Saturday, October 10, 2009

Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising

You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore! :<

I picked this game up on launch (pre-ordered it at Game) since I loved the first Operation Flashpoint for PC back in the day. And after playing it for 3 days straight I thought I should let you guys in on the fun as well as give you guys my two cents.

For those of you not in the know, OFP2 is an open world (as in a massive map that would take 9 hours to cross, if you ever felt like taking an in game hike) where the player can tackle his mission from any direction on foot or by commandeering vehicles (ranging from Jeeps to tanks and helicopters) with your trusty squad of three (very capable AI soldiers) which can be replaced by human players in online coop.

First of all, this game requires some amount of patience as you need to trek to the objectives and plan your attacks (or at least be slightly aware of what you and your enemy is doing).Gone are the corridor levels and restricted paths.

Crawling through the vegetation and occasionally pulling out your binoculars and map is a pretty cool experience in itself though, especially on Hardcore where there's no HUD ,heads up display, meaning you won't see how many bullets are left in your mag, no compass no in game markers holding your hand and showing you the checkpoints and your squad mates won't re spawn if they get shot. nothing. Although the enemy doesn't get harder or more numerous, it's enough to put the weight of every move you make painfully clear to the player. this is where the game is at its best too, the atmosphere of sneaking into a PLA base at night with only yourself to blame if you mock up is so fucking tight and unprecedented on a console until now.

Also the damage system is very deep, ranging from non lethal wounds that'll slowly bleed you out unless you compress it, moderate wounds that will incap you on the ground, leaving you screaming for a medic, to outright one shot kills. the cool thing is that it applies to everyone. sometimes it's enough to just incap an enemy and focus on those who still pose a threat, while you on the other hand may want to go for the final blow just to make sure no medic gets to the downed enemy and gets him back in the game. which FINALLY allows me to use my favorite sniper tactic, incap someone and wait for the rest to show up and try to rescue him.

The controls work extremely well (I'm playing it on my 360, there's PC and Ps3 versions as well). the jeeps feel a bit off when going off road though, but they're easy to drive so it's not a big deal. Weapons feel tight and heavy, bullets even ricochet of rocks and the like, while spewing up dirt in your face if they land too close for comfort. (I've yet to drive helo's and tanks yet, mainly since this OFp focuses mainly on infantry, and I like it that way.)
the command radial for ordering your squad around takes some time to learn since it has more options than attack, hold and follow me. but after a while it'll be a welcome addition to your arsenal.

The Sound is good, especially from the guns and the vehicles, but some of the voice commands can sound a bit choppy (copy pasting words style). extra points goes to the sweet song in the menus.

As I mentioned before the game sports a 4 player coop mode, which lets you take on the entire story (and there's standalone missions too) which is great, each player will replace the AI squad mates and on normal you will respawn if you die after a short amount of time (though I'm pretty sure you won't on hardcore).
I just want to point out that the AI is great, albeit I've experienced a few mishaps here and there (mostly my squad mates standing up sometimes when I'm prone and sneaking trough the grass to avoid detection, and my backup once glitched and got stuck so I had to try to get by without it). But I've also seen them doing pure ├╝ber intelligent moves as well. and in the beginning they're better than you. no joke. Also vegetation and smoke does hinder AI sight which is more than can be said for most games...

The game also has two different competitive modes, one is your standard fare of killing the opposing team, only players can assume command of different squads containing AI soldiers that they can order around just like they would in the campaign, spicing up the old formula some. the other mode puts one team with superior numbers and an objective to defend a certain area or building, but they will have inferior equipment, while the other team are fewer, better equipped and must assault the objective.

Graphic wise is where the game lets up a little, which isn't surprising considering the huge world and the day/night cycle. on the other hand the lighting looks phenomenal and I love the fact that time passes, if you begin a mission at dawn you can expect it to end dusk (a mission usually takes around 45-60 minutes to complete). early morning fog looks beautiful and if you turn on the headlights at midnight it looks fantastic. And so does the smoke in this game, it lingers from explosions and behaves generally in a more realistic way than what we normally get to see in games. oh and I've never before [I]felt[/I] an explosion so much as in this game as when I detonated my C4 on a SAM, I was like holy shit! :argh

The difficulty might be a bit more than what we're used to in fps games, but I personally enjoy the game much more than I would have if was just a walk in the park, of course it can get frustrating to die 5-6 times on the same place but generally if you rethink your plan you'll pull through...eventually (the mission Hip Shot is a royal pain in the ass, trust me). the enemy soldiers can sometimes take a bit too many bullets, but a good burst or two usually puts them out of their misery.

To sum it up(yes I know, finally the tl;dr version) it's one of the more hardcore games for consoles out there and it does a good job of balancing between realism and brutal masochism. certainly not for anyone but for those who like the genre (tactical fps) it's one of the best and tightest titles this year. with a lengthy campaign (at least 12 hours) plus standalone missions, coop and competitive modes I can recommend it to almost everyone who likes to get their hands dirty :awesome

This is as far away from Hollywood style games you'll get in a console game. And as close to the real deal that you'd want too.


Josip K. said...

Good review, man! Unfortunately I now want this game despite not having any time or money. =(

We got to coop this when I get Xbox Live again. =D

Centuryslayer said...

Just as planned!
yes, Paladin will probably get it too, and I'm trying to push your failure of a son to get it too.

get it soon biatch! <3

Josip K. said...

MY S O N IS A F A I L U R E !!!

Oh, where was I again. Yeah, I'll try to get it soon but no promises with Uncharted 2 and Demon's Souls on the way this month and Dragon Age and Assassin's Creed 2 next month. I'm already bankrupt for the rest of this month. =( I guess if Dragon Age flops for consoles I might get it.

Centuryslayer said...

I see I see. I preordered Dragon Age at gamestop by trading in two games, so I'm not really paying for it :/
and since I don't own a ps3 I'm going to be missing out on those two awesome looking titles too :(

non rpg singleplayer games usually gets to wait before I buy them, since they're really not going anywhere anyhow and RPG's always take priorities when it comes to sp games since they actually have a story to tell instead of just action :P
AC2 looks great though but I feel it will still have some of the bigger flaws that the first game had. but I might actually have incentive to finish AC2 >___>

Josip K. said...

Not owning a PS3 only means you'll get the games cheaper later when you do get one. ;)

Yeah, unlike Henke I too am still sceptically about AC2 mainly because the trailers I've seen seemed to lack a bit of polish and like you I'm not convinced they fixed all the flaws in the gameplay department.

I have a similar fear with Dragon Age because I'm not convinced with the whole gore=mature route that they're going with. I hope I'm wrong and it turns out great but I'm too afraid to pre-order it before the reviewers have a say.

Centuryslayer said...

very true, very true.

hm yes, and AC1 suffered from a personality problem, it was an action game trying to be a stealth game, but the combat was too easy and the stealth just consisted of walking around the streets in broad daylight and occasionally scale a wall for kicks.

hm yeah, but I don't think gore=mature but rather it emphasizes the dark fantasy setting. but I agree that labeling a fantasy game full of gore and nudity as mature is a little misplaced xD

Josip K. said...

Yeah, I agree about AC1 but non the less it was the first game to have a "Next-gen" feel to it. I remember being very impressed with the visuals when I first played it. However lacking gameplay really sunk it quite a few notches.

My problem so far with Dragon Age is that the gore feels forced so that they can feel they've made a mature and like you say "dark fantasy" game. The problem with that for me is that so far it really feels cheesy and not mature at all. If they want to make a mature dark fantasy game then they should look a Demon's Souls. That game doesn't have that much gore or nudity but it feels like ten times darker and more adult; in fact the whole world reminds me of Berserk. They should just look at their older games such as Baldur's Gate if they want to have an idea how to make a good mature fantasy game.

Still, it's Bioware and I hope it turns out well with good role-playing options and so on but I can't help but feel let down that Bioware went through 5+ years of development on their own world and setting and all they could come up with was a pretty generic looking dark fantasy-wannabe world that feels like AD&D with gore and nudity. They can do better and I expect them too especially since they've proven they can make new interesting worlds with the Mass Effect games.

Centuryslayer said...

I agree completely with your long-ass post, there are some things in the lore that is definitly badass, but the way the game is set up might be a little too much of a spiritual successor of Baldurs gate in the way that it's way too similiar to D&D (most of the spells are the same but with different names for example). I will review the 360 version once I've gotten my hands on it and gotten down and dirty with the game tho :]

Josip K. said...

Yeah, make sure to review the crap out of the game cause I'm not getting it until I become convinced I'm wrong about the game. ;)

Centuryslayer said...

I will prove you wrong with my fanatical and relentless bias-ness with Bioware >:]