To create your free account, please enter your email address and password below. Please ensure your email is correct as you will recieve a validation email before you can login.

Email:
Nickname:
Password:
Confirm Password:
Weekly newsletter:
Daily newsletter:

To log in to your account, please enter your email address and password below:

Email:
Password:
Forgot your password?

To reset your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a link to reset it.

Email:
Submitted by Gwynne Dixon on March 3 2011 - 16:25

Codemasters unleashes the Fireteam Engagements co-op modes from its incoming FPS...

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan... all of the lesser known -stans that occupy a vast portion of Central Asia (pretty much all of it, actually) are something of an enigma here in the West. Presumably we only have enough space in our news cycles for two -stans, and that job is firmly in the hands of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the moment. But there is one more -stan that we haven't mentioned yet, and that -stan is set to grace the world of video games in April when Operation Flashpoint: Red River launches. Tajikistan is the setting and, such has been Codemasters' dedication to creating an authentic depiction of the country that it sent a photographer out there to document all of the various landscapes and vistas that the former Soviet state has to offer.

This photographer apparently returned home to the UK reporting a danger rating for the country of 27 out of 10, but it's been worth the risk by the looks of things. Don't take our word for it; listen to the guy who was playing in the pod next to us during a recent hands-on event in London: "Is just like home!" he explained, "Looks just like my village!" And we're not joking - this guy was actually from Tajikistan originally, as he later clarified at length. So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth: Codemasters' first attempt at a real-world, land-locked location for its Operation Flashpoint series (its predecessor, Dragon Rising was set on a fictional island) is as realistic and authentic as its legendarily difficult gameplay.

And that legendarily difficult gameplay hasn't been dumbed-down for this sequel either. Instead, Codemasters has been focusing on accessibility - a more streamlined squad command interface, more helpful prompts, and better tutorials throughout etc. Hardcore fans need not worry though, as turning all of this off and having a completely featureless HUD is still an option on the harder difficulty levels, just as it was in Dragon Rising. So, Codies seems to be remaining loyal to its hardcore fan-base while also holding out a helping hand to series newcomers, both of which are noble pursuits indeed. One skilfully aimed bullet from the enemy can still kill you in Red River, and gunfights still spread themselves over huge draw distances across the game's expansive landscapes.

You'll often find yourself and your four-man squad pinned down under suppressive fire, desperately trying to trace the source of a hailstorm of bullets being fired in your general direction from the other side of a valley. The challenge of accurately spotting that enemy, methodically moving on their location with precise squad orders and well-judged dashes between cover, encapsulates Operation Flashpoint's highest level of appeal and that's still very much the case with Red River. It really does make the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, with their room-emptying firefights and overclocked set-pieces, seem utterly ridiculous from a realism perspective. Those gamers looking for a fresh challenge in the FPS genre or something to really get their teeth into would do well to look in Red River's direction.

Our hands-on with the game focused exclusively on its co-op modes. As with Dragon Rising, Red River features co-op support for 1-4 players in both the main campaign and through objective-based co-op modes against the AI referred to as Fireteam Engagements (FTEs). Contrary to Dragon Rising, there's now a Join-in-Progress feature for this co-op, so players can drop-in and out of games and lobbies as and when they please. You'll also find a comprehensive XP system this time around, which is persistent through both the campaign and FTEs. Players redeem points for achieving set tasks in each mode, with each task being ranked through bronze, silver, and gold tiers. These points can then be spent on 'Core Skills' such as your sprinting speed, enemy identification range using specific rifle models, and reload times to name but a few.

Character classes have been expanded with additional weapon options throughout the four separate soldier types. There's a Rifleman (whose default gun is a scoped assault rifle), the Grenadier (rifle with grenade-launcher attachment), Scout (sniper rifle), and Auto Rifleman (light machine-gun). You'll also find different skills throughout the classes so that the Scout, for example, is 'agile yet fragile' (as Codies puts it). We were able to play through all four of the FTE modes during our hands-on, each of which touched on the kind of counterinsurgency themes that are prominent in the main campaign. The game's story focuses on fighting between US, the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and insurgents operating between the Tajikistan-China border, with each faction being suitably represented in the various FTEs.

So, for example, the 'Last Stand' mode has you defending a fixed position from wave after wave of PLA troops while 'Combat Sweep', on the other hand, tasks your USMC squad with the job of infiltrating urban areas and eliminating any insurgents in the vicinity. A bit of spice is added to the mix with the other two FTEs: 'Rolling Squad' sees your squad escorting a convoy of Humvees through Tajikistani valleys amid regular ambushes from insurgents, while the task in 'Combat Search & Rescue' is to locate and extract two pilots that have been downed in enemy territory. Varied approaches are required from one mode to the next if you're to have any hope of success, although the one thing that all four of them demand is a lot of methodical planning and teamwork with your squad. There'll be no lone-wolf, hero antics in this shooter and to encourage players to give more orders to their Fireteam, Codies has made sure that the performance of AI team-mates (e.g. their shooting accuracy) will improve when you give them explicit orders.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is likely to be one of the most different FPS games to arrive on consoles this year alongside the likes of Bulletstorm (for entirely different reasons), which is enough to make the game an intriguing prospect as it squares up for launch later this month. Codies has decided to set the tone with co-op once again, although a more tangible and focused storyline promises to make the campaign that bit more substantial.

If you wish to link to this article, here's a permalink to this page:

TVG Store - Finding you the cheapest price for:

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Comment

Sign Up and Post with a Profile

Join TVG for a free account, or sign in if you are already a member. You can still post anonymously.

Log in using Facebook

Respect Other Members

Please respect other users, post wisely and avoid flaming... Terms & Conditions

 

Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next
User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 26th May 2011 14:22, Post No: 13

The idea of forcing the player to go online to be able to save the game sucks. I wonder whose idea it was. Really hate to say this but Flashpoint series keep disappointing:(


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 14th May 2011 22:16, Post No: 12

big let down too linear, AI dumb both enemy and squad they lack some real basic tactics and skills. Too much time sitting in the back of transport listening to some [#@!?] spout pointless crap. Only vehicle you can use is a  the humvee.No player v's player online. No more a military sim than Mario Kart is a F1 sim.
P.S why can't we have the British army used for a change rather than the bloody yanks all the time


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 11th Apr 2011 17:27, Post No: 11

a sick game for sick young people in a sick world 


By: freeradical

Added:Thu 07th Apr 2011 10:47, Post No: 10

@Post 9: I like your ideas, particularly the one about replacing squad-mates with 'green' recruits if they die during battle.

In Red River though, your squad will respawn at set points if they die during a level. Effectively then, you will start every level with all four squaddies regardless of what happens in the previous level.

That doesn't stop you from having to press on through levels with only a single squad-mate because the other two have died though - you are still attached to the squad and very aware that your decisions and orders affect them directly.

What Codemasters has done with Operation Flashpoint as a mass market game is fairly brave already. Perhaps if fans get behind these features then we can see the sort of idealised concepts you mentioned in future titles...


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 07th Apr 2011 05:00, Post No: 9

So the game is very emotional and deep due to the connection with the squad, correct?  What exactly happens if you finish your mission full of regret that your 3 squad mates perished in combat?  I'm just curious, because every other game I have played in the last 10 years will have you starting the next mission with the same squad, ressurrected.  Is this game different somehow?  

 

I highly doubt that Codies would go to all the trouble of recording hundreds of lines of dialog for each of the 4 main, named characters, only to allow you to let them die in the first mission and play the rest of the game alone.  Not to mention the balancing issues of having to play the entire campaign alone if your mates are killed in the first 5 minutes.  If they ARE indeed resurrected after each mission, then how the hell does that give you a sense of attachment, emotion, and loss?  

 

Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE it if either a) your squad mates are replaced by new, green recruits (with less skills) after they perish, or b) you must push on alone.  THIS would give some real sense of consequence and loss, since you would genuinely miss their banter and skills on the battlefield.  This is something that would actually make the game possibly live up to its Flashpoint name in the same vein as the old Ghost Recon games.  However, after playing dragon rising and reading about "perks" and the like from Red River, my hopes as a mil-sim fan are extremely low.  Only a demo would possibly convince me to throw money at another OP:FP game.


By: freeradical

Added:Thu 07th Apr 2011 01:44, Post No: 8

Nice point Garratt. Brothers In Arms was pretty big on sqaud commands too - perhaps a pattern is emmerging here...


By: Garratt Marius

Added:Wed 06th Apr 2011 16:14, Post No: 7

The games "Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood" and "Conflict: Vietnam" not only give names and distinct facial features to squadmates, but they have actual personalities. Their deaths evoke quite a bit of emotion. In fact, nothing has even brought me closer to crying than the end of the game "Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood."


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 21st Mar 2011 22:16, Post No: 6

Last chance hotel? Shouldn't that be saloon?


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 21st Mar 2011 21:05, Post No: 5

it must be totally free roam this time without restrictions like in dragon rising. if its not code masters will lose alot of support. last chance hotel im afraid.


By: freeradical

Added:Sat 26th Feb 2011 01:31, Post No: 4

Thanks Andrew.

So, I've gone hands-on with the Fireteam Engagements co-op mode for Red River, and there are a lot of options to customise classes in that (including the ability to select your primary weapon I believe, although I admittedly stuck with the defaults). I'm writing a preview of it all at the moment which is due to go live on TVG early next week...


Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next