If you combined ArmA2 and OFP:DR, you would get one awesome game. Now you got one broken and one disappointing instead..

User Rating: 7.5 | Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising PC
I loved the original Operation Flashpoint. I didn't really get into Armed Assault and I spent a good amount of frustrated hours playing ArmA2. This review is based on playing through the campaign on medium difficulty on the PC.

The good:

The game is incredibly ambitious. The sense of scale and the feeling of having limitless possibilities is at times breathtaking. Sitting on a ridge in the dead of the night watching an enemy patrol go past through your sniper rifle's scope is one of those things that really draw you into the game's world.

The graphics are above average, even on a medium-spec computer, especially the smoke and environmental effects considering the huge area you are dealing with. Also when you are getting shot at the screen shudders and dirt kicks up and you really feel like you need to duck down and crawl away. The audio is, compared to the closest competitor, ArmA2, absolutely brilliant. Compared to pretty much anything else the auditory experience is acceptable but not much more than that. Every enemy you get into close contact with seems to be extremely scared and shouting some sort of Chinese-ish, the few things your squad mates utter are forgettable and the only other voice acting is your commander over the radio. The audio could easily have been utilized better during the missions to convey the feel of the situation.

The bad:

The campaign is a mess. The eleven missions seem random, the briefings tell you in advance things that are, apparently, supposed to come us a surprise to you. This makes the pre-mission briefings quite strange since they offer very little in information on what you are doing or why, never mind how it ties to the overall war effort. You can also LOOK at what equipment you and your squadmates are carrying but you can't change it. There are no cutscenes, no voiceover during the briefing and the map doesn't even say where you start.

The campaign missions themselves are bland and exactly what you would expect. Thanks to the otherwise unhelpful briefings you will know every twist in the plot in advance (such as when the briefing mentions "follow the general", whose existence you only learn of when you accidentally stumble on him during the mission itself) and killing the enemy anti-air squads for the umpteenth time gets old after you do it in pretty much every single mission. Especially since (on medium difficulty) there is a huge arrow pointing directly at them.

Though the game itself is ambitious, the mission design is not and suffers not only from uninspired objectives but also from a number of broken scripts. The feeling of limitless possibilities is also often just a feeling since you can most often expect to either get brutally shot or bored to bits if you stray from the path set forth by the design. Comparing this to ArmA2:s broken but far more exciting concept of first filling the world with enemies and random things happening and then giving you a series of objectives, some guns, guys and a helicopter and setting you loose is not even fair. At some point the game designers seem to have forgotten WHY they have made a huge island and just reverted to making an outdoor corridor shooter.

The AI is just sad. Not ArmA2-sad, but sad nonetheless. The enemies sometimes do make an effort to duck down when you're shooting at them and they even try to flank you at times, but mostly they are quite content to just sit there and wait for you to snipe them. At least they don't accidentally crash helicopters and tanks into your squad. During a stealth mission I decided to create a diversion by leaving some explosives behind and blowing it up by remote to make it easier to cross a patrolled road, but nobody cared.

Though the graphics in general are pretty, you will experience the odd hovering soldier, a lot of empty houses and villages that look like somebody who has never seen a rural village but has heard of the concept tried to create one. Speaking of not knowing what you're doing: a tutorial would have been nice. Like telling me how to select different members of my team (who reads manuals anyway?).

The ugly:

Showstopping bugs on every mission. Either scripts that don't work or AA-tanks that turn invincible at random. The fact that you can die pretty much anywhere or because of anything from a random shot from a battle you're not even involved in to trying to fight an APC with a handgun is acceptable and expected and part of the experience. Dieing because your reinforcements didn't arrive or because your enemies suddenly evolved nightvision is not. Your squadmates are basically just something for the enemies to shoot at while you snipe away.

In short, OFP:DR is a much tighter and lighter experience than ArmA2 (which at this point really is the only game you can compare it to). If the campaign was well designed, longer, and didn't end with an embarrassing bellyflop that made the ending in CoD4 look good, this would be a very good game despite a collection of other problems. Since OFP:DR doesn't have quite the same level of depth as ArmA2, the modding community is unlikely to switch over and OFP:DR will definitely scare off the people expecting this to be another CoD, the question is: who is this game for?

The biggest problem with this game is that it fails to utilize the ambition and the possibilities. It could have been great. But it's not.