Operation Flashpoint: Red River Hands-On

We check out a campaign mission and defend the front lines in Last Defense mode.

Despite increasing competition in the genre, the Operation Flashpoint series has carved out an identity for itself, taking a more realistic approach to modern-day first-person shooters. The latest game in the series, Red River, continues that trend with an approach that creative director Sion Lenton calls "authentically cool," meaning that most of what you'll see in the game has its roots firmly planted in a realistic depiction of combat, but it's all integrated in a way that makes the experience more accessible for newcomers and more entertaining on the whole.

An immediate example of this comes into play with the modifications you can make to each of the four classes available--rifleman, scout, grenadier, and auto rifleman. The rifleman is the jack-of-all-trades of the group, making the class ideal for multiple types of combat situations. The scout is a long-range specialist who can spot enemies at great distances and make effective use of sniper rifles. The grenadier is a close-combat specialist equipped accordingly with weaponry and skills. And finally, the auto rifleman can flourish in a support role, laying down suppressive fire for squadmates. As you progress through the game, you earn experience points that can unlock a variety of items, including new scopes for weapons as well as special skills (or modifications), such as enemy weapons specialist.

The reason that the enemy weapons specialist modification sticks out, as opposed to something like marksman training, which increases long-range proficiency, is that it reveals how Codemasters takes a very real element of combat and implements it in a way that makes perfect sense in gaming terms. When you come across an enemy weapon in Flashpoint, there's a good chance you won't have much luck with it, and there's also a very real possibility that it will continually lock up on you simply because you haven't trained with it. But by gaining experiencing and enabling the enemy weapon specialist modification, you can pick up these weapons and have more success with them.

Some modifications will improve your reloading times or accuracy by limiting how the reticle jumps around when firing. Of course, this makes it seem as though less-skilled soldiers will have trouble hitting their targets in the game early on. Fortunately, as a part of making Red River more accessible, the game features tools to help novices, such as aiming assist and snap-to targeting that make it a little easier to jump in and play well, but seasoned players can turn these features off completely if they want more of a challenge and a more realistic gameplay experience.

Even without such features, newcomers will find Red River more accommodating. In the first mission we saw, called Human Terrain, a squad of Marines (joining Alpha and Charlie squads) flies into a small section of the in-game reproduction of Tajikistan--the focal point of Red River's campaign--where they must escort a convoy to a dam to provide infrastructure support. While touching down, Sergeant Knox gives some general tips as to what to do in case things go wrong, and while they're couched in military vernacular, they're easy to understand and follow. When it comes time to issue your own orders to squadmates (which can be controlled by three other players at any time since the whole campaign supports co-op), you'll find an equally easy-to-understand command radial that sections off complex orders into four distinct areas--maneuvers, tactics, suppression, and follow. Orders are also context sensitive, so what you see when pointing to an open field will be different from what you see when pointing at the side of a building.

Red River makes extensive use of the EGO engine's visual bells and whistles.

It's not long before you have to make extensive use of these orders in this particular mission. Enemy insurgents have taken up positions in the buildings that line the road, making the convoy a relatively easy target. You can move your squad up the sides of the road, taking cover at various points to shoot enemies positioned in between buildings and on rooftops. What makes this a little more nerve-racking is that the AI will change and adapt based on your tactics, and enemies will not hesitate to take advantage of a situation and flank you if the opportunity arises. This mission also reveals how important it is to move forward in a logical way--if you try to just run up the street with your squad, there's a distinct chance that you won't last more than a few seconds. Enemies will appear on your radar, but those dots represent their last known position and not their current one, so while you may have your sights set on a certain spot, there's a possibility that the enemy lurking there has moved and found cover elsewhere--unless, of course, he's on a rooftop.

If you happen to get injured over the course of a mission, it's important to heal yourself as soon as possible. Not only can you bleed out if a wound isn't attended to, but other sorts of injuries also affect physical performance. If you get a leg injury, then that has an adverse effect on your ability to sprint. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to heal yourself (and your squadmates will heal you as well), since you just hold down the corresponding button and wait, but this also makes you incredibly vulnerable because you can't shoot or run while healing. Needless to say, it's important to find some decent cover. Upon completing the mission, Lenton told us that Operation Flashpoint: Red River is an infantry-focused game, and therefore, you won't be piloting helicopters or other fancy vehicles. That's not to say you won't ever get the opportunity. Later missions will have you driving Humvees and jeeps (which have been designed with the help of Codemasters' Dirt driving team), but the emphasis is placed on on-foot action.

With that, we then moved into Last Defense mode, one of the four special Fireteam Engagement modes. This mode has you and your squad (which, again, can be played cooperatively with four players) holding a defensive line against wave after wave of PLA (People's Liberation Army of China) soldiers. Each successive wave becomes more difficult to deal with as more soldiers appear with more firepower, including tanks. Fortunately, you have an unlimited cache of ammunition at your disposal (provided you remember to run back to the cache to stock up) as well as mounted guns. You'll also have access to more powerful anti-vehicle weapons, but ammunition for these is limited. We used the scout glass for the duration of this mode and found it pretty easy to pick off enemies in the first few waves with the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) and other weapons available, but as additional waves came in, it became much more difficult to keep up. Eventually, PLA soldiers overwhelmed our position by using a combination of flanking and sheer force. This mode features a point system for individual play as well as team play, adding a little competitive spirit to a game that doesn't have competitive online modes.

Fireteam maps are crafted specifically for their corresponding modes.

At this point, it's clear that Codemasters has been listening to fans of its previous games and has implemented some features that the audience thought were lacking in Dragon Rising. It's also clear that the team wants to make the experience accessible to all sorts of shooter fans without sacrificing the series' dedication to delivering an "authentically cool" experience. Operation Flashpoint: Red River is scheduled for release in spring 2011.

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Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Discussion

147 comments
tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

@LoneWolf21Bravo That is one great comment and I agree with you. But...... there are so many gamers that want easy one button press, console do all the work, shooters. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- @everyone I know many of the OFDR fans want true world history realism but you must remember, this is a game. More people want to pretend they know war without ever being in one. I enjoyed OFDR alot. And it definitely is NOT a CoD clone. If you mentioned that it is in your comments, then you could not have spent sufficient time playing the game and it would be appreciated if you limit your comments to games that you have knowledge of. If you wanted to compare this to sports, you could draw the line between those that like basketball and those that like baseball. In one sport you have a high score count and the player moves back and forth almost mindlessly. And in the other sport, each man progresses base to base at a slower pace which makes each small successful step a mandatory part of the whole. We must all realize that there is only so many advancements that a developer can make in a game. We all see more of the same. Same game mode with a different name. OFDR was a new direction for consoles. And only a good direction if you can open your mind and deviate from the normal shooter we have become accustom to.

sushiman12
sushiman12

guys the future game engine is Frostbite 2 by DICE

pineapple762
pineapple762

At the time the previous (OFDR) game first came out, there were some glitches that were annoying, but I could see the potential in the game. After they were fixed and in particular an uncomfortable refresh rate, I started to battle through the ranks. I play whenever I get the chance now. It has taken me all that time to get to the rank of Captain, with each rank achievement comes a real sense of achievement. Needless to say I think DR is a great game. I hope the new Red River keeps the game types such as Annihilation and not only has Coop. To be honest that's where the real competition is at; when you're up against a formidable human opponent. For all you guys that have really quick think reflexes and like to run around all the time and jump about then stay with the CODs etc, but if you think you can command, plan an attack, change tactics and make decisions when you are seriously under pressure try the Flashpoints. I think this new one will be great. Remember my name, pineapple762, you'll know what a tactician is when you see me on-line - guaranteed.

galsberk
galsberk

That´s not fun game but it´s good.

Ashman555
Ashman555

i dont care if it plays like cod, i just want much more easier gameplay open world combat settings, and more vehicle use please. Not being able to drive a tank in OP2:DR was very dissapointing. And while running and sneaking without shooting just to take out a general with an air strike was cool, extracting was not...basically running for like 30 mins. It may be realistic but it hella not fun.

sbdb
sbdb

I don't have my hopes up for any sequel of a poor game like Dragon Rising that epically failed in my opinion....sigh, it was just a poor wannabe Arma II.

codename-60091
codename-60091

EGO engine...cool sweet!!! something to look into! EGO engine is the future! u see!!

usadefcon1
usadefcon1

Add it to the pile of COD clones. Codemasters I'll make it simple for you: we want a military simulator with up-to-date graphics and artificial intelligence. If my teammate gets shot in the face he should die. This was not the case in OFP DR. How about having to call-in and defend a Medevac helecopter when a man goes down? Now that's an idea for a true Flashpoint game!

usadefcon1
usadefcon1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lordofallpies
lordofallpies

The whole reason why I bought dragon rising is because it was a military sim and there were few games like it, to take away the simulation aspect of this game would just turn it into another game that tries to be like COD except that there is no competitive multi player which would make it even worse!

LoneWolf21Bravo
LoneWolf21Bravo

Honestly, if you ignore all the pre-release hype that was not backed up by facts and the name "Operation Flashpoint" that CM didn't stay true to, Dragon Rising is not at all a bad game -- it's just a bad Flashpoint. Other than that, it has a pretty good feel and the campaign is consistent in gameplay throughout, unlike in Operation Arrowhead. Had they worked on the feel of their ui and added little things, like laser designators to call in artillery instead of the moving red circle or a GPS look to the map with NATO symbols, it would have fealt a LOT more authentic without making the game any more difficult for the mainstream players. But it doesn't seem they'll fix this issue in Red River. They say that firefights will be more lethal for the enemies, but they didn't say anything about the players though. This has potential of falling even deeper than Dragon Rising for the original OFP fans, but it will definitely be more enjoyable for the mainstream/casual guys, which is a bit disappointing. PS: can anybody point me to Lenton's email address?

snykol
snykol

Sounds disappointing for the fans who enjoyed Dragon Risings realism. MOH was a big let-down for me. They should stick to the formula that the fans bought the game for in the first place. The only thing I felt needed changing in Dragon Rising was the AI animations when shot from long distance. Keep everything else the SAME please? We want it HARDCORE :-D

pityiv23
pityiv23

What they don't realize is that tryarch and activision are reknowned for CoD-type games, not EA and not CM. This is why EA's MoH failed - it couldn't compete! What makes Lenton think CM can compete? Anyway, I come from a generation used to Delta Force 1 and 2 and OFP: Cold War Crisis, so "hardcore" is not a problem for me. And CoD, the NEW MoH and all those, who want to mimic them should be rated T or E, for kids with a very short attention span.

calum1984
calum1984

Not anything in that video has convinced me to play operation flashpoint:red river over arma 2:operation arrowhead....if anything they have turned this into another CoD clone minus the multiplayer (yes it has no multiplayer just online co-op only no bad thing but from whats stated here its going to be run and gun gameplay not tactical). Oh and jsut because a game is super realistic doesnt mean it isnt fun ArmA 2 is the most realistic fps game (isn't 100% accurate more like 80-90%) and its still fun to play.

pelvist
pelvist

No thanks CM, you catered too much for consoles with the last one and ruined a good PC franchise in the process, judging by what Sion said in the video this one is going to be even worse so ill give it a miss thanks. Now, wheres Grid 2? Nice...

FernandoLink
FernandoLink

OFDR could have been an epic game but codemasters didn't used its full potential. The best of OPDR is in it's editor I hope that Red River will be a better game WITH multiplayer and mission editor

Anti-Skub
Anti-Skub

What are Codemasters doing? It's like they think they've inherited Medal Of Honor. They want to make it more accessible and less like a simulator...because that's what really sold the original right? While they are at it. why don't they add rocket launchers and power ups to Colin McRae and jumps to F1 2010....oh wait, that would be stupid, because people enjoy those games for their realism. "It's clear that Codemasters has been listening to fans of its previous games and has implemented some features that the audience thought were lacking in Dragon Rising" Is this supposed to be ironic or is the writer really as clueless about the series as he seems? At this point it's pretty clear that Codemasters intend to completely ignore fans of it's previous games and continue chasing the Call of Duty band wagon despite. Reviewers may have been asking for the game to be dumbed down more, fans of Operation Flashpoint certainly were not.

stakex007
stakex007

"it's clear that Codemasters has been listening to fans of its previous games" Uhhh GameSpot you mean fans of its previous GAME. Codemasters did not make the original Operation Flashpoint, and people really need to stop giving them credit for it. We saw with Dragon Rising that Codemasters simply doesn't know what its doing when making a true military simulator, and if you want to play a game like the original Operation Flashpoint go and buy ArmA2... its made by the Bohemia Interactive. You know, the people who actually made OFP1.As for listening to the fans, Im pretty sure the fans didn't say "Remove multiplayer, and the mission editor... oh, and all mod support while your at it". I really hate when people review/preview games that they know nothing about. Red River is going to be a $60 game with a short campaign and no multiplayer.... yeah, really what the fans wanted.

jim_uk
jim_uk

Can you add some more bloom? I can still see what's going on.

F-14-D_TOMCAT
F-14-D_TOMCAT

I did not enjoy OF:DR and unless this will be a vast improvement compared to DR I will skip it. The only good thing about OF:DR imo is I think it maybe an easy game to unlock a Platinum trophy. infact the only reason I still ocassionally play it is coz I want the trophies.

curlymauler
curlymauler

professional company's releasing garbage if its broke take it back, if 250 000 people take back OF RR cause its still broke they will have to fix it we all no its broke but did any one take it back to the shop as broken busted an un fixable.

LoneWolf21Bravo
LoneWolf21Bravo

to p4kman: Operation Flashpoint is an old, proven title established in 2001 by Bohemia Interactive. The reason why we're all complaining here is because neither Dragon Rising, nor Red River are loyal to the original OFP. Regardless if Red River will be like SOCOM 2 or not, this is not what made OFP special in the first place. As for the rest - w'ell need to wait and see. It will not be something that should have an Operation Flashpoint title, but has a slight chance to turn up being a solid game. That being said, Lenton has been featured in every development video because he can (or they think he can) make any s**t sound like candy. The reason DR failed is because they spent too much time and resources researching something they didn't even feature in detail: the geopolitical situation that MAY OR MAY NOT develop. Soviets vs Americans was simple enough, but worked great, I don't think Bohemia Interactive wasted time and money making the storyline more creadible - all you really need is a good writer. CM didn't have enough resources left to even make an extensive soundtrack. Had they had more time and money, they could have finalized the game. All things aside, DR was quite ambitious - it's not that easy to develop something like that from scratch, and they started doing ACTUAL work too late. They didn't think ArmA2 would be that big of an enormous improvement from ArmA.

p4kman88
p4kman88

this is like socom 2 for the pc...AWESOME!

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Please sort out the bugs n glitches before release this time please!!!

AJRiley
AJRiley

Codemasters? No thank you. Fool me once...

AdaptorLive
AdaptorLive

Telling your community they found Dragon Rising daunting because it was too hardcore for them isn't really a smart move (and a blatant lie).

campbell153
campbell153

i really like the look of this game... then again GAMEPLAY is a big factor in GAMES THAT WORK!

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

This does look promising. I never played the first game but I have heard good and bad things about it. And since this is an open world environment it's a plus for me.

jim_uk
jim_uk

After DR and F1 2010 I'm in no hurry to buy anything from Codemasters, both games were abandoned and left with issues. I won't be fooled a third time.

curlymauler
curlymauler

hard core not this is why games need r18++ cause these once great games keep being dumb down (a move away from Limited Simulation(r u kidding me what limits simulation is poor game development not the sim genre)) what next call of duty flower show an bubble guns, ARMA 3 nuclear tickles, wrap us up in cotton wool so we can be the most laughed at generation known to man, step out side ya well worn paths an show us a revolution not a rehash.

eduardvictor
eduardvictor

I would be TOTALLY surprised if ANYONE bought this game, after the complete crap they pulled with OPF: DR... But then again, the gamer community has proven how stupid and gullible it is time and time again... Point of my comment is: You buy, you support a fail company that only makes fail games, sell a few copies, make the cash, then abandon support. Tip: DOn't buy and save yourself and the gaming community the trouble... The only thing Codemasters does VERY well are racing sims...

jernas
jernas

I still can't believe how much the first game sucked even though it had a solid gameplay core. If they manage to improve the design this might end up being solid. But on the other hand we're talking about Codemasters and as we all saw in their other games they are incapable of learning.

p4kman88
p4kman88

@peevka2000 i mean u can take aim assist and all that off if u want and iono where i said there wasnt going to be any vehicles...im sure there are i see them instead of making a sim. they made a game

punkpunker
punkpunker

if only the map editor or user made compatibility on console in the previous game, it at least satisfy the we want more content players.the previous game had TOO little content to occupy people, now I'll wait reviews on this one

SpacePirate6
SpacePirate6

@peevka2000 and be sure to pick up Operation Arrowhead while you're at it ;)

Sothpiseth
Sothpiseth

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

p4kman88
p4kman88

"F$@K YES!!!" this isnt 6 days in fallujah but damn does this come really close

LoneWolf21Bravo
LoneWolf21Bravo

To Uberpink: compared to original OFP, dragon rising was increadibly linear. The COD have more replay value than DR, because you can pick up a differenc class weapon(smg, sniper rifle, assault rifle) and try and complete a level with it. CoD also have integrated vehicle gameplay, like, although severely unrealistic, Mi-24 is Black Ops, which DR lacked and Red river will lack as well. In DR, you're pretty much confined to assault rifles. You can't even pick up a SAW without killing one of your guys. And all weapons in DR feel similar. However, just different weapons and loadout will not make Red River any closer to original OFP. We need at least extensive vehicle use and a mission editor. They claimed DR was going to be a simulator, but there were a few moments where the campaign was unrealistic. Plus, a 5-day war is not enough to make you feel immersed into the environment, unlike the months-long conflict in OFP:Resistance and the 40-mission long OFP campaign, which made you feel like you live on Nogova or Everon/Malden/Kolgujev.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

"authentically cool" what the hell is that supposed to mean? Instead of trying to win over the public with tired cliques why not make a game that isn't broken? OF DR had its moments but they were few and far between and the lack of response from controls should never have made it past the testers however fingers crossed that they can learn from their mistakes and bring Flashpoint back to it's former glory.

peevka2000
peevka2000

Yeah I'm more drawn to ARMA II. OF seemed closer to ARMA this one is feeling more and more like a COD wannabe. They took out vehicles, so dumb considering how big the maps supposed to be or is that smaller too now? It seems there will never be anything close to ARMA on consoles. I'll stick to Battlefield BC series until I get me a gaming rig just for ARMA II!!!

Uberpink
Uberpink

ofp:dragon rising ROCKED on pc,especially coop campaign, some connection issues in coop but that was solved using free HAMACHI virtual lan... incredible game. AI dumb? who cares. humans are default dumb. Hardcore mode rocked! stop comparing the game to COD. Cod is very linear and not much space to move around in(but still good but a different game), dragon rising and hopefully this game has very open landscape u can do what you want, and the framerate is still very good.

Super_Maajka
Super_Maajka

Dragon Rising sucked badly. Alos, if you're making a game that has nothing to do with Operation Flashpoint or it's gameplay elements, don't call it OF.

OilySuperWillie
OilySuperWillie

they screwed up no interest in the Operation Flashpoint series anymore if it turns out great than maybe but right now all the attention is on Arma and Bohemia Interactive

Destrin
Destrin

I love how they are trying to play off like DR wasnt a piece of crap. It doesnt need to be more accessible or tightly packed. IT NEEDS TO NOT BE HALF ASSED, IT NEED TO HAVE ATLEAST 90% LESS GLITCHES AND BUGS. And maybe stop lying to the community your trying to appeal to. And how about a campaign where its not just your 4 people versus the entire enemy army.

MichaeltheCM
MichaeltheCM

looks really really realistic. in consequence, it looks hella difficult!

Punk_Drunk
Punk_Drunk

So, they took a realistic tactical shooter and are throwing it in to the mainstream fps genre... Way to downsize and attempt to compete with COD. Good luck to you Codemasters.

TEQUIL4
TEQUIL4

Dr sucked ! The AI was useless, and although I don't mind dying easy, the enemy should die just as easy, but they don't. And this one, with no competitive online modes will suck too. And no, I'm not a COD or MOH fan boy either, they suck also. People want competitive online modes, if not offered, you lost 75% of the buyers, and the mp mode they offer is just plain useless.