Operation Flashpoint has a long standing reputation of delivering a brutal experience, all in an attempt to capture the true nature of modern warfare. Standing up in a genre that is spearheaded by the unmovable Call of Duty, is there still a place for this hardened series? Building on the mechanics established in previous iterations of the series, while managing to make the game more accessible ensures that Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a solid experience despite its shortcomings.
What Operation Flashpoint: Red River Got Right
Intense Firefights – OP: Red River offers intense and brutal firefights throughout the ten hour campaign. Players will need to rely on their squadmates, find suitable cover and use strategic gameplay to survive. Unlike the frivolous battles experience in other typical modern warfare titles, OF: Red River offers challenging and highly rewarding combat.
Co-Op Gameplay – While the capabilities of the A.I should be commended, OP: Red River needs to be played with friends to truly appreciate the experience. Strategy and teamwork is paramount to success, and you would be hard pressed to find a more rewarding experience in squad-based shooters. The four class dynamic employed by the title (Scout, Rifleman, Auto-Rifleman, Grenadier) offers a deep squad mechanic that is hard to find in traditional entries in the genre.
Slick Command Structure – Ordering defensive positions, attack commands and flanking is a necessity during combat. Thankfully the developer has implemented a slick and easy to use command radial wheel which makes issuing commands a breeze. Sending your squad to flank, defend or attack has never been so easy, and is empirical to the success of squad-based game play.
Semi-Simulation Gameplay – OP: Red River is brutal; it will only take a few bullets to kill you or at least wound you severely. The semi-simulation gameplay mechanics are welcome change from the spray and pray mentality we are often subjected to. You will be forever looking over your shoulder to survive, or relying on your teammates to have a medkit handy to patch you up. However it is worth mentioning that this is the most accessible iteration of the popular franchise, which could anger some of the longtime fans. It’s still very much hardcore, but this new level of accessibility will allow newcomers to the series to get a firm grip of the game play.
What Operation Flashpoint: Red River Got Wrong:
Restrictive Battlefields – The Operation Flashpoint series is known for its vast and open battlefields, however Red River is quite restrictive as to how much land you can traverse. If you step too far away from the battlefield you will be given a short warning, keep going and you end up dead. It’s such a shame because some of the scenery is just begging for exploration. It doesn’t ruin the game play in a strategic manner, however it does detract from the immersion.
Downtime – Epic firefights are bookended by long, drawn out and quite frankly, boring jeep rides. You are all geared up to take out some insurgents but then you’ll need to sit on a five minute jeep ride and listen to your commanding officer prattle on the whole way. You finally arrive and the fight breaks out. Once its all said and done you can look forward to another five minute jeep ride to the extraction point and once again become subjected to the pointless drivel from your commanding officer. It breaks the experience and is ultimately a huge downfall, resulting in boredom.
Characters and Voice Acting – The voice acting in general sounds like it was completed by one of those automated voice applications much like a cheap GPS unit. Your comrades simply bark acknowledgement for orders and have no personality whatsoever. Unfortunately it seems the developer put all the voice acting on the commanding officer who feels the need to constantly drop the F-bomb and tack on pointless profanities that make no sense. It wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact you are subjected to these painfully out of place exchanges in the aforementioned downtime scenes. Typical banter from the commander is on par with other tiles such as Bulletstorm, which given the setting seems a little inappropriate.
The Final Verdict
It’s brutal, it’s intense and it’s a lot of fun. Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a different breed of modern warfare shooters, however it falls short due to long downtime sequences and shoddy voice acting. It may be a little more accessible than its predecessors, but it still offers a solid experience for fans of military simulations. A solid game play experience which is enhanced by great co-op integration, and is worthy a place in this long running series.