Operation Flashpoint: Red River – Preview

Operation Flashpoint: Red River – Preview, held Wednesday 23rd February 2011
I was lucky enough to be invited along to an event previewing Codemasters upcoming FPS Operation Flashpoint: Red River, the follow-up to 2009’s Dragon Rising

Red River’s action takes place in Tajikistan (a country which sits ominously between Afghanistan and China), moving from the previous fictional Island of Skira, and so what better venue to hold this preview and give a flavour of the culture and flavour of the area than the Samarqand in Central London, a recently opened restaurant which specialises in Central Asian cuisine

My small group was whisked through the main dining area to one of the lavish private dining rooms at the back of the restaurant where 4 Xbox’s and TV’s are hooked up and ready to play

We were greeted by Sion Lenton, the games Creative Director, who gave us a guided tour of what to expect from the evening and were then given the opportunity to play through 3 of the 4 FTE’s (Fire Team Engagements) – the new Co-op game types which replace the player vs player multiplayer mode of Dragon Rising

First up is choosing what type of Marine you want to be (Hoo-rah), with four classes on offer. The Rifleman is your standard all-rounder grunt, the Scout has the sniping options, the Grenadier is your go-loud option and the Automatic Rifleman is the heavy weapons and suppression specialist. You will start out with a fairly standard set of weapons but gain XP through playing which can be used to unlock further weapons, attachments and abilities (one of my team mates also unlocked a related achievement for 5g – Weaponsmith)

Last Stand – is the first game type we get to play and is a kind of ‘horde’ mode with our team holding a position in a village atop a hill while being attacked by waves of enemies that’s sharpshooting skills and hunger to see you in a body bag increases with each wave

CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) – follows, and this is a ‘Black Hawk Down’ inspired mode where your team is tasked with finding and rescuing the Pilot and Co-Pilot, of a downed ‘chopper, destroying it and reaching extraction (the level we were shown was appropriately called ‘No One Gets Left Behind’). The maps are a standard layout but the placement of enemies, pilots and caches are random so no two games will be alike.

Combat Sweep – is next and in a level called ‘Counter Insurgency’ your mission is to clear out all insurgents on the level and destroy the 3 ammo caches hidden throughout the villages.

This final FTE that we, unfortunately didn’t get to play is Rolling Thunder, a fantastic sounding mode, inspired by Generation Kill where you lead a convoy of vehicles from point A to B, fighting off insurgent attacks on the way (the level highlighted was called Hells Highway) and looks set to test your leadership skills to the max

And then my all to brief slice of Red River was over

One thing that becomes clear very quickly is that the realism and tactical game play of Red River will really reward team players and severely punish any budding Rambo’s that dare to cross its path. Call of Duty style running-and-gunning will see you cut down in a hail of bullets in seconds and the enemy AI is smart enough to sit and watch a downed soldier and wait to pick off anyone who tries to come to their rescue, so even a rescue attempt needs to be a coordinated team effort

Weapons also feel realistic and weighty and lining up a shot actually takes some skill (and a little bit of getting used to), and when you get that kill shot – highlighted by your cross-hairs turning red (white for a wounding shot) – you feel like you’ve earned it

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is shaping up brilliantly and is looking very good ahead of its late April release date. Graphically it has improved again (sadly the quality of my pictures doesn’t really reflect that – note to self: buy better camera!) Everything looks very polished with realistic terrain, textures and vistas that seem to go on for miles and yet you have the sense that if you wanted, you could walk all they way to the mountains in the distance. Despite the obviously huge maps the draw distance is exceptional and was especially highlighted in the Last Stand mode where I could see tiny enemy soldiers hot-footing it between houses hundreds of meters away at the bottom of the hill

I really enjoyed all three FTE’s that we got to play, especially CSAR and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Rolling Thunder as well. If the single player campaign is equally enjoyable that Operation Flashpoint: Red River is looking like a must purchase

…and of course, no preview event is complete without a few awesome goodies to take away – is there anything more magnificent than a ‘I’m famous in Tajikistan’ t-shirt!!!

More game info can be found at: http://www.flashpointgame.com/

Finally, I’d like to give a big thanks to Xbox UK’s AceyBongos and the whole team at Codemasters, who were fantastically generous with their time, for the event

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    • Spades
    • February 28th, 2011

    I have a question: When you played with your teammates did you use actual coordinated tactics? Did you guys huddle up before coming under fire and actually make a plan? Did you work together? And by woking together I mean actually working together, you know, talking about tactics, sticking together, using various infantry formations and the like not just healing each other and shooting at enemies. Did you guys hunker down and not rush in there, ocassionally taking cover.

    Did you hunker down and fire at passing enemies, calling out movement and targets, or even play your respective roles realistically? Did the rifleman sit back and fire at targets alongside the grenadier? Did the DM (designated marksman) sit back a crack away at enemies along with calling out enemy positions and movement? Did the AR (auto-rifleman)sit back and suppress targets along with calling out movemnt? Hell did anyone call out movement? Did the fireteam leader play his or her role realistically by telling their team where to engage or pour down fire? Did the FT leader even order for certain formations to be taken up? Did the FT leader actually lead his squad and if so please provide some examples aside form simply healing or calling out vague directions in which the nemy might be shooting from.

    Overall what I’m asking is if you guys actually played the game carefully and realistically. if you guys actually came up with a plan (or came up with a plan in general) before coming under fire or at the very least actually worked together. Please reply ASAP. Thanks.

    • Sadly, my team were very uncoordinated (strangers + alcohol + an interview going on all at the same time isn’t the best receipe for a great team) – which lead to us getting killed a lot and failing almost every mission

      The scenario you describe sounds like the absolute perfect set up for playing the game – if you have a good group of friends (real or online) who will take roles and responsibilites and, most importantly, communicate with the rest of the team, you will get the most of Red River

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