There%26rsquo;s nothing wrong with an M16 having almost infinite ammo and range. The same goes for paintball-style close-quarters combat and recharging health.
But that%26rsquo;s not the Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising way. Get a bit too enthusiastic suppressing an ambush early on and it won%26rsquo;t be long before you hear the horrifying click of your empty chamber. A few skirmishes in, you%26rsquo;ll start compensating for the range of your enemy before pressing in the trigger. Yes, Operation Flashpoint is realistic, and in the real world, war is nasty. Get shot in the leg and you%26rsquo;ll bleed to death unless healed. Play on the hardest difficulty setting and there%26rsquo;s no HUD at all. This is a war sim.
You take control of a squad of marines tasked with pushing back Chinese forces from the fictional island of Skira. It%26rsquo;s 277km square (read: massive) and comes with plenty of stunning vistas. It might not look as polished as, say Modern Warfare, but Flashpoint%26rsquo;s scale makes the comparison seem irrelevant. You%26rsquo;ll be pacing through tree lines with your squad and AI allies, ambushing convoys, and bombing hummers over hilltops, but only if you want to. From the moment you wave goodbye to your transport chopper or landing craft, how you progress is completely open. It makes each encounter unpredictable and satisfying, especially when playing with three friends.
Yes %26ndash; every one of Flashpoint%26rsquo;s missions can be played in co-op, so get the headset ready. But beware, that it might be a bit too hardcore for some. If the idea of debating entry points on a quiet hillside before calling in an airstrike and storming the smoking remains of an enemy camp with authentic weaponry doesn%26rsquo;t appeal, Flashpoint isn%26rsquo;t the game for you.
It%26rsquo;s not perfect though. The enemy AI ranges from spookily intelligent to remarkably stupid, and we did encounter a few glitches. That said, we%26rsquo;d like to think that it%26rsquo;s all fixable stuff via a future patch and, considering the ambition, it%26rsquo;s never quite enough to detract from the spectacle. This is a must-buy if your FPS collection is starting to taste a bit stale.
Oct 6, 2009