When this game went on sale on Steam, I decided to give it a try, it just seemed like a game I would like. Even though the game seems to have got rather poor reviews from other players and general favorable reviews from critics, I had a feeling I knew why other players were not liking this game, and I decided to take a look for myself. After playing it though it's campaign and taking it online for some coop fun, I can honestly say, I am quite glad I did not listen to player reviews.
The thing is, OF:DR is NOT your typical FPS game. Its not a run and gun fast paced shooter. It's also, get this, realistic! This is why I knew I would probably like it, because it's not yet another FPS game that's the same as just about every other FPS game. Now don't get me wrong, I love FPS games, but in today's market there is no shortage of them. The sad thing is, most of them do not contain anything unique, they are all the same game, from the Battlefields to Modern Warfare 2, they offer nothing more but new maps, weapons, and maybe a tweaked story. The games themselves are all the same. The same basic mechanics and gameplay in a new package.
This is why I tend to get more enjoyment out of games that are not "clones" and actually have original ideas, mechanics, and gameplay involved. Games such as Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2, ArmA 1 and 2, and even Battlefield Bad Company 2. Sure Bad Company 2 may be "just another Battlefield game", but it adds a level of depth to your gameplay with "War Tapes". If you don't know what that is, YouTube will point you in the right direction. That alone ranks the game above most of the competition.
Like I said before I love FPS games, I play quite a few of them and to toot my own horn a bit, I happen to be pretty damn good at just about all of them. However its so nice to be able to step out of the typical "unrealistic" FPS game with its same old strategies and mechanics, and take on a game that actually requires patience, real world strategies, and a different set of "skills" in order to play. One where your character has real world limitations, the game has real world mechanics, and actually adds a bit of realism to the combat.
This is Operation Flashpoint. This is NOT your typical FPS game, and if that's what your into, then your probably not going to like this game very much. Now if you have played, and liked, one of the ArmA games, then perhaps this game if more up your ally. Its similar to ArmA in many ways, just with a lower learning curve and it's a bit easier to master the controls and learn all the commands for a novice to combat simulation games. That's exactly what this game is, a combat sim, not an FPS!
Of all the negative reviews out there by other gamers, I can not help but think they simply had no idea what they were getting into, not realizing a game like this requires patience and the player to learn new game mechanics. You may have to travel over 2 kilometers to reach an objective, you have to compensate for realistic weapon ballistics, you have to actually think your way through your missions. If you try and play a game like this as if it was just another FPS, your going to have your ass handed to you on a silver platter. Then of course your not going to like it and give it a bad review. This is not the fault of the game, but the player.
To prove this point I let my oldest son (18) try a mission. He is like most typical teenage gamers, he has zero patience, and simply will not take the time to learn a new game, yet he likes and plays most of the typical FPS games out there. After just 10 minutes he was already getting frustrated with the game and when he was through with the mission, said he thought it was boring. Now mind you I had it set to "Normal" for him.
I then let his brother (16) take a crack at the same mission. He has much more patience and like me, does not only like games that fit into the same box as the games everyone around him likes, yet also like me he plays a lot of typical FPS and is pretty good at them all. He took the time to figure out the game does not play by the same rules, it has a level of realism to it, there are limitations you have to take into account. Within no time he made it through the mission and quite enjoyed the challenge and said he liked the game.
So I think a majority of the negative reviews are the fault of the player, not the game. Not being able to adapt to the fact the game is not what they are used to or they simply have no patience for a game like this.
I also seen a lot of people saying the game was full of bugs. I really have no idea where these people are getting this idea from. Sure it has a few minor bugs I noticed, but no more than any other game out there, and they do not take away from the game. Again I think people are using the bugs as a way to over exaggerate the fact they did not like the game for the aforementioned reasons. Or they are trying to play the game on a low end system. Rest assured, this game is NOT full of bugs!
Dragon Rising has a great 11 mission campaign to play through, as well as nice big arsenal of weapons to master, and vehicles to operate. If you take it online, you can coop the campaign with up to 3 of your friends or hop into massive 32 player battles. Though still a visually impressive game, the game does have lower requirements than ArmA 2, so if your on a slower dual-core (around 2.4GHz) system and a video card under the Radeon HD 4000 range but over the x1800 series, this game will still run well for you.
All in all I have to say that I really enjoy this game and suggest that you not put too much stock in all the reviews out there claiming how bad this game is. If you like combat sims, have the patience to learn the game and its mechanics, then try it for yourself. Heck, you don't even have to buy it, there is a demo available to download! So you really have nothing to loose at all.
Game On Codemasters!