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Review: Operation Flashpoint: Red River - PC, Xbox 360, PS3

by Steven Williamson on 12 May 2011, 16:26 3.3

Tags: Codemasters, Action/Adventure

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A refreshing narrative...

Version reviewed: PlayStation 3
Operation Flashpoint: Red River is fairly untypical of most modern day shooters. Though its gameplay is backed up by the conventional backdrop of war, and features many of the traditional weapons that fans of the genre will be incredibly familiar with, Codemaster’s unique selling point is its co-op play and sim-like war experience, which is a far cry from the Hollywood blockbuster-style set-pieces and linear run-and-gun gameplay of many shooters. The co-op mode in Red River isn’t tacked-on, but is an integral part of the gameplay with friends being able to join you throughout the single player campaign. Playing solo, you still have control of three team-mates via the command system, but playing it with friends makes it a lot more enjoyable and a whole lot easier than going it alone. Codemaster’s certainly wasn’t joking when it described Red River as the “thinking man’s shooter” - this will be tough going for those used to run-and-gun shooter - but as a solo experience it rarely gets the adrenaline pumping.

As the spiritual successor to Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Red River prides itself on slow-paced, strategic gameplay where you’ll spend time frantically looking for ammo, ducking behind fences and walls while you assess the situation, and healing yourself from the inevitable gun-shot wounds that you’ll suffer with throughout the ten mission campaign. There are some moments where the pace gets a little frantic – especially if you dare to try to run-and-gun your way through a mission - but largely you’ll be picking off enemies from a distance and methodically working your way across a sprawling battlefield.
Taking place during a fictional war in Tajikistan, you command U.S Marine Staff Segeant Knox and his fireteam as you tackle China’s PLA forces and battle through any Tajik insurgents who stand in your way. The story is well-told and a breath of fresh air compared to the war- story-by-numbers approach of some developers. There's a few hard-hitting, emotional moments along the way too that compliments Red River's realistic approach to war. And it’s backed up with some impressive cut-scenes and sharp dialogue too. The swearing is a little over-the-top, but hey, soldiers swear, right?

Continued overleaf...