Last week, Gamersyde was invited to a presentation of Codemasters' next realistic FPS, Operation Flashpoint: Red River. Along with some colleagues, we spent a seemingly-short hour playing the cooperation mode of the game, which allowed us to learn more about the next title in the Operation Flashpoint franchise. Evidently, this gives us the perfect opportunity to give you a bit more details about the game, as well as show you some exclusive in-game footage.
This new chapter of the Operation Flashpoint series proposes a four-player cooperation mode. Without diverging from its past gameplay style, this shooter has remained highly tactical and realistic. In order to build a strong single player campaign with an emphasis on story, the developers have taken inspiration from movies such as Jarhead or Green Zone. During this short gaming session, we were able to try three different missions. We started with an assault mission, followed by an escort mission, and eventually got to deal with the elimination of resisting militia groups.
The game first lets players choose a Marine class (Rifleman, Grenadier, Scout or Auto Rifleman), along with the equipment you want to use. Being detail-oriented, the weapons available are exactly the same as those used by the U.S. Marines. The first positive impression of the game comes from the freedom given to the players. Indeed, there are no long and possibly annoying cutscenes or scripted interactions. Moreover, players are not forced to directly follow orders to the letter to avoid failure. The surrounding environment can be freely explored and you can actually do whatever you want. Even though Codemasters' Graphics Engine (Ego) renders distant landscapes beautifully, when you get closer the environment reveals an aliasing effect that is much too present. Conversely, the lighting effects give way to nice solar glares that can even blind you, should you look directly in the sun's direction.
A welcomed improvement over the last installment in the series comes from the artificial intelligence of the game, which has been completely rebuilt and behaves relatively well. The developers have pointed out that the artificial intelligence will be more or less developed depending on the enemy's rank. We experienced this behavior first-hand, when our adversaries started to flank us or to charge at us and shoot at will. The big novelty of this new game in the series comes from the addition of an experience system. Players can now accumulate experience, regardless of the game mode being played, which can then be spent to upgrade the various classes. Consequently, it will be possible to obtain a sniper that is more accurate, or a rifleman with more endurance for example.
Each mission allows you to gain precious experience points. When playing with other players in co-op, a team score is also given once a mission ends. Evidently, the team score is directly proportional to the team's success in accomplishing the objectives given. Consequently, keeping in mind friendly-fire is activated, it is strongly recommended that you double check your firing targets, unless you want to risk losing points for your team. Should you or one of your teammates be injured, you have the non-realistic benefit of an infinite number of med kits. In case you are unable to accomplish the mission's objectives, the mission will nonetheless continue and you will have to safely make it back to the extraction zone, another welcomed and realistic aspect of the game.