Operation Flashpoint: Red River - Don't Even Bother

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Operation Flashpoint: Red River (OP:RR) is a game that prides itself for being authentic. And I’m down with the whole one bullet kills players bit. I really am. In fact after soaking up a gazillion bullets as a human sponge in games like Call of Duty, Operation Flashpoint’s USP is somewhat of a pleasant change of pace. It ensures you don’t just dash onto the battlefield with reckless abandon, moving ahead carefully making every shot count. Unfortunately the game is such a horribly unpolished mess, it ends up just embarrassing itself, and the rest of the shooter fraternity.

The game actually looks a lot worse than this

The game actually looks a lot worse than this

 

OP: RR takes place in Tajikistan where you and your team of hardened marines are sent to save the day. Throughout the game, you’re given orders by one of the most annoying characters in videogame history. Not only does he spout expletives like a 15 year old who’s just learnt to abuse but worst of all, his idiotic, banal and terribly lengthy monologues about being the baddest badass in all of badassland cannot be skipped.

I am like so bored right now

I am like so bored right now

 

 

The Operation Flashpoint series have been known for their realism and authenticity and Red River continues that tradition where a single bullet could end your life. Only developer Codemasters seem to have somewhat of an identity crisis as the game tries to walk the thin line between authenticity and CoD-esque explosive fun, failing on both ends. I mean how else can you explain the ability to sprint aimless for miles on end? Ok fine, let’s say for a minute all the marines present in this game have mad cardio skills, how is it that they can sprint while crouching as well? Also why is it that I am shot in the same place every time? No matter where I get tagged from, my character always undergoes the same animation when shot. He never gets shot in the chest, legs, stomach or even head for that matter. And how convenient is it that there are crates of ammunition lying all over the map? Now I know you’re probably thinking I’m nitpicking but games like Battlefield and Modern Warfare embrace their over-the-top shenanigans so it’s all good. OP:RR tries be all hardcore and stuff which is why all these gameplay designs strike me as odd.

For a game that relies heavily on tactical, squad based action, Red River’s AI is a complete mess. Your team will rarely listen to commands and will almost always run in front of your line of fire. I guess they missed the part in military school where they were trained to avoid fire. To be honest there were instances when they handled themselves just fine in battle, but for most of the time, they were proved themselves useful only to distract enemies so you could flank them. They will also never revive you in battle, walking past your dying corpse like nothing’s wrong. Sometimes I feel they just don’t like me.

Enemy AI is equally horrible in this game. In most cases you’ll actually witness enemies dart out from cover into the open and just wait there patiently while you pick them off (talk about being co-operative). Enemies will almost never use any sort of tactics or even bother flanking you. If you spot an enemy from a distance near a bush he will still be waiting for you at that same bush even if you get there after a nice stroll in the park.

No move out of my line of fire

No move out of my line of fire

 

The part about strolling in the park is me being sarcastic because Red River is a painfully linear game that immediately orders you to get back on track if you try deviating from the set path. You can forget about surveying the game world to get a drop on your enemies; you have to follow the path laid out for you by the game via its painfully annoying bread trail. But instead of embracing its linear roots like a Call of Duty, Red River likes to present an illusion to players that they’re playing an open ended game where tactics are welcome. Throughout the many (and I mean many) painfully long (but utterly meaningless) hikes you’ll embark upon in this game, the only thing you’ll be doing is marveling at this game’s God awful visuals. There were times when I couldn’t fully comprehend the fact that I was playing a game in 2011. It’s that fugly. Oh and the game employs a highly anal auto save point system which means if you die, you will have to back track like crazy. And you know what else is not fun? Being run over the very same convoy you’re supposed to mount and then being forced to replay a highly annoying section all over again.

Modelling FTW!

Modelling FTW!

 

Now you’re probably thinking I didn’t like this game at all, and yeah, it was a painful experience but somewhere deep down, like really deep, there’s some semblance of an enjoyable game. It’s really exciting to plan your attack carefully knowing full well that a stray bullet could end your life immediately. It provides a sense of tension absent in some of the more recent shooters on the block. And like always, the game’s a lot better in co-op. While I couldn’t play the campaign in co-op, I could fire up a few FTE (Fire Team Engagement) rounds which is kind of like the horde mode from Gears where you and a team of three must survive waves of enemies while fulfilling certain objectives. As you can see it doesn’t drastically deviate from the single player missions but like I mentioned earlier, they are fun to play through with three more players.

Unfortunately the few plus points this game has to offer are outweighed tremendously but its negatives and you’ll have to wade through too much crap to get to those parts. With the plethora of options for shooter fans today, there’s really no incentive to put up with Red River’s numerous short comings.


Published Date: May 06, 2011 05:03 pm | Updated Date: May 06, 2011 05:03 pm