The super-realistic military sim franchise Operation Flashpoint rebooted in 2009 when Codemasters released Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising to PC and consoles.
It was met with a warm, but not very hot responses as it struggled to keep up with the fast-paced action-shooter franchises of the current generation. Codemasters hopes to inject a bit more vigor and life into the franchise with Red River’s a more modern atmosphere on the battlefield.
Will you want to climb into the boots of a hardened trained marine and see what it’s really like out in the field, or will you be left wanting to run back to your sci-fi pew-pew pistols in no time.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River isn’t really a sequel, but more like a new game planted into the previous engine. If you are confused about what I mean, think along the lines of Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
For this reason the game is actually incredibly similar to its predecessor, which means that I actually have no reason to repeat myself, and you as a reader fall into two categories. Either you are a complete newcomer to the franchise, which means you need to leave this page right now to read my review of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and then return back to finish off this review; or… you are a fan and you already know everything there is to know, which means you can just keep on reading.
I gave the previous title an 8.2/10, mostly stating that it wouldn’t be for everyone, but would likely be a treat for those who wanted something a lot more realistic and intelligent than your standard run-and-gun games of today. It had a couple of terrible bugs, some even game breaking, but overall it was a good time, especially with a couple of buddies in 4-player co-op. So let’s take a look at Operation Flashpoint: Red River to see what’s different.
For the most part, Red River really does play pretty much exactly the same as Dragon Rising. It is set in the tiny country Tajikistan, which you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking was a made-up setting for the game.
In order to appeal to the Call of Duty and Battlefield fans of the world, Codemasters seemed to think that the first order of business (besides almost completely copying their box art designs) was to put you in a very modern-time Iraq/Afghanistan-like scenario and make a very angry superior officer Sgt. Knox swear at you a hell of a lot.
So you know the deal then. It’s marines, it’s Hum-vees and choppers , it’s swearing and it’s a lot of sand and mountains all over the place. You run around or take transports from location to location completing objectives as bravo squad alongside alpha, charlie and your very grumpy superior.
While the game and missions plays out similarly to Dragon Rising, it does feel like the mission pacing has been fixed a lot, which involves a lot less running for 5 minutes at a time, and a lot more interest. As far as gameplay is concerned, it feels pretty much exactly the same as the previous title, with your as the commander of your squad having to give orders out to your brothers in arms.
Many missions will have you moving through areas, clearing out small settlements, holding defensive positions and even calling airstrikes. While a lot of it can run along at a slow pace, that’s not to say that the game doesn’t come packed with a few very hair action-packed sequences… and in a game where one or two bullets can severely spoil your day, it can be crazy at times and a lot of fun to do with a bunch of friends online as you all scream and shout locations of enemies at each other.