Operation Flashpoint: Elite Reader Review
Most of the time, when big publishing companies sit in their various board rooms, they talk complete rubbish. They make assumptions about gamers with no real foundations. They say things like "Lets make it more action orientated" and "accessability is key". They never really think it through.
That's why I was initially worried about the port of Operation Flashpoint, that legendary PC game, to the Xbox. I thought they'd take bits out, make it more arcadey, and take the realism out of it.
Happily though, they didn't. They left it almost exactly the same, save one or two minor graphical flourishes. And that's absolutley fine by me.
Now I can bring the PC game to my console, where I can play it in the living room, where I can be sociable. Especially sociable, in fact, thanks to XBox live - which lets me become Andy McNab whilst sat on my sofa.
Little things like voice chat, and the ability to watch it all unfold on a 32" telly make a big difference, and incredibly accessable online multiplayer seals the deal. This game lets you loose on four enormous islands, and gives you free roam. Everything is instantly lethal, if you aren't careful. Enemies can come from ANYWHERE, thanks to there being no boundries, and your inability to mimik Halo and instantly switch weapons makes that tedious, long, drawn out shuffling to get your missile launcher all the more tense. There are no hidden health packs, no 'super weapon'. It's all about realism.
And it's games like this that make proper gaming memories. I mean, those moments that you remember almost as if they really happened. Like the time when, online, the helicopter with all my squad mates on board got shot down and I had to parachute into enemy territory with 3km left to go before I reached the flag. What happens next is like reading a book or watching a documentary; it feels exciting. Staying out of the way of roads and navigating to a nearby town only to find the only available transport is a childrens pushbike brings a smile to your face whilst also adding to the feel that you really are in this situation - battles are exciting, but it's the parts of the game that surface unexpectedly - like being picked up in the middle of nowhere by a mate on a motorbike - that makes this a gem based on comraderie, simulation, and tension building.
Ignore the fact that these are not the best graphics in the world. This game is still very, very far ahead of its time and the next gen consoles would do well to give this a proper overhaul.
9 / 10