From the start, Dragon Rising is coined as a tactical squad-based shooter, something that will provide a far more authentic yet realistically difficult warfare experience than what the Call of Duty or Medal of Honor franchise might offer.
Something that immediately grabs your attention is the Damage System in Dragon Rising, getting shot will have a lasting impact on how you continue your mission, headshots will kill you pretty much instantly and shots the arms, legs and chest will damage you badly, potentially paralysing you. If you get a bullet in your arm, chest or leg then you must get fixed up sharpish, you can do this by fixing yourself up or getting a medic to do this for you, if not you will bleed to death. So unlike most games of this type, you will be carefully treading around the map and looking for cover at any possible chance, you can’t afford to go in all guns blazing in this shoot ’em up. No sir.
You’d think this realism would slow down the game and take the fun out of it all? Well no, I don’t know why it works, but it does. Don’t expect flame throwers and large explosions galore either, because there aren’t any, instead you tactically manoeuvre to your destination and carefully take care of the enemies there. It’s so realistic it hurts.
The game’s audio is pretty damn good, seriously, the sound effects and background music not only add a sense of atmosphere and tension but also a sense of realism, the sound of you brushing the grass as you take cover in an overgrown field, or perhaps the sound of a nearby enemy’s footsteps as he walks past you, oblivious to the fact that you’re crouched to the side of him, waiting to slice open his neck with your trusty knife. Pretty exciting stuff.
The game’s difficulty is by far the best feature of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, is provides the player with a completely brutal, unforgiving experience, ultimately training you to resist the urge to jump out and gun at people, and get you to pace yourself instead. The game’s difficulty, on the average setting is realistically ruthless, but if you play your cards right, signal correctly to your team and pull off your tactics perfectly, you’ll find the game a truly pleasurable experience.
Another completely ruthless feature of Dragon Rising that most will despise, is the game’s save system. Unlike most games of this type, you only pass a checkpoint every 30 – 45 minutes or so, meaning that if you die (it only takes one shot mind you!), you can be looking at wasting almost an hour to get back to your previous position. I know, it’s downright cruel, but it adds a bit of excitement to things doesn’t it?
Online gameplay in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising was a huge disappointment, well more than that, I couldn’t even play a game, and I don’t think anyone ever has. A quick Google search tells me that the game having a huge problem that doesn’t allow users to connect to the servers, thus not allowing you to play the game online. This is the case for users of the Xbox 360, PC and PS3 versions, what really bugs me is how the problem hasn’t been fixed either, Dragon Rising is well over two years old!
Now over to the more nasty side of Dragon Rising, there’s quite a lot of bugs and glitches, from animations going completely insane to uncooperative team mates and missions that sometimes refuse to end. The problems give you the impression that Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a rushed, poorly designed mess, that couldn’t be further from the truth because the game does show moments of unbelievable brilliance and sheer genius, but unfortunately these little bugs and technical issues pull the standard of the game down.
To sum up, Codemasters have made a game that shows huge amounts of potential but unfortunately falls a little short of that. If you’re looking for an unforgiving, realistic warfare experience, then you can’t go wrong with spending a tenner or so on this title. If you see it in the bargain bin, or in the second hand section of a game shop, take it home with you, despite its niggles you won’t regret it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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