|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Codemasters Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While this works without a hitch on PC, issuing these commands via radial menus on the PS3 and Xbox 360 is not particularly efficient. It can be very trying to put together a strategy when you're several layers into a radial menu just to input the wrong command and have to start over. Furthermore, the battlefield is constantly evolving around you, issuing commands quickly enough to your squad is often impossible. Moreover, menus are not limited to commands, just selecting between your weapon load-out, grenades, field dressing, binoculars, combat knife, etc. is all done through one held button input and then you'll have to select the desired option with the analog stick.
Though you'll eventually get the hang of all this and become proficient, the learning curve is very steep. In fact, the attention to detail that makes the game so realistic will likely be a point of consternation for most console players. All of this micromanaging and handholding just isn't implemented very well. There's a reason this kind of game thrives on PC and struggles to succeed on consoles.
OFP: Dragon Rising isn't the most visually impressive game you've ever played, but it is generally appealing to the eye. The open-world environments, especially, are nicely detailed and very realistic. On the downside, lots of glitches are present throughout the game. Squad-mates hump the grass whilst prone, convulsing their way to a firing position. Console freezing issues are rife - this isn't so bad on Normal difficulty when there are plenty of checkpoint saves, but on Hardcore you'll have to start all over if you freeze up. Also, explosions and animations are not particularly well done - the force and splendor of explosives doesn't come through, and many actions are either poorly rendered or void of any animation at all.
The sounds in the game are very good if not outstanding. Ambient sound effects, weapon rapport, and radio chatter all add nicely to the realism. So too does the lack of in-level music. While in menus, the dark and brooding Tibetan throat singing and Asian instrumentals provide for a quality aural backdrop.
In addition to the single-player campaign, you can also head online for cooperative and competitive play. The console versions allow you to play with friends through completed campaign chapters or even through the entire campaign - this goes a long way toward resolving many of the micromanagement issues that crop up in single-player. Disappointingly, competitive matches are designed for up to eight players, unlike the PC's 32 player limit. This is significant, as the über-realistic objective- and deathmatch-based games are dumbed down considerably, providing PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers with a multiplayer component that is much less compelling than what is found on PC. Regardless, players that find the campaign to be excellent will surely enjoy the online game modes.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is not a game for everyone. Its high degree of challenge and tactical gameplay is for well-versed, patient, hardcore players. More casual players, even Modern Warfare junkies, need not apply unless you understand that the realistic experience offered in this title is entirely different than what you're used to. It's important to note that this game is tailored for the PC and not perfectly adapted for consoles. Consequently, you'll find yourself struggling with not only the controls, but also your mindset. However, if you can handle the often plodding pace and have the determination to get through initial frustrations, there is a quality battle simulator here to be explored and enjoyed.
CCC Editor / News Director