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Operation Flashpoint: Red River
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC
Publisher: Codemasters
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

It's filled with your average military sound and visuals, but it's a treat to see the region's mountains dominate off in the distance. The menu system is unnecessarily complicated and clunky.

Gameplay: 5

Building on the success of the previous game in the series, Red River blends modern day first person shooters with a need for a lot of tactical precision. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel nearly as fresh here, and the game has no real sense of momentum.

Lasting Appeal:

Red River features a massive campaign with multiple classes and modes to keep you busy. If you're a fan of the series, you're unlikely to run out of things to do here.

Overall: 6
Operation Flashpoint: Red River isn't as fresh and new, nor does it add anything new to its much loved predecessors, but it does offer a competent and at times thrilling shooter that will take you a while to get through.
CHEATfactor: 6

I absolutely loved Codemaster's 2009 tactical shooter Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. Its mix of modern day first person shooter mechanics and real world military intelligence felt like the breath of fresh air that the crowded genre so desperately needed. So naturally, I was excited to get my hands on the next chapter in the series, Operation Flashpoint: Red River, but something has changed. Gone is that fresh feeling, the smart AI and the welcome challenging difficulty. Rather, the latest Operation Flashpoint game feels like an uneven and disappointing shooter.

In Red River, you're the leader of the elite Fire Team Bravo, a Marine squad sent to track down Afghani insurgents after they fled the conflict in the area. What starts as a small operation quickly escalates as China's People's Liberation Army gets involved. Though it's not the most original story, to Codemaster's credit, it's presented remarkably well, with great looking cut scenes that mix in game animation with actual footage of the conflict in Afghanistan.

"...frustrating save and check point system..."


The key to the Operation Flashpoint games is that going in guns blazing is a recipe for failure. Rather, you'll progress through the game's missions by administering tactical commands to your opponents. These start with your basic commands like moving forward, stopping and following and eventually to larger commands that can take down entire squads and structures. Regardless of the intent, the key to these maneuvers is to always have your team set and ready for the next issued command. Unfortunately, your AI controlled squad mates aren't always interested in making things easy for you. Your squad mates seem to be fighting this war through a fish-eye camera, as they know nothing of what's going on besides what's directly in front of them and often show complete disregard for their own well being, taking the most asinine routes to complete your orders.

This combined with the game's frustrating save and check point system could have you throwing your controller out of frustration. You see, check points in Red River are few and far between, and even the smallest error in most missions can cause failure, which means you'll often have to replay long portions of missions, just because of that one small error (which of course is normally caused by squad mate AI). There's nothing more frustrating than getting within seconds of the end of a mission only to have to redo a good portion of it. There's a difference between challenge and asinine and this falls on the wrong side.

"...the eventual mission completion is incredibly rewarding."


That's not to say that the game doesn't have its moments. Since much of the game is built on planning and strategy, the eventual mission completion is incredibly rewarding. If you can find that one perfect route, that one perfect flank, it's unlike any other feeling in gaming. This is particularly rewarding when you take into account that most of the environments are huge and to truly be successful, you'll have to plan out quite a large strategy. This of course can be a negative as well, as your enemies are extremely skilled at taking you out from a very large distance, much further than you can.

Red River can be played with up to four friends cooperatively online, and you're going to want to experience it to fully appreciate the game. Filling your squad with actual human controlled teammates lessens the amount of terrible AI you'll have to deal with, as well as possibly being able to skip the frustration of having to replay missions because of their ignorance. There's also a separate set of missions strictly for co-op called Fireteam Engagements which feature missions with quicker objectives and are quite fun if you've already finished the lengthy campaign and are looking for more.

If there were a word to describe Operation Flashpoint: Red River - it would be decent. The shooting mechanics are decent, the visuals are impressive enough and the campaign has decent length. Sadly though, it never bothers to strike out on its own and even try to outdo its predecessors. Those who played the last game and are craving more should check out Red River, just don't expect it to be anything special. 



CHEATS USED: Complete Mission, Super Flak Jacket

There's one mission in Operation Flashpoint: Red River that I kept having trouble with. At the most inopportune times I would constantly find myself having to start over. With the trainer from though, I was able to get through things a bit faster. How? The Complete Mission cheat. How cool is that? Having trouble? Boom. Mission over.

But what about if you want to play through the mission, but don't want to risk getting hurt? The Flak Jacket cheat is wonderful and allows you to withstand pretty much any damage you could take on throughout the game.

There may not be a lot of options in the trainer for Red River, but what features it does have are incredibly helpful.



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