Xbox 360 Review: Operation Flashpoint: Red River

Bang bang, he shot me down…

I sadly missed out on Dragon Rising, so I didn’t know what to expect with Red River and as someone used to the run-and-gun shooters like Halo and COD, I was in for quite a surprise…but was it a welcome one?

Indeed it was. I didn’t imagine that I’d be able to dish out orders to my troops in a way that many FPS’ don’t allow, while making it incredibly realistic as only a few shots will kill you and one will at least wound you till you patch yourself up. It’s a nice change of pace to the rather easy duck-and-cover shooters of today and the story is also pretty close to the bone. Red River is set in Tajikistan as you fight insurgents and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. What was quite creepy was that the opening covered Bin Laden’s journey in Al Qaeda and I must have popped the game in a day or so after his actual death.

Red River plays like your standard tactical shooter. You are handed objectives to hold buildings, clear areas of insurgents and move on, but you also have to keep an eye on your squad as well as giving them a whole range of orders from giving suppressing fire to protecting a stronghold from the enemy. Enemies can come from any direction, so protecting yourself from gunfire is priority one. You are thankfully given checkpoints as dying will end the mission, although loading takes quite a bit of time.

There’s no multiplayer mode to speak of in Red River, but you can play the campaign or select areas with upto 4 players online and I would recommend this as your AI squad mates can sometimes put a mission in jeopardy with their stupidity, although it’s rare this happens. There are also quite a few co-op achievements, so it’s wise to do it this way. You assume the role of grenadier, scout, rifleman or automatic rifleman while gaining perks for them by completing objectives.

If there’s a complaint to be had, it’s that you only travel on foot or in a humvee. With a desert wasteland to traverse, it would have been nice to have other vehicles to drive. The story however makes up for this and is incredibly strong, especially compared to other shooters that haven’t quite had the greatest plot…Visually, Red River isn’t the prettiest shooter on the market…but makes up for it with deep characters and superb realism. Voice-acting is decent while the soundtrack is impressive.

The Verdict

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a unique shooter that really surprised me. At first, I was put off by the difficulty scale of one bullet being able to kill you, but then once I rethought how to play a FPS, it all clicked into place. This is a great game that is ideal for 4 players to play online and I hope that they release some form of DLC in the near future to expand on this decent tactical shooter.