Retarded AI, repetitive voices, weak sound effects and often sub-par graphics... but still strangely enjoyable!

User Rating: 6.5 | Operation Flashpoint: Red River PC
I didn't have much hope for this game after Dragon Rising, which I thought was just slightly above okay. I think what might be speaking to me here is the fact that it is not just another cookie cutter FPS, which feels refreshing. Rather than running in a straight line, you are pretty free to go around the map to flank enemy positions as you please (inside the missions boundaries of course), and it has been a while since I played an FPS that really lets you do that.

Graphically, it's nothing special. Character models are fine for Marines, but pretty simple for the enemy models. Animations are either stale as sticks for the enemies, or missing for yourself and allies when reloading machine guns, healing or entering a vehicle. Textures look rather bland pretty often, and while the backdrop can be pretty, they also look rather fake as they never change during the mission. Still, the game looks all right for the most part.

Sound is so-so. Voice acting is competent, but very repetitive. You will hear the same things over and over again, and you will get tired of hearing it. Sounds from weapons and explosions sound pretty weak overall, but are acceptable.

Gameplay-wise, you get a decent sized campaign (about 7-8 hours on normal difficulty) and some mostly open-ended gameplay. This is definitely the best part of the game, when you can go at your own pace rather than rushing forward like a monkey on ecstasy.
However, the game's AI is nothing short of terrible. Enemies are extremely slow to react, and usually cannot hit anything (unless they actually intend to shoot the ground around you). They don't use cover properly and often just stand still allowing you to headshot them, or run around in circles like headless chickens.
Your squad AI might be even more retarded, running in front of you getting killed, ignore using cover despite being ordered to do so, and generally cannot hit anything and require constant babysitting and healing. Still, they can be useful to have around sometimes, when you need some more ammo (can someone say friendly fire?) or just want to put some bodies in between you and the enemy. And if you DO get shot, they can actually heal if you are lucky.

The game is also pretty heavily scripted. In order to proceed to the next checkpoint/objective, you are forced to kill a certain number of enemies in the vicinity of your current objective, meaning you sometimes have to go around searching through all the houses for that last little confused enemy hiding in the corner somewhere. Other times you are not sure where you are supposed to go in order to trigger the next objective, and sometimes a key vehicle or character get stuck somewhere in a wall, meaning you to to reload from the last checkpoint in order to to able to proceed.
And once you do get a new objective, all enemies still alive on the map immediately disappears, even if they so happen to be shooting straight at you while doing so.

And considering all that, I'm not sure why I enjoy playing this game. I shouldn't. So many basic things are done wrong here to the point of it being utterly pointless. But maybe that's what I like about it. Calmly walking around the countryside, shooting some brain-damaged Chinese soldiers...

Yeah... I kind of like that...

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