Monday, February 29, 2016

Operation Flashpoint : Dragon Rising Review

Operation Flashpoint : Dragon Rising is a military first person shooter video game by Codemasters (who also made Dirt 3 and Dirt : Showdown) that was released in October 2009 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC. It was also made backwards compatible for play on the Xbox One. Unlike typical shooters like Call Of Duty or Battlefield this game is highly realistic and using run and gun tactics popular with these games will get you killed very quickly in this game. I played the Xbox 360 version on my Xbox One.


In Operation Flashpoint : Dragon Rising takes place in 2011 on the fictional Russian island of Skira (based upon real world island Kiska). Once oil is found on the island China invades and Russian has it's hands full on their mainland and ask the United States to honor a treaty signed at the end of the Cold War to go to Skira and repel the Chinese.


What I said above is true, do not play this game like Call Of Duty. The bad guys can be hiding anywhere and will start shooting at you at around 200 meters which you can barely make out. There is nothing on screen to tell you where they are. If a squad mate sees a bad guy he'll tell you where he is and you'll get a little red tick mark on your compass. And this game has realistic damage and if an arm or a leg is shot you'll have a hard time aiming or running until the mission is over. If you or your buddies are injured you have until they bleed out to heal them. If their head is blown off you can't tape it back on.

If he's got no head, he's dead
The map of the island is pretty big and it takes a long time to walk/run from one point to another so always be on the lookout for Jeeps to drive around. When you use it on the roads the baddies will start shooting at you. When this first happened to me I did what I would normally do in a game like this, turn right and go off road. Despite driving a Jeep off road (which is what they were made for) this turned out to be a big mistake. The Jeep handles badly and is nearly impossible to turn at speed. And there are rocks everywhere making the off road areas nearly impassible to drive through. I kid you not I got the Jeep stuck on some rocks not 60 seconds after I went off road.

Stick to the roads and duck when they shoot at you.

The story mission feels just about right in length. It should take you under 15 hours to beat the campaign on the medium difficulty. I would recommend that if you are playing it for the first time to not put the difficulty to the max because the game will be unplayable until you have a better grasp on what you're doing.

Given that this game came out in 2009 the graphics are OK to my eyes. I've seen better as well as worse but it looks good enough and shouldn't distract you from enjoying the game. The voices of the players in the game sound clipped but that's because there is a large range of what they can say. Unlike games like Call Of Duty where you have an objective to get to and only one way to go the island is completely open to you so you could attack an objective from any direction. So when one of your squad mates spots an enemy he'll say he's to the east, west and so on. He'll also tell you what kind of soldier they are and the distance to the enemy. The computer has to put the sentence together and it comes off a bit clipped. The rest of the sound effects sound fine and the game has no music except in menus since it's a realistic simulation.

I almost always find something stupid in every game to complain about and this game is no different. The creators of this game went for a realistic style of play and I commend them for it. It was a nice change from the arcady shooters. When the game loads levels it puts stats or information on the screen.

I know this is nitpicking but for a game that tries to be as realistic as possible you shouldn't be calling a magazine a clip. I know TV and movies always say clip and they are usually wrong. The guns in this game all use magazines. Older rifles used in World War Two and earlier used stripper clips and that is where the name came from. Pistols and modern rifles all use magazines. When I recently played Max Payne 3 the creators made the same error but I let it slide because they weren't going for the ultra realistic game like Codemasters did. For the depth that Codemasters put into this game to be as realistic as possible I just don't get it. I'm sorry for complaining, rant over.


There are two modes of multi player, online campaign co-op and regular online verses battles. As of this writing the online servers are a ghost town so online multi player is pretty much non extant. .


I had been interested in this game after hearing about it's realism and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot. Call of Duty is no question slicker than this game but I still had lots of fun playing this one. I enjoyed having to think through my plans before I executed them so my squad wouldn't be killed immediately. You have to think every move through and I liked it. I would recommend that if you are playing it for the first time don't put the difficulty to the max because the game will be unplayable until you have a better grasp on what you're doing. I give Operation Flashpoint : Dragon Rising a 7 out of 10.

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