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Being a huge fan of OFP since D-Day 4½ years ago, I felt it as my duty to write this review for my Flashpoint-brethren.

First off, this review isn't directed to anyone new to Operation Flashpoint. It is instead directed to those few enlighted fans (like me) that has fanatically played the game since release 2001.

We've all been waiting for this game. Some of us don't even own an XBox but have even then more or less followed the development of Elite. Now it's here. I fetched my brother's XBox on release day here in Sweden and sat down and played. And played. It's a disappointment. But why wouldn't it be? After all, it's a game that clearly belongs on the grey box on our desks, not some fancy black-green thingy that I barely know how to plug in to the telly.

As you've probably already guessed, I'm no console gamer. I haven't owned a console since the Amiga CD32, if anyone remembers that old diamond. I think most of us aren't. And that's fine.

It's fine because you'll instantly recognize yourself in the gameplay. It took me a few hours to get those two levers or what the heck they are to obey me. I still can't hit squat over two-hundred metres and I am forced to unfortunately confess that I use the auto-aim more than the iron sights

It's fine because the game now has four difficulty levels. I, of course, play on the easiest setting. It takes a while to get used to that you are still standing after half a dozen 7.62mm have penetrated your leg.

It's fine because the game is the same. It really is. It is OFP on XBox. The few visual improvements are too few. The few AI improvements are too few. The few physics improvements are too few. The few mission improvements are too few. And the mission editor is too dumbed down.

I could complete the campaign in a couple of hours not because I play on the easiest difficult setting (well, that helped a bit) but because I still knew the AI's disadvantages or the mission's weak points.

But I also felt a feeling that I haven't felt for 4½ years. I felt Flashpoint. I felt like a Flashpoint-virgin. It was suddenly a blast to take a town, even though I've done it a zillion times during the last 4½ years. It was fun to complete a mission, and unreveal the story I already knew of. Perhaps only to laugh at the poor new voice acting. Or perhaps because I know I shouldn't feel this wave of pure enjoyment, but still do.

I have dug and altered in every bloody file there is in the age old C:\Operation Flashpoint\-folder. I know the islands better than my own hometown (and that is no joke, I assure you!). I can predict the AI's next move better than a suit can predict the stock market (which perhaps isn't very impressive these days anyway...). I can judge out which gun/vehicle beats which only by recalling the config file from my memory. I know exactly how the mission designer's has built the mission I'm playing, down to every little command. And STILL I feel that snitch of enjoyment everytime I play Elite. Something's wrong here. Or something is very, very, very right.

Flashpoint doesn't belong on XBox. Sure, the control is good, I guess, but it feels dumbed down. Mission makers have struggled the last 4½ years to satisfy our hunger. Some focus on making stuff we've never seen before (a lá General Barron's Combat Patrol, CTI, Civilian Missions). Some focus on making the ultimate standarlized mission* (a lá Sui's Facile Ground, Macguba's Impossible Mission, THoBson's Abandoned Armies). Some focus on just taking us back to the roots of OFP, letting us play what made us love the game in the first place (too many to give any example). None of these have ever, ever suceeded when it comes to making us feel like we're playing something new. They could still be a blast, but when all comes round we are still playing the same old OFP.

Elite is the only way today to re-experience OFP. You'll feel the same feeling you felt when you first played the very first demo mission those long years ago. You won't forget, and never will - probably not even in Game2, that you are playing OFP. But you don't care. You're happy. Very Happy. And that is the only thing that matters.

(*with standarlized missions I mean missions that takes fields where OFP is at it's best and tries to highlight the pros of the game while hiding the cons)

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