by Mike, reviewed on
A New Beginning?
Move over Tom Clancy, a new game is in town and vying to set the standard by which co-op tactical FPS games are judged. Codemasters is back with their latest entry in its Operation Flashpoint series: Red River. They hope to deliver a highly realistic tactical shooter, by throwing a one-two punch combination of authentic gameplay and an immersive story.
The Only Way Forward Is Together
Red River’s story takes place across three acts during a fictional conflict in the hot bed of Tajikistan; a country that sits precariously between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. An insurgence breaks out provoking the US Marine Corps to move in to help quell the forces, and prevent further destabilization of the region. This move by the US puts the communist interests of the Chinese on the line and consequently the Marines are forewarned to leave. When the Marines refuse, the People’s Liberation Army retaliates with a large-scale attack. Your only hope of survival is to work with your team against the odds, and somehow complete the mission you were assigned along the way.
Taking its inspiration from the teamwork required in Left 4 Dead, Red River will challenge its players to develop strategies on the fly if they are to realize success in their missions. The creative developer of the game, Sion Lenton, states that the authenticity of the game that they are aiming for really blossoms when four online players are making realistic decisions and having to constantly adapt to the situation.
It is reported that enemies will be able to kill you with a single, well-placed shot. This level of realism will either be a blessing or a curse. Trying to mimic the actions of Rambo is only going to invoke rage from your teammates, so it is essential that you are prepared to work as a real life tactical unit. Serious faces everyone.
Find A Way Of Playing That Suits You
There are four classes of Marines to choose from: rifleman, grenadier, scout and an automatic rifleman. Each class carries the basic M4A1 Rifle but sees variation within the individual strengths, weaknesses, specialized weapons and abilities. To further promote co-operative play, all of the classes are balanced so that selfish actions are not even an option.
As you progress through the game, you will unlock training that allows you to become more specialized in your field of expertise. Players will acquire experience during the game that can be traded to unlock guns, perks, and attachments. One such perk is “bullet drop” but in my opinion this is a move away from the realism that is trying to be achieved.
Into The Frying Pan
The developers have focused on player immersion when designing the game’s visuals. Characters will cut and bruise, vehicles appear dusty and battered, and weapons sport the worn and torn look. Codemasters hope their attention to detail will be enough to achieve their goal, and surpass their efforts in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. Although they based the environments in Dragon Rising on a satellite map, there were a number of unnecessary objects added that only served to hinder your engrossment into the game. This time around, locations have all been custom created and every area is now accessible. You will be able to fight towards and fall back from key locations from a number of angles. The developers hope this change will offer more freedom when planning strategies.
One notable difference you should expect from Red River is the level of depth in the characters. The game’s predecessor featured characters with dry personalities and conversations to match. This has been addressed by focusing on developing an emotional setting within the sequel. You will notice that each character class actually has a distinct personality and dialogue that caters towards authenticity. As the squad interacts with each other on a human level as well as through the robotic military commands, players should be able to connect to the characters on a whole new level.
Over And Out
Operation Flashpoint: Red River looks to be an improvement on its predecessor from a number of perspectives. The developers have taken aboard all of the criticism and made the game that people have asked for. By concentrating on creating an immersive experience as well as an authentic one, Codemasters have set out to redefine the quality of co-op tactical shooters.