.

Add that to the sat-nav style on-the-fly voice acting, and believing your character and team-mates are real people is near impossible.

The good in all this is the detail the developers put into the military equipment, which I'm sure any army connoisseur will be pleased with.

Overall, this game is a simulation, and definitely not for casual players. It will provide something for those interested in military sims, but its execution is frustrating. Dodgy driving, dumb AI, and a sheer lack of checkpoints detract from what could have been a great game.

Final Score
5/10