Operation Flashpoint 2 : Dragons Rising from Codemasters is due for release on the 9th of October, and looks set to blow its rival ARMA2 out of the water. This is not just a first Person shooter, Operation Flashpoint 2 is a ‘real-world’ war simulator, and incorporates all aspects of the modern battlefield with an incredible attention to detail. You may be thinking ‘so it is Call of Duty 4, but more realistic’, no, its a first person shooter brought as real to life as it can possibly get without forcing you to get off your arse and start eating rations in a waterlogged foxhole.
In all fairness when Infinity Ward created Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, they wanted to make an accessible and entertaining gaming experience, and they certainly delivered it. Codemasters have taken a different approach with Operation Flashpoint 2; war isn’t there to entertain, war isn’t fun, war isn’t fair, war doesn’t get me killed through two walls by an overpowered M16 that was clearly aiming a mile behind me (boy I hate that).
So what can we expect from a war simulator, where the focus is on genuine article as opposed to being accessible? There will be over 50 vehicles and over 30 weapons but with the emphasis on realism, for instance if you want to use a Javelin Anti-Tank missile to shoot something shiny in the distance you have to get out the missile, set it up, aim and lock onto your target before you can fire it; by the time you’ve done that ‘shiny thing’ will be a hell of a lot closer and not too happy about your intentions. The prospect of spending 8 – 15 seconds reloading with a new Javelin Anti-Tank missile and having another pop at it, might not be such an appealing one, but then nether is running away from an angery ‘shiny thing’ that wants to hurt you.
Interestingly Operation Flashpoint 2 was developed using the Ego game engine, a modified version of the Neon game engine that was used in ‘Colin McRae: Dirt’. On paper that doesn’t sound like the strongest of foundations on which to build a new first person shooter. But Operation Flashpoint 2 will boast a huge 220km map, filled with lush ‘real world’ vegitiation and buildings, rendered in stunning light and shadow. These are put to good effect creating an incredibly immersive atmosphere featuring a very impressive day / night cycle and dynamic weather conditions.
Sounds is a big part of any immersive experience, and its certainly not overlooked in Operation Flashpoint 2. Genuine ‘speed of sound’ modelling offer realistic sound delay, so if something explodes in the distance the time it takes to hit you is taken into account. Every gun firing in a variety of modes has been sampled from the real weapon, or as close as the developers were able to get to it in the case of some of the more obscure Chinese rifles. Your fellow soldiers communicate with you constantly, and all actor voices are recorded at five different levels from whispering to shouting.
There is also a hardcore mode, but not as we know it, when they say hardcore they really mean it. EVERYTHING is turned off, yes I did say everything, there are no cross-hairs, no compass and no check points; so if you get killed you go right back to the start. The only thing to help you with your missions is a map. However you do still have night vision, optical and thermal imaging scopes equipped, which really helps in night missions on hardcore when you’re trying to spot enemy in the distance that are hard enough to spot in the day let alone night.
The co-op looks great, up to four player on-line co-op is available for the entire campaign. You and your friends can fight through every mission in the game as you please. The map is totally open world so you can attack your target from what ever way you want.
There are only a few game modes but they sound pretty AWESOME. The first of two player vs player game modes is ANNIHILATION this does exactly what its says on the tin. There are two teams the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS and the PEOPLES LIBERATION ARMY which go head to head in a fight to the death and yes you get lots of shiny things to drive around in blowing stuff up as you go and you have your AI soldiers to boss about too. The second mode is called INFILTRATION and this sounds like the best to me, again there are 2 teams, one’s a special forces team and the other is a defending team. The special forces job is to infiltrate the enemy’s base and destroy your objective, the defending team has to make sure this does not happen. This game’s mode sounds like there will be alot of waiting and when you finally get into a fire fight it will be over quickly so tactics are going to be VERY important.
Operation Flashpoint 2 takes on a very ‘Tom Clancy’ style storyline. China has invaded Russian Terrority to snaffle up some oil-rich islands, the Russians request help and the United States comes trundling to the rescue; basically the plot to ‘The Bear and the Dragon’. But of course, the story is just the background and the success of this game will be how well it pitches itself to the gamer community. Too realistic and the game will simply lose its fun factor, too gamey and what is to distinguish this game from the many other tactical shooters available? That aside it certainly looks good fun and with the ability to play the entire campaign in co-op mode, four really like-minded players could have some rollicking good fun.
Available on PC, PS3 and Xbox360