Red River is the
next instalment of the popular Operation Flashpoint series from
Codemasters that really challenges the first person genre. Just like
ArmA 2, Codemasters aims for a realistic first person shooter
experience that puts the worlds superpowers on high alert due to a
civil war in the Islamic Republic of Tajikistan.
As self-made peace
keepers of the world, the United States have sent an elite force of
soldiers to help smooth the situation but when China discovers their
involvement, they believe that the Americans have ulterior motives
which further adds to the conflict in this corner of the world.
Interestingly enough, the story of Operation Flashpoint with its twinges
of Tom Clancy is actually a decent enough story and it's actually
quite a refreshing change from aliens and zombies.
Just like Call of Duty, there is even
an experience system incorporated
into the game which allows your characters to level up with one of
four classes that include Rifleman, Grenadier, Scout and
Auto-Rifleman. Each class has their pros and cons plus a tech-tree.
This system is a little light in terms of content but it does work.
After each mission, you are awarded a medal from bronze to gold and
the better you perform, the more experience you will gain.
With two gameplay modes that include Campaign and Fire Team
Engagements, Red River will give most veteran first person shooter
lovers a challenge as they take on their enemies. Campaign mode for
me was the highlight of the game as you join your squad of marines,
lead by the enigmatic Staff Sergeant Knox to show your enemies what
it means to be an American "peacekeeper". All kidding aside, Red
River features all your classic military clichés to add to the
experience. Just be warned, your Knox has a very vulgar mouth!
Even though the game uses the standard first person shooter
archetype, the campaign mode has a variety of missions that does
enhance the gameplay as you make your way from start to finish. The
other mode, Fire-team Engagements is where the multiplayer action
takes which uses modified maps from the campaign mode and changes
the familiar multiplayer modes like Combat Sweep which is basically
an elimination mode that requires you to kill everyone or Last Stand
which is modified hoard mode. The best part of online is the
co-operative play as opposed to the single-player which is still not
perfect and generally once again, leaves most of the work up to the
There are however
some fun guns to be used in Red River but as this gamer borders on
realism... the sniper is the bomb! Missions in single-player can be
a little long, especially when sitting in vehicles which seems like
to draw on and on. Fights are quite slow and don't expect Halo type
battles because you need to take your time or you'll be finding
yourself with a bullet in the head. There's some great elements of
tension employed in the game, in both single-player and multiplayer.
Graphically, the title may not be as graphically impressive as Call
of Duty: Black Ops but Red River does have its moments which looks
not bad on the XBox 360, especially on FULL HD. All the characters
move well and the environments, special effects and interaction have
been well implemented. However after seeing the facial feature
technology from L.A. Noire, it's very hard going back to the zombie
like faces. Even so, Red River uses some very impressive lighting
effects, especially with the weather. Add in decent voice
acting, lots of sounds, especially explosions and the colourful
language of Knox plus a Hollywood faux soundtrack and the title
comes together rather well.
In conclusion, Operation Flashpoint: Red River is an interesting
game that fits somewhere between Call of Duty: Black Ops and ArmA
II. The game has been consoled down which is not a bad thing because
the control system works quite well on the XBox 360. The
single-player game is a little lacklustre but the developers should
be commended on the realism incorporated into the game. However
where it does shine is by playing online and with more DLC coming
soon, this game might keep quite a few busy in the coming months.