Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
Ok, itâ€™s probably only fair to point out that this is a preview rather than a full review â€“ weâ€™ll be doing a full review later â€“ based on completing the first mission plus optional tasks. One thing you learn fast with Dragon Rising is that this is not your ordinary first person shooter, and its definitely not Call of Duty: Modern Warfare either. If a bullet in Dragon Rising hits you, youâ€™re in serious trouble. If it doesnâ€™t kill you outright youâ€™re going to have to administer first aid fast, and put up with the effects of the injury for the rest of the mission. You see Dragon Rising is probably the first military simulator to hit the consoles, and as such there is no ducking for cover as you recover from taking half a clip from an enemy machine gun. One wrong move and youâ€™re dead. Back to the last check point and try it again. Just donâ€™t expect your enemy to be sitting in the same place as he was last time â€“ he wonâ€™t be.Â
This whole easy to die thing might sound like it would get frustrating real quick, but surprisingly it doesnâ€™t. There is a real sense of completing something when you have achieved your first objective, and secured your first checkpoint. You pause for a second and admire your achievement, because it was hard earned, probably in blood, and even though you didnâ€™t dispatch hundreds of enemy soldiers Rambo style like you might have in any other game, it doesnâ€™t seem to phase you. Itâ€™s not about the body count anymore; itâ€™s about securing the objective, getting the job done, and getting home.
Getting the job done and getting home in the first mission is relatively easy, sure youâ€™ll have to learn the hard way that you need to take a different approach from what youâ€™re used to. Youâ€™ll have to effectively utilise your squad mates to help you suppress and out flank the enemy. Youâ€™ll learn that even when youâ€™re on your belly eating the dirt, it only takes a little elevation for your foes to see you and put a bullet in your grey matter.
However if you ONLY get the job done in mission one, you will want to start all over again, as youâ€™ll discover (if, like me, you werenâ€™t paying attention at the mission briefing) that there were three secondary objectives that will reward you with extra kudos. These extra objectives however will test you, as youâ€™ll find they have much more in the way of defenders and youâ€™ll have to use all you wits, as well as a few pints of blood if youâ€™re going to achieve every objective on this little starter mission.
As far as game play goes, Dragon Rising is a tight little number that rivals Modern Warfare in itâ€™s intensity and beats it hands down for itâ€™s raw feeling of reality.
Graphically however itâ€™s not as pretty with no cinematic cut scenes or cutting edge next gen graphics. The graphics may not be the sexiest youâ€™ve ever seen, but they do the job, and you have to remember that you have an entire windswept island to explore, not just mini levels to complete.
The Ai is great, as I mentioned before, if you have to reload from the last checkpoint (and you will) the enemy is never in the same place. Also, if you get bogged down in a fire fight and stay in the same position, you will notice that the enemy will try and flank you.
Control of yourself is straightforward, movement is pretty standard, as is shooting â€“ though you may notice things donâ€™t seem that easy to hit â€“ this may be my lack of skills or the fact that youâ€™ll be trying to take done the enemy from a far greater distance than youâ€™re used to. Driving of vehicles is basic, and you can chose to drive yourself or be driven, manning the machine gun or what ever may be available in any given vehicle.
The sound effects are pleasing, with no music what so ever, just the constant communication of your team mates â€“ who are very good at spotting targets â€“ and of course the sound of gunfire, bullets whizzing past you, even the thumping of your hear in your chest after youâ€™ve run too hard for too long.
All in all, after two evenings and the full completion of the first mission, I can say that Dragon Rising is one of the best first person shooters I have ever played. Itâ€™s a refreshing change from the usual fare with itâ€™s primary focus on realism, and itâ€™s challenging enough that it looks like it will be challenging me for quite some time yet.
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Available on: XBox 360, PS3, PC