|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Codemasters||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Summer 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Youcef Baouchi
April 27, 2009 - Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a tactical first-person shooter. The game is being developed and published for X360, PS3, and PC by Codemasters using the Ego engine. This is the same engine that was used on Codemasters' other popular and realistic games Colin McRae: DiRT and Race Drive: GRID. Codemasters has been developing this game for a while now, so I am expecting something truly great. The presentation looks impressive, along with an interesting plot, and clever and realistic gameplay should make Operation Flashpoint a must-have.
The game takes place on a real island located off of the northern coast of Japan and east of Russia called, Skira. The Chinese are in an economic collapse, so due to civil unrest, they revert to a hard-line communist regime. They discover that the island has large untapped oil reserves, so they invade Skira, which is on Russian territory, and trigger the conflict between the two superpowers. This brings the Americans into the fray, arriving at the island to help the Russians recapture Skira from the Chinese military.
Codemasters recreated the island of Skira accurately. They wanted players to play on natural terrain, so that their strategies will not only be limited to those chosen by the developer, therefore creating a more dynamic and unique experience. The game is open-world in nature, so players will have the ability to choose equipment and personnel to complete the objective however they want. The missions do have time limits; the developer added them to create a sense of realism. They also have enemies scattered throughout the island, so they are not limited only to the mission areas. Additionally, Operation Flashpoint supports full environmental damage, as buildings, land vehicles, and boats can all be destroyed. However, you should not needlessly cause havoc, because you could be destroying your cover for future missions, since all the damage is permanent while playing in campaign mode. Players will be able to enter every building in the game as well as use all vehicles and obtain extra ammunition and weapons from the field.
The developers are working hard on the A.I., because all the gameplay is unscripted. The developer felt it was impossible to create a scripted system because the entire environment is freeform. The A.I is a "dynamic decision-making system." It has the ability to react on a "moment-by-moment" basis and adapts to the environment when necessary. It can even retreat from a firefight and come back with a new plan of action. This type of A.I will also create great replay value for Operation Flashpoint, because each battle will be different and even the smallest mistake could change the entire war. This game is not like other shooters, it requires more strategy, so running into battle guns blazing will not work. This kind of nonsense will get you killed very quickly. They want the player to plan ahead and create a strategy. The health system is also more realistic than other shooters. Wounds do not magically disappear, but they can be stabilized; severe wounds can be unrecoverable.
Codemasters has put a major emphasis on realism. They have dedicated quite a bit of attention to detail and simulation of weapon systems and bullet ballistics. They have researched training manuals, technical drawings, and even human experience. They interviewed British and American serviceman who were returning from tours of combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Through this research they hope to create a game that is both realistic and immersive instead of just a pure simulation.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a very detailed game. Vehicles and buildings are all very detailed. In fact, every building present in the game is also present on the actual island. The Ego engine can produce some impressive visuals. The terrain looks realistic, lighting and smoke effects look great, and there are some remarkable character models. Codemasters is also using a streaming technology in order to eliminate load times. The camera work through cutscenes is influenced by television news reports in order to give the impression of urgency and war. They will use techniques such as incorrect exposure, severe camera shake, and loss of focus.
This game looks impressive and the concept is very intriguing. I think many gamers like me are very excited for this title. I have often wanted this kind of realistic game; one that could also deliver great visuals and great A.I. I hope Codemasters delivers with something truly fantastic and hopefully have the game running smoothly. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is due to come out this summer on X360, PS3, and PC.
CCC Freelance Writer