Operation Flashpoint: Red River Review

By on April 27, 2011

An FPS that goes off without a bang.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

I’ve only recently begun to really enjoy FPS games, and given there are so many games in the genre, my experiences range from utterly brilliant to downright depressing. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to try out Operation Flashpoint: Red River from Codemasters, an FPS game that doesn’t try too hard to mess with the much-loved FPS formula. Sadly because of this, there’s not much here to differentiate it from other games in its genres, and a few cumbersome flaws make this a somewhat frustrating game to play through.

Red River tries to throw something new into the mix by basing the action in Tajikistan, where rebel forces are getting into all kinds of mischief at the border with China. Naturally, the U.S sends its troops over to investigate, and you’re part of a squad that needs to make it through the missions alive. After your initial deployment, you’re quickly introduced to the basic controls and taken to a makeshift training ground to practice firearms and other commands, following which you are sent out on your first mission. Rather than plod around on foot, you’re given the luxury of jumping into the back of a jeep and being driven to your next mission.

This driving around poses two problems – firstly, it’s incredibly boring. You sit in the back seat and stare at your squad members as you drive past burning buildings and helicopters flying overhead. I understand that this was meant to reflect upon real-life scenarios of marines moving from one point to another, but it gets tired fast. Secondly, it means that you have to spend time with your team leader Knox, who is by far the most abusive character I’ve ever seen in the game. Every word and command he utters has an expletive attached to it, and it becomes really irritating to have to put up with his never-ending rambles. Maybe the shock of war finally fried his brains, but he makes the jeep rides even more unbearable. Knox does serve his purpose by radioing in your missions and some tips during battle, but other than that he is just dead weight. Sorry, talking dead weight.

That being said, the game does focus heavily on team-based commands and cooperation – this isn’t a game where you can be the lone gunman out to save the day. Your AI opponents are fairly intelligent, and can pop up from behind a building and shoot the living lights out of you if you’re not careful. And when you get shot, you don’t automatically regenerate health if you hide behind cover. You have to hide and patch up your wounds, or you’ll bleed too much and pass out in battle until someone can revive you. It’s yet another play on trying to keep the game more realistic as compared to other FPS games. You’re also required to constantly give your squad orders, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great for when you want to team members to flank an enemy position or take out a particular target, but once they’ve completed an order or taken out a target, they just amble around waiting for you to tell them what to do. It’s irritating when you’re halfway to an enemy position and realize that your squad is no where in sight simply because you didn’t issue the ‘Follow Me’ order. Having said that, ordering your squad around is just a matter of bringing up a radial menu and choosing one of the many orders mapped to the D-pad. It’s a fairly straightforward process, which is a welcome change compared to other squad-based games out there. While the game does tend to stretch your tolerance levels if playing alone, it becomes a much more enjoyable experience when you add more players into the mix as your squad members, simply because you can rely on a more capable human intelligence to keep watch on things. If the main campaign doesn’t test your mettle, there are side missions clubbed together in the Fireteam mode, which is a buoyant mix of escort missions, seek and destroy, and rescue episodes. It’s a welcome change from the main plot, and there’s a fair bit of tactical fun that can be had.

Visually the game almost seems to wrestle with itself. The muted terrain and orange clouds seem eerily barren at first, until a pixellated helicopter goes flying overhead. Character models for most part animate well, but I was a bit confused what at times the enemy gunfire was represented with green lasers flying overhead. There’s plenty of explosions and accompanying sound effects, not to mention Knox’s constant swearing.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is sadly another FPS game that is clambering for some attention. Those who’ve played previous editions might pick this up out of curiosity, but honestly there’s not much here that would set it apart from others in its genre.

The Scorecard
While the missions provide plenty of action, they’re watered down by the excessively long jeep rides.
Decent enough visuals that are sometimes marred by rather bleak looking textures.
Will someone please shut Knox up?
Replay value only exists if you’re able to rope in more players.
the Fireteam missions provide some much needed distraction from the main storyline
There are certainly better FPS games out there, but worth a try just to satiate your curiosity.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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  • wileyj

    “Green Lasers” represent tracer rounds in combat. Back in my day every 5th round was a tracer.

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