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At the core, Red River is a gritty, tactical based shooter that brings to life what war is really all about. However, the game fails to draw in the player. The game as a whole is just boring; worst yet, it will frustrate you more than it satisfies you as a gamer.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a dirty, gritty, military simulation created by Codemasters. It is not the first entry into the franchise either and has only continued the trend down hill since the original, Cold War Crisis. The game is littered with bugs and level ending glitches that have yet to be patched since the game's release back in June.

What annoyed me even further is the fact that the game is just simply not fun. It isn't "cool" either. The game aims to be a modern military simulation yet it fails in almost every aspect. The action is awfully slow, much slower than it would be in real life, which is what they're aiming to achieve, and the graphics are completely awful on a console! The game looks like it was developed for the previous generation of consoles versus the current. The only thing that struck me was the rendering distances, though you could barely make out what the heck objects actually were.

Operation Flashpoint is a game that can be fun if you're the right player. The game compels to the hardcore audience only and that is it. As in hardcore I mean you seriously love military simulations and that's it. You like the realism. This game will challenge you beyond limits you even knew you had as a gamer! The casual crowd just seems to be left out.

The game's story is split up into three acts. The first act mainly revolves around how the U.S. military originally ended up in Tajikistan. You and your fellow Marines are deployed here to take part in an invasion of the country to liberate it from insurgents who have set up shop in the mountains ad local villages. Everything seems to be going well at first. Before you know it, half of the country belongs to you and is now safe for the locals to reside in once more. Things go south when the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) gets involved.

The PLA boasts a massive army that has access to masses of troops, artillery, air support, and advanced weaponry. They're an organized, lethal fighting force. Not the desperate insurgents with low tech and a meager amount of troops to deploy. The PLA will launch large, coordinated attacks that will strike you hard and fast. The Marines are quickly overwhelmed and push back, further and further to Tajikistan's western border. The tide finally turns for the Marines after a successful night raid and defensive victory at the main bridge across a river that divides the East and West sides of the country.

The story is lackluster to say the least. It never drew me in. Never at one point did I really enjoy any part of it. The developers simply just didn't do a good job depicting the story they wanted to tell. The story is told through cut scenes that will bore the living hell out of you. In every one you are either driving in a car or aerial vehicle for about 5-10 minutes just doing nothing. I found myself dozing off during these sessions and later jolting awake after realizing I was beginning to fall a sleep!

The core of every game comes down to it's gameplay. This is one of the key factors that determines whether or not you like a game. Red River's gameplay can be described in one word, horrific. The game splits you up from the main military force by placing you in a fire squad. The fire squad you are in can be ordered what to do a by a simple navigation wheel. I loved every part of it until I realized my men weren't following any of the commands I had given…For instance, I'd ask my team to go clear out the building ahead of us. They would stand around and do nothing, or they'd clear everything but the building!

The AI for both friendly and enemy is horrendous as well. Even members not a part of your fire squad are just plain dumb. You'll often find men just standing around, doing absolutely nothing right in the middle a freaking combat zone! What in gods name is wrong with them?! If someone is shooting at you, wouldn't you take cover or try to take out your assailant? I hope you answered yes. Well, any AI member in this game would say no. Their choice is to stand in the middle of the oncoming fire and proceed to get shot until they die, which is very, very quick. As I said before, the game is a military sim, so it's going to behave like the real deal. If you're shot in real life, chances are you're going down in under two bullets. Same thing here in Red River. Two shots pumped into your body and your dead. No chance given at all to survive.

Upon death you will be sent back all the way to the previous checkpoint, which is almost always an ungodly step back to where you were just at 20 minutes ago. Checkpoint system? Terrible. The enemy AI is no better. Half the time they'll be facing the wrong direction and have no idea you're there. No effort was put into trying to make them look they are fighting you either. They blatantly look like a bunch of hackers online using an aim bot system. One second they'll be facing the opposite direction from you and before you no it, the gun is facing you, yet the body isn't and three rounds have been pumped into your chest. Have fun going all the way back to the checkpoint which will be so conveniently placed!

Red River just simply can't run well on anything but a PC. On a console, the framerate will tend to drop when multiple objects are on the screen and the action is just doesn't feel fluid at all. Nothing flows right. Less you can shell out a hefty amount of money to play the game on a PC, you aren't going to get much better of a performance than you would on the 360 or PS3.

The first thing I noticed when I popped in the PS3 edition of the game was how awful the graphics were! It looked like a game designed for the previous console generation! The environments are just flat out ugly and do the opposite of "wowing" you. Character models are flat out terrible as well. The PC version is thankfully another story. The picture above says it all. There is detail in every nook and cranny possible in the game. Environments look lush and vivid. It is easily makes itself one of the best looking games on the current market. For some peculiar reason, very little time must've been put into the console port of the game. Obviously Codemasters put forth all of their effort on the PC edition. It is kind of a shocker to me because the bigger crowd the game will be exposed to will be the console group.

Unfortunately,, the most awful part of the game is the sound. To be frank, it just isn't good. Voice acting has to be the driving force as to why it is so bad. Voice over quality is just awful. I struggle to write in words just how bad it is. You have to hear it to believe it. Orders shouted out to fellow soldiers made me laugh because the man talking sounded like a complete idiot. Show some effort man! The voice acting in the cut scenes are bad as well. None of the actors read their lines with any enthusiasm. Those who did show some effort sounded very odd. Hearing their voices made me feel uncomfortable. The briefing cut scenes for upcoming missions unfortunately suffer from this. The man is just down right weird. Explosions and gun fire is "ok" for the most part. Although I noticed that most weapons sounded the same, there was no unique difference what so ever.

Closing Comments

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a grueling, hard, and disappointing experience that I hope to never play through again. I may sound harsh but that is how I feel coming out of the game. None of the core elements of a game were represented with any quality. The story was overwhelmingly dull. The game just flopped! The Flashpoint games have only gotten worse since the original and I hope Codemasters can do something to turn the series around, else it will soon be dead in the water.

Replay Value: Low

Score: 5.5/10