Operation Flashpoint Impressions
We got a good look at the upcoming Xbox version of Bohemia's tactical game.
Although Operation Flashpoint 2 was nowhere to be seen at Codemasters' E3 display, the publisher was proudly showing the Xbox version of the game, which we were told uses some of the graphics refinements developed for the PC sequel. Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis for the Xbox will include the single-player campaigns for both the original PC game and the expansion pack, Operation Flashpoint: Resistance, and it will also offer multiplayer support and downloadable content via Xbox Live.
Operation Flashpoint is a highly realistic first-person military game that replicates real-world combined-arms tactics. Not only can you jump into any infantry soldier in a squad and deal with intelligent AI opponents that will effectively execute flanking maneuvers, but you can also enter any vehicle you encounter, including APCs, jeeps, helicopters, and other aircraft. The game does a particularly good job of re-creating the suspense and surprise of firefights between squads of well-trained infantry equipped with modern assault rifles, as your opponents are neither ungodly crack shots nor complete pushovers. The damage modeling is realistic, so you'll want to be aggressive yet use cover effectively.
The maps in Operation Flashpoint's missions effectively each cover more than 100 square kilometers of terrain. Many missions don't require much hiking, but you'll want to put vehicles to good use when they're available. The Xbox controls have been adapted to the rather complex PC interface so that you can scroll through a series of choices for actions and for squad orders. If you're piloting an Apache, you can set the chopper to auto-hover simply by hitting the action button, then using the D pad to scroll to the option. The action and squad orders menus are completely contextual, and you could just as easily scroll down to the option to eject.
Converting the graphics engine over to the Xbox hardware requires some adaptations, so Bohemia Interactive decided to add some of the enhancements in the works for Operation Flashpoint 2. The graphical upgrades include higher polygon counts for the models and the environments as well as some additional special effects. The game is due out in Europe this fall, but it likely won't ship in the US until early next year.
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