WIT: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

Codemasters’ soldier sim sequel, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, hit the shelves this week in the US, and is out tomorrow in Europe. But is this open-world shooter as tight and tough as we’d hoped, or is it all bravado? Here’s wot I think.

The internal development teams at Codemasters are having a better year than their external counterparts. Dirt 2 is all handsome, youthful and dashing, and Operation Flashpoint is gritty, manly, even painterly. The soldier sequel is set on a grim island north of Japan, in 2010, and has been moderately impressive in its displays of military flourish. The fiction weaves history with current affairs to create a hotspot where Americans make conventional war on Chinese occupiers. The technology takes a branch of Codies’ in-house engine and does things with it that make pyres of smoke rise moodily across the horizon. (It’s been a good year for that.) Dragon Rising is helicopters and howitzer barrages and rocket attacks, all delivered in an open world level that would make most other first-person developers blush. Codies’ tech – variants of which run both this and Dirt 2 – has a right to puff out its chest, salute, and feel proud as the Codemasters’ flag is raised: it’s really getting somewhere, especially on PC. It’s good lookin’.

Indeed, it’s the technical solidity of Dragon Rising that first impresses itself on you during play. It feels well-made and smooth, at least on my middle-to-high end PC. It’s not exactly glistening with processes and shader-magic – this is no showpiece, Mr Crytek – but it does feel like a minor accomplishment of practicality and realism. The lighting is washed out and yet crisp and precise. The effects are understated, and yet routinely evocative of what a nerd imagines is probably real war. The smack and splatter of bullet impacts aren’t just well-rendered with camera grime, they’re also sold to you by the thunderous audio. Ever actually stood next to a big piece of army hardware as it fires high-calibre rounds? No? Well, it seems clear that Codies audio team have done, because the guns go bang in a most satisfying manner.

The game world itself features one enormous landscape – splendid terrain upon which to make war, or to stop and gaze out across the see, wistfully wondering. It’s a shame there’s no button for picking the flowers. Few games manage a backdrop as hi-fidelity as this, and the realisation that you can go off the rails and charge across a beautifully realised island on which there really is a war unfolding is an interesting one. Interesting because you seldom see any reason to do so in the single player game. You genuinely can just follow the waypoints from one to the next to complete the mission. The level design is such is that there’s almost always appropriate cover along the line of the waypoints, and if you utilise that cover sensibly you’ll always be able to take down the enemies that lay ahead of you. The only real challenge, I found, was in having enough ammo.

Of course the difficulty levels allow you strip some of that HUD scaffolding out, and you’ll probably want to, because the game becomes rather easy by default. Enemies don’t seem particularly inventive in their attacks, and occasionally fail to address your presence at all, opting instead to carry out their dash for cover or their prescribed attacks on other units. The pervasive tracer fire means that as long as you’ve got some cover nearby you can pretty much always identify where the enemies are, and can cut them down before they become anything like a significant threat. (Despite that fact that – hnngh – you can’t lean.)

What is possibly Operation Flashpoint’s most accomplished piece of game design is the radial command system for your fireteam – for you are not alone – which you use to instruct your sidekicks into action. They are, for the most part, not particularly bright. They’ll sometimes not respond to an enemy, or forget an order and just stand about aimlessly, or even over-zealously pursue an order so that they chase someone up the side of a hill when you’d said “defend this shed”. But with some careful manipulation you can get them to lay down suppressing fire for you to flank, or even flank while you lay down suppressing fire. Useful routines on the battlefield, and they make for some Dragon Rising’s most entertaining play. Possibly the most useful routine, however, is being able to patch people up: the medic is a walking hospital, able to mend gunshot wounds with a wave of his arms. Invaluable, as you might expect, especially when it’s you who is bleeding to death in the long grass.

Even with these absent-minded androids shambling across the island of Skiira behind you, the single player campaign is a brief excursion. Never too much of a challenge, and rather lacking in punch. It certainly shows off the Ego engine – there are some beautiful moments of charging through smoke to assault enemy positions, and the gun-action is entirely satisfactory – but it doesn’t do much to show off the game design talents of the Codemasters team. It’s /distinctly/ unimaginative. The characters are characterless, and the world without humour or invention. Not a single mission made me think, or take a notes for a review I’d later write.

However, it doesn’t seem like it’s the single player game that is intended to be the meat of this soldier game. It could well be seen as just another extended intro ahead of the multiplayer game. This gives you both co-op and competitive multiplayer. I’ve had a crack and the co-op and rather enjoyed it. I expect the incredibly solid engine will deliver a good team-based versus game too. Like any game with chums and guns, the fun is immediately multiplied so that you end up having stupid larks in a place where serious war is happening. The accessibility and non-brokenness of Dragon Rising are a massive boon here too, obviously, because it’s not hugely demanding of your PC spec, and is well optimised enough not to seem like it’ll be flexible as to its platform. I have, at least, seen it running on a number of PCs now, and not seen any significant problems. Going into one of the missions against AI with your friends is fun. Especially when you’re supposed to be stealthy, and you’re the one that raises the alarm…

There’s a mission editor bundled with the package too. I’ve had a bit of play with it and was sadly baffled by the process: I spent ages fiddling with a vast stand up fight between American and Chinese forces, hoping to be able to chalk up yet another score for being able to make your own ludicrous missions in a shooter, but I was vexed. That said, you almost /have/ to spend some time in this editor to really get a sense of Dragon Rising, and to take in the scope of that island. I fully expect some enormous player generated missions to be created using this – there’s certainly immense scope for creating PC-flooring mega-battles across Skiira, the likes of which Codies wouldn’t have dared to include in their own campaign.

And so to the concluding paragraphs. I’ve come this far without mentioning Arma 2, but it’s impossible to continue without doing so. These two soldier games are diametrically opposed. Arma 2 has all the ambition, character, and versatility, while Dragon Rising has all the production values, accessibility and neat design. Codemaster’s design decisions all make sense: their radial command menu is great, the missions are all comprehensible and readily executed, and they tie a soldier shooter package up with a quality assured bow. It all makes for a tidy experience, but it’s just not very interesting. For example, there’s minimal vehicular action. By the end of Arma 2 you’re commanding – even building – an entire army, but Dragon Rising barely gets beyond small arms action. Sure, there’s a helicopter bit in the single player campaign, irregular support fire, and the odd jeep ride, but Arma 2 is all the helicopters and tanks I will ever want to see in one gaming life. Imagine my disappointment when I ran up to a tractor in Dragon Rising and realised it could not be driven. This is not the promised land.

I realised early on that the “Operation Flashpoint” part of Dragon Rising really isn’t anything more than a convenient handle that Codemasters happened to have around. This is a game that is, spiritually and genetically, far more a successor to the Delta Force games than it is to the original Operation Flashpoint. I was having flashbacks to Delta Force 2 during my time with Dragon Rising, and remembered just how much I enjoyed that ancient manshoot at the time. These days, however, it seems barren. The actual Delta Force games have long ago wandered off into the no-man’s land of awfulness, and Dragon Rising seems like a good approximation of where they might have been if they had remained a contender.

Far from being the calamitous failure that some Arma 2 fans would have liked this game to be, Dragon Rising actually just a mild disappointment, but a disappointment that leads in an entirely different direction to that of Bohemia’s project. In fact, it’s almost a lesson in why Codemasters and Bohemia Interactive should never have parted ways in the first place. Each game has something the other one needs, and they’re both flawed without it.


  1. Sunjammer says:

    “Each game has something the other one needs, and they’re both flawed without it.”

    Except one is sort of elementally opposed to the other. You can’t win really. The more complex the game and larger its scope, the more polishing you need. I’ve yet to see a game of ArmA2’s complexity with anything remotely resembling solidity. If BI had to deliver to Codemasters’ QA requirements, the game would likely never have been release to the public.

  2. Vinraith says:

    Thanks for the WIT Jim. I’m primarily interested in this for single player and 2 player co-op. Is there something available to co-op other than the (apparently uninspired) SP campaign? Is there some kind of skirmish generator that lets you set up the paramaters of a fight and dump yourself or yourself and friends into a fight (something faster and less convoluted than actually going through building something in the editor)? In short, as a single player and as a player with a friend or two, what are my play options?

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Sunjammer: Arma II could have lost some of its feature list and been a better game. Also, even in the state it was in, it would have benefited from an experienced QA department. Don’t forget that OpFlash was a Codies game.

    OpFDR meanwhile needs some of the Czech feature-hunger.

    These games are opposed only in that they are different ends of the same spectrum. They could both be shoved a bit towards the middle.

  4. Subject 706 says:

    FOR HEAVENS SAKE! A supposed mil-sim that does not include leaning!? That in itself puts me off.

    • Dracko says:

      I wouldn’t call crushing your spine one way or the other leaning anyway.

    • Starky says:

      You don’t lean around corners in the military anyway, in my understanding at least (that’s what TA taught me, and speaking to real British soldiers confirms), peaking around a corner just gets you shot.

      I believe the FBI teaches the same thing, never lean around a corner, instead strafe (fast and low, gun forwards). Would that be a crouch-strafe?

      The main reason for this is that body armour protects the chest, not the arms, shoulder or head… so if you’re going to be hit you want to be hit in the chest.
      It’s why modern military move chest forwards gun held mid-body, shoulders tucked in, body straight.
      Pre-body armour shooters would stand side on, to give the smallest profile possible.

    • Wisq says:

      Oy, yeah, seriously. Some old games have leaning, some newer WW2 shooters have leaning, and suddenly it’s expected that all “realistic” modern shooters must include leaning or be shamed out of existence.

      Just because you, as a human being, can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it — nor should they be obliged to simulate what you shouldn’t be doing, much as the original OpFlash did away with jumping.

      TBH, in the few games that do support leaning, I never know where to put the buttons. It conflicts with my usual keybind layout. I realise that’s my problem and not theirs, but it pretty much sums up what I think of leaning — waste of keyboard space. Heck, in the situations where the military needs to peek / shoot around corners, they’ve got special rifles for that now. Nobody’s going to stick their entire upper body around a corner at a predictable height, let alone achieve anything approaching modern accuracy while doing so.

    • Shalrath says:


      That’s referred to as “SAS pose.” Even now a lot of military units around the world teach chicken-wing/side to opponent. One of the reasons that the UK doesn’t is that their armour zips from the sides, whereas American armour zips up the front. These zippers are obviously not great at blocking bullets…

      “Nobody’s going to stick their entire upper body around a corner at a predictable height, let alone achieve anything approaching modern accuracy while doing so.”

      So why do all tactical shooting schools teach off-shoulder firing? If you never leaned, you’d never need to do this. You DO lean in combat, just not the way everyone is thinking (around a corner). You DO lean when behind uneven cover, to shoot over something that is at an angle, etc.

  5. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    ooo, Delta Force 2, it’s been a while but I still have a place for that game in my heart. On the other hand, no tractors, whisky tango foxtrot?

  6. robrob says:

    Any more info for the mission editor for this? I’ve been having a blast making missions for Arma II but no bugger will play them with me because they think it’s an inaccessible game. DR sounds more palatable though so for me the quality and scope of the editor is the deal breaker. Arma II’s is pretty special and I think it is this aspect more than any other that the two games can really compete against one another.
    Anyone tried making a mission for it? Scripted anything? I found a tutorial in German and it made it look like a bit of a hassle. Hopefully that just means it is very powerful once you understand it.

    • jackflash says:

      I’ll play with you. Look me up on steam, if you like – Boone is the handle.

  7. Richard Clayton says:

    Jim, What of the modability / mission editor in order to extend the single-player game? Do you expect the single-player scene to benefit from this or is it a little limited?

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    Richard: there’s clearly scope for missions to be created. As for modding, I’m not sure the tools are there yet. I’ll ask Codies about it.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @Jim: apologies for not spotting the paragraph where you mention the Mission editor. It was lazy of me to post without fully checking the article. However, I was skimming the article with one eye open in order to get your general opinion but without having too many negatives to dampen my childlike preorder enthusiasm. The other chaps have seen to that though!!

  9. Mort says:

    Hmm that’s not great, but kind of what I expected. It’s winging it’s way to me now largely on the strength of it being curiously available for such few monies, but rather tragic to hear we’re still waiting for a op flashpoint sequel. In this case I may buy ArmaII aswell then.
    Lack of tractor driving is incredible, the original was almost famous for it, a wacky indicator of it’s freeform nature, have they no humour? If there isn’t vehicles I can caputre or use, what’s the point of such a huge island?
    Good news on teh radial, pczone wern’t quite so kind.
    I assume they’re laying down the foundations and simply waiting for community content to flesh it out.

    Anyway bought this for coop, as a stop gap for our hardy band of zombie slayers before lfd2 comes out. Should provide adequate lols for the weekend.

  10. nine says:

    What does “WIT” in the title mean?

  11. Bananaphone says:

    What is possibly Operation Flashpoint’s most accomplished piece of game design is the radial command system for your fireteam

    Really? I’ve found it clunky, particularly when the menu for fire support is inexplicably mapped to right shift by default.

    It could well be seen as just another extended intro ahead of the multiplayer game.

    A multiplayer game which only supports 32 players…that’s pretty poor.

  12. Greg Wild says:

    /waits for his copy to snail mail in


  13. Bjoern Roepstorff says:

    We played the first mission of the campaign in coop last night. It was fun to do so, even though the game does not have the ‘Holy crap it’s suddenly war and I am inmidst of it!’ feeling the original Flashpoint conveyed. Nor does it have the gritty realism of ArmA II.

    I’d compare it to GR:AW right now. Still there is stuff that is plain annoying. No leaning? Why do enemy corpses seem to ‘despawn’ at times, so I can’t plunder them for weapons and ammo?

    But then there are the redeeming factors. Calling in an artillery strike? Priceless. Feeling the HE rounds explode next to you, the ground shaking, the spray of dirt hit you while the enemy gunship circles ahead? Spooky.

    I wouldn’t spend much time with it in SP. But with a friend or two in coop? Well worth the money.

    • Shalrath says:

      The bizarre spray of mud when you go prone inside a concrete building? ;)

  14. Dominic White says:

    Here’s a real kick in the balls/nail in the coffin for would-be mission designers: There’s a 64 entitity limit. Every active crewmember of vehicles counts as an entity too, as do you.

    Which means that you can’t even do battles as large as the bigger ones from the ORIGINAL Operation Flashpoint campaign. Furthermore, the console versions have no editor at all. I may be misinformed on this last note, but apparently there’s no auto-sharing of missions like in OFP1 either. You have to have every player download the mission file in advance.

    I wasn’t asking great things from Codemasters. I just wanted them to do slightly better than the Xbox (ORIGINAL Xbox, not 360) port of an eight-year-old sim by a tiny Czech studio. They’re an enormo-megacorporation with huge manpower and resources. This should be easy for them, right?

    The AI seems even dumber in OFP2 than in OFP1 as well. What the hell, Codemasters?

    • robrob says:


    • Bananaphone says:

      That’s hilarious, yet really quite sad. :( It doesn’t deserve to the carry the Op Flash name.

    • Dracko says:

      Nor does ArmA.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Technically there is no 64 entities limit at all.

      It’s basically like this:

      With regards the rumoured 40 entity limit for the editor, that information is incorrect and below are some bullet points to help clear up the matter:

      * 63 entities can be held in memory at all times
      * These entities can be anywhere on the island
      * These can be vehicles or soldier
      * Flashpoint uses spawning extensively to add and remove soldiers and vehicles from the world and replace dead soldiers. Basically this means that you can spawn and despawn units, so if you wanted to have guys disappear because they’re too far away from the battle or not needed anymore, then you can and free up the spaces they used.
      * You can set up vehicles such as tanks with “virtual crews” so that the tank and “virtual crew” are classed as just one entity eg. a vehicle with no observable units mounted like the tanks can have a virtual crew which only counts as 1 entity and has the effect of a driver/commander/gunner combination
      * Only soldiers and vehicles count as entities, meaning adding things like sandbags, barbed wire, gun emplacements, concrete walls, do not count towards the entity total.”#

      You seem to be forgetting that in singleplayer they are actually using the same limits. Try to count more than 63 soldiers or tanks in a battle, there simply won’t be that many. It’s all a matter of clever make believe and it doesn’t mean you can’t copy the singleplayer campaign levels.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “They’re an enormo-megacorporation with huge manpower and resources.”

      No they are not. But they certainly could have done better looking at their track record.

    • Bananaphone says:

      That’s lucky, because ArmA doesn’t. It’s called ArmA.

    • Dracko says:

      that was the joke (simpsons reference just fyi)

  15. monchberter says:

    It’s starting to look a lot like Bethesda.

  16. dartt says:

    My copy arrived today and I look forward to co-oping it up with pals.

    I loved ARMA2 but I haven’t touched it in a while due to getting a little annoyed with it’s brokenness. Any idea of playing co-op with any regularity went out the window after our first few attempts broke down in to a mess of buggy mission objectives, scripting and connection/sync issues.

    OF2 sounds like it’s polished enough for us to put a good number of hours in and might even provide a solid base for a community of modders to add in some of the features from ARMA2 that it lacks.

  17. TotalBiscuit says:

    This thing has a recommended 8gb of RAM in it’s requirements. 8gb. No I’m serious, 8gb.

    • Clovis says:

      Err… does it also require a 64-bit OS? 32-bit Windows doesn’t really handle anything above 4gb. Or does the game somehow avoid this problem?

      I’m guessing, based on what Jim said in the review, that the guy who wrote the requirements was just having a laugh.

    • pirate0r says:

      You have that backwards. It needs 8GB of HDD space, 2GB of ram recommended, 1GB minimum.

  18. Jaffo says:

    <- Still waiting for a worthy successor to OFP.

    Having played a couple of missions, I think I'll probably finish this at least, something I didn't bother doing with A1 and A2.

    See you on Nogova!

  19. Ybfelix says:

    I can’t run ArmA II :(
    What’s the contextual justification for you in ArmA campaign to run around flying a fighter jet while giving order to “an entire army”? Sounds not very “sim” but fun.

  20. Lilliput King says:

    A pair of chums and I sat down to co-op a little bit of Arma 2, and it was a fairly strange and dissapointing experience. We spent about 15 minutes talking to some guy then driving to an objective, where there was an extremely short firefight (I bagged a few kills, neither of my friends managed to) which was tense and pretty good fun. We then had another conversation, and a radioed in a helicopter, which took about another 15 minutes in total. When it arrived we flew to some village to talk to question some locals. After asking the locals a question, they failed to respond. We walked around asking every local the same question, each replied with a blank stare. I couldn’t tell if we were in the realms of buggy fail or game design at this stage. After walking around the town for another 10 minutes, the radio signals started to flood in. Everyone who we had asked was suddenly replying, about 20 minutes later and one after the other, inexplicably on our radios. It was terrifying. We sat down behind a house and waited for the barrage of words to stop so we could work out what the hell we were supposed to be doing.

    We worked out there was some kind of base that needed destroying somewhere where the bloke we were trying to kill hides out, and radioed in an AI chopper pilot to take us there. He was doing alright till he decided to land on a tree and kill us all. The end.

    Ambition is great, but things have to fecking work. Jims right, a little bit of feature and a little bit of shine in the key.

  21. Jim Rossignol says:

    “I’d compare it to GR:AW right now.”

    Yeah, that’s another good comparison.

  22. Jog says:

    The game is pure crap on PC.
    For f*cks sake there is no dedicated server support only p2p like on XBawks.
    There is no leaning.
    There is no free look in the cars.
    There is no join in progress.
    There IS an entity limit in the engine – 63. This means that you can’t put more that 63 units on the battlefield in the editor.

    I can go on and on…

    • Mort says:

      hmm, p2p is very bad news, aswell as the other stuff, especially entitiy limit. Why is none of this mentioned in reviews? Gah.

    • klumhru says:

      I could go on and on about great graphics, stability, audio, the fantastic editor, awful SP campaign and crap MP modes.

      None of it matters.

      Sixty. Four. Entities.

      What. The. Fuck.

    • Spacewalk says:

      What the fuck indeed. I guess I’ll be keeping to ARMA II at a choppy framerate for my military porn experience instead which is a shame because I like the idea of an easier to get into OFP. I’m sure someone will pull it off successfully at some point.

      Or I could just stick with the first game which is somehow oddly worrying.

    • PHeMoX says:

      There is no unit limit. There’s only a limit on how many soldiers or vehicles can be on the map at one point. That means there can be up to 63 units on the map ALL THE TIME.

      The game uses spawning and despawning of units very extensively. And designing a good mission will include that. You really aren’t going to notice that there are only 63 units, when each time you kill one it gets respawned somewhere else.

      It’s a perfect way to make sure the game doesn’t come to a crawl performance wise. And adding 126 bad guys is easy. You will just need to set the correct respawn settings.

    • Mort says:

      That makes more sense, and is what I suspected once this entity limit thing started going round. But the limit as a hard cap was being quoted with more and more authority. Your honour.

    • Jog says:

      Well but still. 63 means not only bad guys but friendlies too. Your squad is 4 guys strong. If you want some friendly squads, tanks, APCs and choppers, plus bad guys in your mission. It does seem that 63 is not so much.

      You end up getting the same feeling that you are in the center of the world like in any other FPS, because there won’t be any firefights where you don’t participate. I still think 63 units at the same time is disappointing considering the scale of the island.

      Here’s a quote from the forums:

      The entity limit is hardcoded into this game. What this means is, even if you make a spawn script or something else in an attempt to get more then 63 entities activated at the same time, the game will still block your attempts to do so. What this means is that any sort of island wide warfare is going to be impossible, at least for multiplayer. It might be doable in single player though.

      Additionally, this limit seems to be put in mainly because Operation:Consolepoint is just a console port masquerading as a PC-first game. I spawned 63 riflemen in front of me and after checking memory usage and FPS data, there was only a very small effect. Yet, when I spawned in one additional entity the game either didn’t let me load the level, or it simply did not add the entity at all.

      This limit is not there because of pc performance, it’s there because the consoles are limited in some way and so they were either too lazy to recode the engine for PC, or they just thought that the console kiddies would be jealous that we are running around in PC missions designed with 400 + entities. (Yes, with the stupid as dirt AI we could easily do 200 vs 200 entity battles in this game).

    • Dominic White says:

      To put things in perspective, here’s an 80 vs 80 firefight, made in the editor for Operation Flashpoint on the original Xbox.

      link to youtube.com

      None of this would be possible in the vastly higher budget sequel. How did Codemasters screw up so badly?

  23. Helios_CM says:

    @ TotalBiscuit – Just checked my game box and it definately says 2GB RAM recommended, 1GB RAM minimum :)

  24. Jog says:

    What king of internet connection do you have to have to have to host a 32 player multiplayer ? What the f*ck Codemasters were thinking. Did anybody even have a lag free 32 player game. And also, how the hell are you supposed to get 32 players playing when there is no “join in progress”. You have to sit there in the lobby and wait for all the kiddies that want to play to press “ready” button. Oh come on…

    And there is no anti-cheat also btw…

    Oh and about modding – not sure about that, but on the official forums someone said that the game is not mod friendly as the game content is compressed in an unknown format 8×320 Mb. OFP without mods – WTF ???

    Well I still hope that dude is wrong about mods.

    • PHeMoX says:

      That’s wrong. There will be mods and mod support. The tools just haven’t been out yet.

      The compressed format is something standard, think of PAK files for Quake and all that. Really nothing to worry about.

    • pirate0r says:

      relax, you don’t have to be an angry internet man ALL the time…

  25. ILR says:

    “After walking around the town for another 10 minutes, the radio signals started to flood in. Everyone who we had asked was suddenly replying, about 20 minutes later and one after the other, inexplicably on our radios. It was terrifying.”
    “…radioed in an AI chopper pilot to take us there. He was doing alright till he decided to land on a tree and kill us all.”

    Sounds like you’ve just had two Genuine Flashpoint Experiences ™. Usually at that point you are supposed to just toss your headphones away for a moment and combine swearing with simultaneous spleen-splitting laughter.

    It feels odd to say this but that is, at the end of the day, a big part of the game’s (and the original Flashpoint’s) charm.

  26. ErrantConstruct says:

    So has Arma 2 gotten fixed? I remember when it came out a bunch of people kept saying "its a game that is worth buying and waiting for it to fixed through patches." Has BI made any progress towards a reasonably bug free experience?

    • tigershuffle says:

      1.4 in patches so far and more to come.
      oh and the community are converting lots of Arma1 stuff as well as creating new mods.
      There are some good optimisation threads in the forums ie armaholic etc

  27. klumhru says:

    Arma2 is actually pretty stable now. Arma2’s strength lies it the mods though. I recommend trying some of the CTI or Warfare mods on armaholic.com. They can be played singleplayer as well, and fun can be had.

  28. Theory says:

    Looks like it’s Arma2 for me, then.

  29. Burglar says:

    Brillant review Jim. I’ve had OPF:DR preordered for a while now for just £18 and it dispatched today and I’m looking forward too it. It was always going to come second to Arma2 though, and perhaps it’s a bit of a shame that its used the OPFlash name, especially if it’s closer to Delta Force.

  30. The Sombrero Kid says:

    sounds like a million miles better than that steaming turd that was arma 2.

  31. Gap Gen says:

    Actually, I would have been perfectly happy if Bohemia had just done something very similar to Op Fap’s campaign. As it is, they probably bit off more than they could chew with the Red Harvest campaign. Custom missions are often excellent, and I’ve had more memorable ArmA moments than I can remember.

    I’m OK with this not being a direct competitor to ArmA. Sure, the joy of Op Fap was jumping into tanks and aircraft as well as being a vulnerable human being, but being a vulnerable human being alone isn’t that bad.

  32. jackflash says:

    Good review, Jim.

  33. dsmart says:

    Well whoever didn’t see this coming is the sort of fool that publishers cater to.

    I’m sure that it has its target audience but comparing this to Arma2 should be considered sacriledge and rewarded with a public flogging. From what I can tell, it is going to go the way of the likes of Frontlines. I”m not going to mention Section8 because that one is already dead as a doornail.

    For all intent and purposes – not to mention insider rumors, there is a very – very – good chance that Codemasters won’t survive 2010 without either being bought out or going out of business. If this game fails, that could be the nail in the coffin.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Considering what they did with the Operation Flashpoint brand, I say good riddance.

  34. Subject 706 says:

    From what I’ve read, most people who were expecting some sort of mil-sim, are horribly disappointed in this game. Codemasters seem to have given the Operation Flashpoint name the Ghost Recon treatment, i.e. dumbed it down considerably.

    • Dracko says:


      you telling me a game sold as an arcadey milsim didn’t turn out to be a hardcore milsim?

    • waffles says:

      Actually, it was billed as milsim, both in advertising and being a OFP game.

    • Subject 706 says:

      “arcadey milsim” quite an oxymoron.

  35. Phinor says:

    I have two major technical problems with this game: the FOV kills my brain, I simply can’t play a game with 60 FOV. The other problem is the usual mouse acceleration which cannot be disabled, makes the game a lot harder that it’s supposed to be.

    I’ve yet to finish a mission and probably won’t finish one until both those technical problems are fixed as on a PC they are clearly bugs, not features.

  36. Hoernchen says:

    This is fun, arma 2 isn’t. Period. Anyone who tried playing the arma 2 coop missions will agree.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I disagree.


    • klumhru says:

      Thanks for trying to speak for me, but I’d rather you didn’t. This isn’t fun (zero challenge, etc), and Arma2 was – and remains – fun. In my opinion.

    • Walsh says:

      The built-in co-op missions may suck the big one but there’s at least 50 user made co-op missions of all sizes available. I’ve played several co-op missions on SimHQ’s Arma 2 server, it’s a blast.

  37. Heliocentric says:

    Well done. You’ve made me want the game and extinguished all of my excitnent all in one post.

    I hope your mother is proud of you.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      Nice one, Helio! I have the same reaction!
      Jim doesn’t say it was awful just that it has its shortcomings – as all games do. I don’t mind games so much that don’t live up to their potential as it indicates there is some substance there.
      I found the original Flashpoint frustratingly tough as nails and didn’t derive very much fun from it at all. Although Jim says OF:DR lacks a sense of humour it certainly seems fun. I think I might get a copy for my Dad and we can try a bit of co-op. This in itself may be worth it.

  38. jsutcliffe says:

    I dislike games where the single player aspect might as well just be a training mode for multiplayer. If you can’t deliver a satisfying experience in both, polish one til it glistens and don’t bother with the other.

    I’m interested in the game but don’t have the time to devote to it to get good at multiplayer, and I don’t want another big fat disappointment of a single-player experience like e.g. World In Conflict.

    • Shalrath says:

      “…I don’t want another big fat disappointment of a single-player experience like e.g. World In Conflict.”


  39. Axiin says:

    I actually like OFP!

    I spent nearly 6 hours last night playing in co-op games. I’ve been itching for a nice medium between something like ArmA and CoD4 and this I think is it! (For me at least). Its the closest thing to the whole squad combat thing I loved about BF2 that I’ve had the chance to partake in, in a long time!

    Yes the lack of dedicated servers can be annoying, and yes some of the AI behavior is silly at times, but it really is a blast to have a co-op experience with other people that isn’t always PvP.

    There is a lot of bitching on the forums about dedicated servers and I think that CM will release the [SVF? SFV? What ever acronym people use for the dedicated server files] files. It would be silly for them not to.

  40. Ben L. says:

    Seems like a shell of it’s former self. I’ll stick with OpFlash and ArmA. I have a special love for the original OpFlash….

  41. Chwynn says:

    32-bit windows cant deal with more than 3.25gb of ram :(

  42. Dan says:

    We tried a bit of co-op around the office this afternoon. We hit one or two bugs, but it was generally fairly satisfying once we worked out the controls (why does loading HE grenades always end with me holding a knife?).

    I like Arma 2, but it was very unforgiving, has a terrible UI and was very glitchy when I started playing it (but fun!). OpFlash2 just has a much more polished feeling, and I tend to feel the combat model is a bit more forgiving for letting you relax and enjoy the game.

    For me, it’s an Arma2 that I can get my friends to play with me without all the frustration of Arma2.

    I’m also finding it much more… tactile… than Arma2. The feedback from explosions, whizzing bullets etc is far more satisfying in OpFlash2 than Arma2 (personally). A bastard child of this and Arma2, with all the best elements of both, could really be fantastic.

  43. Kelron says:

    Doesn’t sound very interesting to me. I’ll try a demo, if and when there is one, but I’d rather have ambition and bugs than polish.

  44. Shalrath says:

    Just tried it on a friends PC at work – holy fuck that command wheel is awful. You can get used to it, sure, but it takes forever to get to anything. Fire Support -> Artillery -> Barrage -> Use Explosives That Explode -> Please just fire -> Fire For Effect.

    I’m glad that in 2 years when we fight wars people who get shot can have a medic use superhealing on them though. That takes a load off my mind.

  45. Jog says:

    You know what ? I look at this situation with OFP:DR then look back at the original OFP and it just amazes me how DR has gone backwards in almost every aspect. OFP just seems like the Concorde jet of videogames. It was so advanced at it’s time that no one could match it terms of realism. No one even tried to do a better job because it’s too risky and expensive. But the most awful thing is that I fear that no one will ever try to do it again in the near future. Just like with the Concorde – it’s too advanced for it’s time.

  46. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    The price point is insane…39 quids over at gamesplanet, 49 euro@ Steam (FFS, 81 per cent higher price than in dollars!)
    Meh, milking? Not going to happen in my case

  47. TeeJay says:

    “The game world itself features one enormous landscape – splendid terrain upon which to make war, or to stop and gaze out across the see, wistfully wondering.”
    I’m getting images in my head of a melancholy archbishop pausing on his afternoon ramble.

  48. NuZZ says:

    Heres woot eye thank:

    You cannot toggle the scope/zoom for weapons. I had to mash down that right mouse button for hours on end. Crouching however you can toggle at least. There doesn’t seem to be any mouse smoothing either.

    The landscapes may be vast however the texture quality is horrible. It feels like it’s from 2005. During a night mission the dynamic exposure renders the moon far brighter than the sun in real life. It’s quite distracting, while night vision is just simply far too bright.

    I can’t play anymore as it’s just slow, boring and uninteresting.

  49. Chaz says:

    Well I’ve spent a few hours with it now and had a good few co-op games, and I like it. Its definitley a much better game in co-op than single player. Without the co-op I would be a bit dissapointed with it. But then the co-op was what made the origianl OFP shine for me as well. I think like Jim sums it up, its swings and roundabouts between OFP/ArmA and this, in that they each do something better than the other. I certainly think this is a lot more accesable and less punishing than OFP/ArmA, and I wouldn’t say that was a bad thing either. OFP/ArmA definitely has the vehicles down much better though, as they feel very secondary in Dragon Rising.

    If I have a major gripe with Dragon Rising at the moment, its that the Machine Gunner weapon is stupidly inacurate. You seriously have a hard time hitting guys no more than about 30 feet away who are bang in the middle of your sights. I know its supposed to be a support weapon laying down surpressing fire, but its practically usless for actually shooting guys down.

  50. Klassic says:

    Mort – Jaffo are you the same boys from the original OFP TZW days?

    If so I have posted a message on the old operation flashpoint usenet site with a valid email address.

    Can one of you contact me please. I cannot get into the old TZW newsgroups (PC Woes) etc and want to get it sorted.