Operation Flashpoint: Red River - The Shooter That Could Have Been The Greatest
One of the most underrated shooters of the previous generation was Operating Flashpoint: Red River for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. With all its problems, I believe this is a game that is worth playing, however, it is not too hard to see why the game didn't quite kick off, as it should have.
Unlike the Call of Duty games, Operation Flashpoint: Red River does not completely hold your hands throughout the whole experience. This is a tactical shooter that is aimed at keeping the player glued to their TV/Monitor from the beginning to the end of every mission. Awareness is important, as enemies are accurate and a single bullet can bring you down just like that. This kind of intensity forces players to move slowly, check their corners and constantly stay behind cover.
When playing through the single player campaign, the lack of music and Hollywood style dramatic sounds are not found here. The only things to be heard in this game is the sounds of gunfire, your chatter of your squad, and the moans of injured enemies on the ground twisting and turning from bullet wounds.
The most important aspect of any shooter is its shooting mechanics, and that works flawlessly here. Weapons are solid and they are not easy to fire if you're not accurate enough. However, despite all the good stuff about the gameplay, it doesn't matter much when the artificial intelligence friendlies are as dumb as a piece of plank.
You can't go commando style when playing Operation Flashpoint: Red River as you won't make it far. This game relies a lot on teamwork and when your squad is not competent enough to do what you order them to, frustration shows its ugly head. Giving your squad a command is not difficult; the difficult part is knowing the right command for the particular moment, and them actually doing it.
I will not lie, for the most part, my squad do what I tell them to, but it's when they don't that's a huge problem. Not only that, they are completely unaware of their surroundings, which means they'll get shot a lot and you'll be forced to help them, which in turn puts you in danger of being killed.
For example, your squad would be in the wide open being shot and not once do they make a run for cover, you have to be ordering them to do so. If a grenade is thrown near them, they do not run for it, they'll stay there and die and you'll be angry because you know the game gets tougher when a man is down. Another thing - they appear to be afraid of water, no, seriously, they are. I once tried to have them cross a river and come to me, but instead, the whole squad took the long way on the road to reach me, which can take a long time to accomplish since the maps here are large.
If these problems were not a part of Operation Flashpoint: Red River, then there is no doubt in my mind it would be up there as one of the most memorable shooters of all time. To get the best experience, one would have to play the campaign with three other players via multiplayer co-op, but not everyone has a broadband connection so they are left to make do playing singeplayer.
Whenever Codemasters choose to release a new game under the Operation Flashpoint banner, hopefully it will not come with the mentioned problems. Then again, hopefully Codemasters is interested in creating another one, because we need these kind of shooters around among the many Call of Duty wannabe games out there.