Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising is set in the future where you are helping Russia take on China. As you go through the campaign you will experience two different perspectives, one as a fire team leader of a Special Forces team or a traditional Marine team. Some of the missions range from taking out China’s early warning defenses to securing a beach head to rescuing some pilots that got shot down. There is a decent amount of variety in the missions where you shouldn’t get too bored once you get there. The problem, at times, is simply getting there. If you want to go through this adventure be prepared to do a lot of walking. There are many times where you and your team have to talk two or more kilometers to either get to your destination or to a checkpoint where you will then have to do it again. While this is probably more realistic to how it actually is in real life, it doesn’t necessarily make for compelling gameplay. Gamers and shooter fans who have never played this type of military simulation might get bored quickly as it doesn’t have the constant, over the top action that titles like a Call of Duty would have. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you are looking for more of a simulation, however, just realize that this title is not for everyone.
The game starts off on the fictional island of Skira where you are trying to destroy the opposition’s early warning systems so that your fellow Marines can start establishing a base of operations on the island and start driving the PLA forces back. Once you have done that you are sent to destroy the PLA defensive sites so that they aren’t able to put up much of a fight when your boys come rolling through. As you go through missions you will notice that you have your primary objective, however, you also have some secondary objectives that you can complete if you so desire. Completing these secondary objectives might go a long way in making it easier for you to complete your overall objective. In one particular mission you have to storm a fuel depot, however, it is pretty heavily guarded. One of the secondary objectives in that mission is to have some of your comrades cause a diversion, which will draw a good number of the PLA’s defenses towards them and away from the fuel depot. Now, of course, you don’t have to do this, however, it will make accomplishing the mission a lot harder if you have everyone coming at you trying to take you out.
In theory Codemasters had a lot of really great ideas for this title. Some of the execution, however, could have been a lot better. As you play through the title there are a lot of things that just seem unpolished. The A.I. in this title suffers from this as well. There are times when my squadmates would spot an enemy before I did and take them out accordingly. However there were other times where I would issue an order to my team and they would acknowledge the order and then not do anything as if the order was never given. It can get pretty frustrating, especially if you are already in a tense situation and you need your teammates to come through to help you survive the mission. The checkpoint system could also use some more work as the checkpoints wouldn’t always register properly, making you go back farther in the mission then you should if you get taken out. I’m not sure if this title was rushed out for the holiday shopping season but it definitely should have been pushed back until 2010 so the development team could iron out all of the bugs. Sure, there would have been some initial complaints from their fan base, however, everyone would have benefited from a better overall experience. There is also the fact that the Xbox360 version does not have a level editor. This is a pretty big deal for some people and could be a deal breaker. There are eleven missions in the campaign and it would have helped out the replayability of this title a lot if Codemasters had put this feature in the console versions. As it stands right now though people will have fun playing this title until Modern Warfare 2 comes out and then it will probably be forgotten.
I know by now I am probably making it sound like this is a really bad title, however, that is not the case. It definitely has a number of problems as outlined above but there is also a lot of fun here as well. There were times where everything clicked and the game was working beautifully. Your squadmates will frequently alert you about an enemy in the area by telling you, “gunner 100 meters to the north” or something of that nature. They can do a pretty good job of keeping you aware of your surroundings so there is less of a chance of you walking into an ambush, as long as you are paying attention. There was also a time where I was trying to run towards an extraction point and one of the helicopters was giving me aerial support, giving me a better chance of getting out of there alive. This is also, somewhat, of an open world title. You can tackle your objectives in a number of different ways. You can try and go the stealth approach and try to accomplish your objective without alerting anyone or you can try and snipe enemy combatants from a distance. If the option is available to you, you could also call in air support and have them bombard the area to clear the way for you. It is this type of non-linear gameplay that probably will have people playing missions multiple times to try and see what happens if they do something different.
Overall, Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising is a competent title, however, it fails to reach the great potential that it had. When it does things right it is a whole lot of fun and definitely something that gamers should experience. However, when things go wrong, it can become frustrating and leave you shaking your head. I really hope that Codemasters issues a patch for these issues and continues to support this title. If they do that then they could get a great community supporting this game and playing for quite a while as there really aren’t too many games like this on consoles. For that reason be sure to check out this title if this is the type of genre that interests you. Despite its flaws you might have a lot of fun.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network