Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis PC Review

Probably the best army strategy/FPS/sim ever made, apart from the boxy graphics, would be Operation Flashpoint. When I first played the demo of this game I thought it was just another all action game, but when I got into it, I thought it was the best thing ever.

So I go and get the real version and install it, after getting past the annoying serial codes (annoying for when you lose the manual!) of course. In the main menu a nice, in-game movie plays and you can set up your multiplayer and single mission character, select ready made missions, do the campaign or play around in multiplayer. I check out the mission editor, when I get into it I am confronted with a map and a simple point and click interface where I can place men, tanks and make my own mini-movie-game thing. The mission editor is fantastically made, with everything available to you, and even scripts can be used (but I haven’t figured them out yet) for a more movie like gaming experience. My little mission is a simple scrap between the two sides (West and East, what the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s only America and Russia!), with me as a nice grenadier.

After clicking “Preview” the game loads, a nice landscape is sprawled out before me (100km2 of it to be exact) with trees, roads, buildings, signs and army bases. The two sides collide in the middle of a field and all hell breaks loose, I launch one of my grenades with haste, and the explosion is, well – pathetic. It’s just orange, black and white circles that look like an upside down mushroom cloud. No texturing on them whatsoever. I look around using the ALT key and I see that my soldier’s hands are boxy and don’t even move when I pull the trigger, the other AI people’s heads are boxy, their bodies are a bit boxy and their hands don’t move. But I don’t really care about that – you can create your own war with this powerful game!

The campaign is very deep and tough, none of this easy first level stuff, just straight into the horror of war and what can happen in it. You play as a person called David Armstrong, a private in the army, and you have to progress through the levels, and ranks, to finish this war against… guess whom… Russia! Why is it that in all games made in America you are always fighting against either Germany or Russia, it’s passing on bad messages to the younger and more influential generation. I would say something about America but I won’t for fear of being locked up for saying it. But anyway, great campaign.

You can even create missions to be played in multiplayer games! So I make one where my brother is a pilot and I am a foot soldier – how fun, he ferries us around to different battle spots and we kill – great! One up for Operation Flashpoint!

There are all these little touches that make this game great too – a watch that tells time (real time, none of this sped up nonsense), a map, compass, notes written in your little organiser thing and some great music by a group called Seventh. All these make this game fantastic to be played.

There are many roles you can take on in Operation Flashpoint, including:
* Soldier
* Black Op
* Officer
* Grenadier
* Rocket Soldier (LAW, RPG, AT)
* Sniper
* Engineer (Mine fun!)
* Mortar (Nice little rockets to fit in your M16)

There are many more roles added in with the patches, available in the Gold Pack Upgrade. This upgrade pack costs about £10 and has a new campaign and all the downloadable patches from the website.

But in Operation Flashpoint there are no winter lands, and even in the winter months it looks like summer (even if you can change the weather in the editor), so if you go to a search engine you can search for winter lands, you won’t be disappointed!

In all, Operation Flashpoint is a fantastic war simulator, strategy game, movie creator, first person shooter, multiplayer etc. game in one! You can even create racing levels using the civilian cars! It’s just so versatile. Only one drawback, the FADE engine that they use isn’t that good. The graphics are a bit boxy and ‘old’ looking. But apart from that it’s a fantastic game.

Summary:

Graphics
Pretty nice, but boxy.

Gameplay
You don’t have to fight a war – just put yourself as a civilian and walk around! It’s not just an army sim, it’s anything you want it to be!

Sound
brilliantly done with music and everything for you to use.

Lifespan
Different every time you play it.

Overall
The graphics are the only drawback here.

9 out of 10
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