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Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising PC Review - -

Gameplay 7.1
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.5
Value 7.1
Developer: Codemasters
Review Date:
October 2009
Edwin Millheim
Classification: M15+


Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising

Grab your ILBE, because your going In Country Marine! The radio traffic came in for the new AO, and it's Lima Charlie. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is one hell of a tactical simulator with real world USMC tactics in mind. It's an open world and mission have several objectives or mission points that can be handled in any order the player deems fit. At this time there is good and bad points to the game, though for the blistering experience Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising brings the player, the good points outweigh the bad points. Any bugs that made it past the final testing will be squashed with any updates or patches I am sure.


  • Freedom of Play – Operation Flashpoint 2 will give players the freedom to handle military crisis situations on their initiative. Unscripted missions will task players with real objectives, such as laying down covering fire, covering a friendly unit’s retreat or conducting short-range recon patrol. Armed with cutting edge military hardware, players will need to balance brute force with intelligent use of tactics. Once players have completed the campaign, a Mission Editor enables gamers to create their own single player and multiplayer missions.

  • The most realistic modern military conflict game – Operation Flashpoint 2 features unparalleled levels of realism and variety of military forces, equipment, weapons and tactics. Fully loaded weapons and individual ammunition types will be simulated with detailed ballistic physics, based upon individually-crafted mechanics. Players will command and control a wide variety of multi-component, multi-weapon vehicles, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, APCs, attack and utility helicopters. The character damage system authentically depicts the terrible wounds and injury from modern weapons to communicate the reality of combat.

  • Platoon-Based Combat - As an epic campaign weaves the narrative, players will fight as infantry soldiers in battle, drive tanks in armored assaults, pilot helicopters in air strikes, and infiltrate the enemy in covert special operations utilizing a wide variety of realistic military weapons from knives and rifles to machine guns, grenade launchers and laser designators for air strikes. In whichever role the player chooses, they will experience the fierce and brutal reality of warfare and the shock and awe of contemporary firepower unleashed on the arresting scale of modern combat.

  • Redefines the Size of Battle - Immense play areas of more than 135 square miles give players a multitude of tactical decisions on how to best accomplish missions. Densely packed with environment detail and objects, valleys, mountains, coastlines, towns, villages and industrial complexes all combine to deliver a rich and challenging tactical environment. The world is persistent, so that buildings destroyed in one campaign mission will be destroyed in the next.

  • Stylised Cinematography - Operation Flashpoint 2 will model the environment, objects and people in realistic detail, but its visual styling will embrace documentary techniques. The camera work through cut-scenes will be heavily influenced by television war reports that are often shot under extreme circumstances delivering a unique look with incorrect exposure, severe camera shake and loss of focus.

With this return to the ground breaking and much anticipated title, (And I really hate using much anticipated in any review, though in this case it is correct) players take on the role of trying to defuse a military Flashpoint between global powers that could well spark a massive war. In the game U.S Marines and Special Forces operatives are dispatched to take back the oil-rich Russian Island of Skira from an invading force of the People's Liberation Army of China.

Now the stage is set, let me just get out of the way some of the things that take away from the game, some of the things that we can only hope will be changed or tweaked in any patches. Word from Codemasters is pretty positive as a PC and Console patch is in the works. There are some heavy connectivity issues with the online game aspect that many players have reported, these are close to resolution. Which by the time you read this my well be fully addressed... Tweaks to the AI are also something that may be addressed. It's great to have big maps, but sometimes when you have to walk miles and miles to get to the next objective with nothing going on any place else, it can get a bit tedious. For right now, many message boards are alight with not so happy players dealing with the multiplayer issues, and the AI which can be a bit on the stupid side, I mean really should a commander have to tell someone to take cover and not walk into the beaten zone and get themselves killed?

Now onward, the game once these issues are fixed, is a total win all around. Very well handled in many aspects. The front end menus and music is pretty smooth and pleasing to look at, mission information can be viewed either with just bare bones info, or a little more detailed information. Well done for the designers and writers of the script. In game menus where you call in support, or the quick command radial interface takes a bit of getting used to. Some players have complained about it being a bit awkward to use...especially in the middle of a fire fight. Though with more use, the system does seem to grow on you. The command system give the player that feel of command, though it feels a bit on the micromanaged side, it does thrust the burden of command on the player.

Graphics for the game are pretty good. Not everything is as super detailed as one may look for...though the graphics really do look good. Lighting effects and draw distance are consistent and look great considering the huge amounts of distance that are in the game. No jaggies or shimmer tearing was detected until using sniper scopes. Some parts of buildings would show the ever so slight tearing shimmer. This is by no way, enough to not appreciate the explosions and the dust these kick up, nor the red mist that spritzes the air on a smoke checked target. All the eye candy looks good.

Sounds, oh my the sounds, from the music which is very atmospheric, to the sounds of boots crunching on the different surfaces, or the hair raising sound of a bullet snapping past you, on the the sound of the breach clacking when firing a weapon. It's all hear and engineered masterfully for maximum effect. It's not always the heavy sounds, or even the ambient sound, but sometimes the sound of silence that really messes with you. It's all here to compliment and drive the visuals. Voice acting here also is a long way better than a certain earlier release of another war game which shall go unmentioned. Here you believe that these characters are experiencing this, you believe the radio actually look forward to the interaction. The sites and sounds of the game combine to bring about an impressive immersion of an experience.

The weapons and damage go hand and had of course, and there is enough hardware here to keep just about anyone happy. While the ballistic reactions and bullet drop seem to be well simulated, I do question one thing in particular. Firing the heavy Sniper Rifle from a standing position and managing to hit anything... not so sure about this being realistic. The Barrett, depending on it's barrel length weighs in at a hefty 29 to 30 pounds. Though muzzle kick does jump convincingly when it's fired. For long shots and using the sniper rifles especially requires an aim slightly above a target since I have not seen any way to dial in and make adjustments to the weapons site.

More on weapons and damage, getting hit you can bleed out if not attended to. This is indicated by a damage indicator showing that your bleeding. If no medical aid is rendered, that's all she wrote. Damage is indicated (When you have the HUD up) by a little human representation showing color coded areas of the body where the player has taken damage. Or with the HUD off, just by a slight haze of throbbing red around the corners of the screen. With the HUD, there is also a Red circle that represents bleeding. This circle turns from red to white slowly as the player bleeds out.

Difficulty in the game is not so much on how much harder the enemy comes at you or how skilled they are, the difficulty changes are more in visual ques on the HUD. So at higher difficulty there will be no aiming ques or anything like that. I find playing at the highest difficulty with most of the HUD turned off makes for a challenging and rewarding game. The game can be intense when the fire fights happen, knowing that bullets don't tone down there damage. Getting hit causes damage and death can happen, even from one shot. A shot to the head will ruin anyone's day. This in itself causes for more tactical thought and managing combat resources to be a must. Just running and gunning can get you only so far. Using your team for flanking and suppressive fire maneuvers is but a couple of skills the player must utilize.

The usable vehicles in the game can take some getting used to. While driving a vehicle there does not seem to be any free look ability. The view is cemented directly ahead. Even with this handicap I did manage in one mission to take out two enemy soldiers by ramming through their improvised road block. (they had just come out of a truck with their buddies and...well you get the idea.) But what a thrilling mission experience this was.

This massive game is an impressive tactical experience. Worth the small headaches it may cause till some patching takes place. Casual gamers may be more frustrated than the dedicated gamers, and more so if those dedicated gamers are looking for a game where you take massive damage and still go on...if that's your idea of a challenging experience in a game...don't even enlist here. Now if you want to have to really work for the rewards of victory and manage your team and get everyone out alive...then Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising, is for you.

Giving the player several main mission and side mission goals to accomplice. The greatest part being you can tackle the mission objectives in any order. The approach can be stealthy and then bring down the pain, or come in load and announced creating an even more difficult mission.

Out of the box, with some of the bugs hindering some player experience, Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising needs a bit more TLC from the developers, till then we are in a hurry up and wait situation.

Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising is out for the PC, Xbox 360 or PS3.
This review was for the PC version, tested on our Games review Rig, an Alienware Area 51 Quad core system.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim
Impulse Gamer



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