Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Does anybody remember the older Ghost Recon games? They were a pc series of first person shooters that did military style campaigns with a significant degree of realism. They were always fun, they were always challenging, and they were always fulfilling. I haven’t played any of the previous Operation Flashpoint games, but I was a fan of Ghost Recon, and I’ve been aching for something along that style of play to pop up sometime soon. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, brings the nostalgia back with an excellent formula for both single and multiplayer gaming goodness.
The multiplayer offers cooperative play against the computer, or competitive play against other players, either online or via a LAN. Games were very easy to find, there were plenty of servers running and players were eager to start games. I played through several maps of both the cooperative and competitive styles and had a blast, regardless of the style of map, but there was something nagging at me the whole while that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then one of my teammates suddenly started speaking, and I realized exactly what it was. PS3, unlike the Xbox360, doesn’t just out and hand you a headset along with your first controller, and that lack of communication in a game like Operation Flashpoint could get you killed very quickly. The squad leader has a list of options and commands he can issue to try to guide the team in the correct direction, but unless everybody on the team has purchased a microphone to use on the PS3, sometimes you lose track of your squadmates, or aren’t quite sure what they’re doing. I’m not faulting the game for this at all, I’m faulting Sony, but because of the obvious effect it has on the game it needed to be mentioned. So whether you’re trouncing the computer or trying to outmaneuver a real squad of opposing players, keep your squadmates in sight, or you might find yourself out in the open and drawing way more fire than you can handle. Overall though, the multiplayer aspect is both challenging, rewarding, and well paced. You never feel like you’re sitting there waiting for something to happen. On the contrary, more often than not you’re on the edge of your seat as bullets slam into the ground beside you and you pray that none of them actually hit their mark. The game’s damage system is very realistic, and it only takes a shot or so to the torso to kill you. So keep your head down, stay in cover, and make your own shots count.
Operation Flashpoint has a playstyle that almost feels more like a real life simulation than a video game. It trades the glitz and the non-stop action for the realism of intense, spur of the moment adrenaline rushes and the dramatic, nerve-wracking periods of silence in between. Visually, it’s still a pretty attractive game. The graphics aren’t cutting edge, but for a game of Operation Flashpoint’s massive scale (you have an entire island to traverse), it keeps everything well in a realistic perspective. If they’d gone overboard on the graphics, I don’t honestly think they could have fit the entire game on one cd. Sound quality is crisp, clear, realistic, and at times uncomfortably quiet. When you can’t hear anything but your own breathing, then all of a sudden someone in your squad spots the enemy and bullets start whizzing by, your own squad’s rifles are cracking away, and the groan of trucks or whopping of a helicopter adds to the tension, you really get immersed in the experience. At any given moment you’re sneaking quietly through the trees, then the next your fighting for your life as bark splinters off the tree you’re hiding behind and dirt flies up into your eyes, obscuring your view (yes, it really does this). Operation Flashpoint definitely went for a combat simulation style with the game, making as much of the game mechanics as they could as realistic as possible without going overboard on the graphics and turning it into an unnecessary gore-fest. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising brings out the fun in it’s team play, high stakes gameplay and the simple fulfillment of surviving a firefight when you’re outnumbered on a regular basis and just one bullet in the wrong place can bring you down. I recommend picking the game up without a second thought.
Check out Operation Flashpoint’s website for some really well done videos on the game.
|Sony, what the hell man? Give us all headsets so I can rate this game the 5 it deserves!|
Demon’s Souls, also for the PS3, will get a review sometime within the next couple days.