Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising was an anticipated shooter, with a lot to live up to with its famous predecessor, a lot was gambling on the new release of Dragon Rising, but would it deliver as good as it promised?
To give you a good idea on the game, imagine the seriousness of a COD game, the tactical squad control of Rainbow Six Vegas, and the free roam of Far Cry 2. 3 great games, but could a combination of the three be pulled off so well to make it the granddaddy of FPS video games?
Ok, so what makes the game such a combination of references to other First person shooters? Let’s start with the seriousness…
From the moment you put the game in and start the campaign your greeted with a rather strong tone of warfare, the popular tagline from the game is ‘as close to war as you’ll ever want to get’, the beginning sequence is a quick reel on the history of a small island off the coast of eastern Asia known as Skira which has been constantly fought over by surrounding counties, Russia, China and Japan. As the timeline progress’ into not so far away future the US are called in by Russia to maintain a stable assault against an attacking Chinese PLA force. So here’s our setting, and why were here.
Now let’s look at the free roam side, the island of Skira is completely open to you during each mission every inch of the 220KM2 bloody thing in fact. The missions have select objectives, mostly main objectives but some are hidden away on the main map as secondary objectives, completing these will reward with achievements for sacrificing your time, as the mission objectives, both main and secondary are VERY far away, the map is massive, and in cases like this involving very little checkpoints and horrendously badly handling vehicles which are few and far between…bigger, definitely isn’t always better.
Which then leaves us to the tactics. And more importantly…the A.I. Tactic’s, there’s a huge amount you can do which is all incredibly in depth and varied. You’re given rules of engagement options, squad formations, attack and defense options and that’s just the small of it. Its tactic options are second to none on the quality scale but our environments and A.I. are what let it slip.
A lot of the time, combat is long range…very…very long range. The game is notorious for being devilishly difficult and the main factor towards this is health. Usually, 1-2 hits depending on where and you are down and out. What causes the fights to be so long distance is the pain caused by the fact the enemies accuracy is 10 times better than your own and your team mates. Even at over 250 feet away you’ll be struggling to keep your enemies down where as a simple stray bullet from them will easily crack you square in the face and your painfully restarting the mission for another slug through such a massive environment.
Along with this, I found my A.I. was often a lot more useful dead. Mainly because that’s what they often ended up from just following me around. Whilst the actions and commands you have for your team are great, the way your team get around to doing it is sluggish and painful to watch, just as it was when I was telling one of my men to get into a car in which the rest of my team were in. Me, sitting in the drivers seat would then push another out. An agonizing cycle began which ended in myself running over one of my team in frustration to the next objective. Whilst it was a fun and stress relieving way to fix my problem, I later needed that extra squad mate to sponge up some of the bullets being fired in my direction later.
Whilst the small niggles are still only rather small, they soon snowball into this massive shadow which grudgingly lingers over the entire game, putting you off it completely. The unresponsive A.I., the 5 minute drive (usually a walk) each and every time you die to get to the next objective and then general lack of feeling behind each weapon you have to lug around with you just turns the game into a slow paced bore which quickly makes its way out of your disk tray for something more user friendly.
On paper, Dragon Rising sounds, looks and should be an absolutely hooking first person experience with tight knit combat and add the option of co-op with three other players and this game in theory is a benchmark for awesomeness. Yet in reality, what should be a titanic of a war game, being a real contender to Modern Warfare 2, instead, much more like the ship, it sinks with a massive game play iceberg bringing it to its knees. With such disappointment behind the game, and its release being so close to Modern Warfare 2, poor judgment on the launch means that Operation Flashpoint is definitely on the back list for most gamers. With the game being targeted to the Hardcore FPS community anyway, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is far from a game for shooter fans, and even the hardcore ones may want to give it a miss.
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Review: Operation Flashpoint - Dragon Rising
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