Operation Flashpoint Red River: A co-op revolution?

Reviving the old squad-based magic in tragic Tajikistan...

It's a bit of a shock to consider that the Operation Flashpoint franchise is nearly a decade old - predating King CoD by a couple of years.

Of course that's more down to the long eight-year wait between Bohemia's original PC title and last year's Codemasters-developed follow-up Dragon Rising.


But in the war FPS league, OF's settled quite neatly into its place as a sort of grounded Ace Combat - fictitious, realistic battles which bring genuine modern warfare to life, without too much recourse to oh-so controversial modern politics.

Since Codemasters wrested control of the series, the Leamington Spa-based team have been through an awkwardly public process of trying to take on the war game big hitters which wasn't helped by press shots of Dragon Rising being as photoshopped as a Christine Bleakley nudie pic; after all the build-up, the final product was a comparably drab affair.

But this time the team are sure they've got the formula bang-on (even if the shots are, once again, suspicious in their eyepoppery) with a heavy emphasis on getting closer to the reality of warfare.

It's not surprising that adversarial multiplayer hasn't been attempted this time; Dragon Rising excelled in co-op play above all else, and the emphasis on the realities of being part of a modern squad makes the drop-in four-player approach an obvious inclusion.

Gamers who want a taste of military life without going to all the trouble of actually signing up, being attacked in the showers, being entertained by Jim Davidson and of course, getting shot at, will be able to play through the three acts of the Tajikistan campaign on their own, gaining XP to boost their stats and skills, but it's not until they log on with three mates in tow that the full experience is open to them.


The four roles to be filled are Grenadier, Scout, Rifleman and Automatic Rifleman, although there's no set rule as to who's who. (You can all take the same role if you like, though it would make for a rubbish squad.)

Of course there's nothing new about forming a squad online, but the developers want us to be dubbing the game 'the most realistic squad shooter of all-time' come release day.

There are many details which will hopefully contribute towards this, not least one-shot kills, which are obviously irritating (but then as we all know, untimely death is irritating).

One of the team's boasts is the reality of the equipment you'll be using. You're not a high-tech ghost warrior from the future; that's not how modern warfare works.

You're underfunded, under-equipped, your gun is held together with masking tape and it's only the pictures of tits stuck up on the walls of your base that are holding it together.

Wave goodbye to the non-existent battlegrounds of Skira too. Tajikistan is no place to go camping, sandwiched as it is between Afghanistan and China.

So when Afghan insurgents start throwing their weight around, both the meddling Yanks and the curious Chinese neighbours turn up to start a ruckus, which promises to turn the country into a pile of smouldering rubble by the end of the game.


Serves them right for being geographically unfortunate. The images released so far don't deliver the visual grandeur of the country that's been promised by Codies, but they don't look quite as sweetened up as the first round of pics, which is promising.

The team could also be taking the lead from Kane & Lynch by featuring a YouTube-style aesthetic, giving every battle another dollop of watch-it-on-the-news realism.

We can't wait to see all this dodgy, pixellated carnage in action for ourselves.

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