Reader Review: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Justin does, as he spends the entire battle hiding in the grass.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Justin Robson. If you’ve played Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, or just want to ask Justin more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (360, PS3, PC)

This generation’s harsh and tactical military simulator.


Complete change of pace: One thing you need to know before going into this game gunz-a-blazing is that it is more of a simulator than anything. Flashpoint is meant to be tough. Only a professional or a lunatic would tackle it on hard straight up. The difficulty curve is more of a right angle than a curve, but it is one of the most rewarding games out there if you stick to it.

Combat realism: Everything about this game is mind-blowingly realistic, especially the weapons and combat. Every single bullet becomes an asset, one will put you or an enemy down, two and it's game over man. Firing is also very dependent on where you hit an enemy and from how far, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see the pink mist from a headshot at long distance.


Graphics = Meh: The engine is very standard for this generation, and was obviously implemented with a ‘gets the job done’ mentality. The environment and gun models are far from ugly, but aren’t pretty... and characters... you’d think America was cloning soldiers. For something that was barely forgivable in the late nineties, it makes you wonder why the devs didn’t put in the effort to differentiate one person from the next.

Bugs: Bugs are plentiful. They range from small things like clipping issues, to doozeys like checkpoints that don’t register, and disappearing teammates/enemies. Nothing game breaking, but definitely mission breaking, and your patience will be tested.

AI: For the most part, they do their job, but at times are so obnoxiously stupid they get in the way of the mission. Your teammates can get snagged on the smallest obstacles and are often unresponsive to orders and enemies. Also, getting everyone into a vehicle is a chore, and medics seldom want to heal you until it’s too late. Sometimes you’ll want to shoot your own men more than the enemy.

Ultimately, this is an extremely punishing game, if not for the realism of it all, but for the bugs and the idiotic AI. That said, if you have the patience, you can come out of Operation Flashpoint a lot better at FPS.

Reviewed by: Justin Robson

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    Noice! =D

    I thought you ignored me when I sent this to you Mr. Wildgoose...

    The friendly AI is retarted, yes, but the enemy is quite deadly. I suppose to truly enjoy this game you should play on coop as that'll get rid of the friendly AI.

    But then this game is much to laggy in Australia to even play coop. Me and my friends can't get pass mission 3 because the game isn't able to sync the scripted events due to connection errors.

      So essentially it's next to unplayable offline because of the AI, and also online because of bad networking code? ... It's hard to believe someone, somewhere gave this game the ok to be released despite the fact that it clearly isn't finished...

      I'll admit I didn't try online, firstly because everyone's been telling me it's a lag fest, secondly because I'm afraid I'm going to verbally abuse my teammates, haha...

        No its not unplayable, in fact the friendly AI is good enough, just don't expect them to replace human players.

        What makes this game unplayable online, is the lack of dedicated servers. This is for all games. The fact that MW2 does not have this feature too, means that it will also suffer the same fate.

      I never really had a problem with the AI, they seem to do what I tell them the best that they can. I quite enjoyed the single player, and have never had trouble with the problem that you described in co-op.

      Interesting. Had some issues with connecting to master servers on day 1 & 2, but since then haven't really had too many issues connecting or lag being experienced in co-op games or small multiplayer games.
      Admittedly haven't played in any multiplayer matches with large numbers of real players yet.

    After taking delivery of my PC copy yesterday I eagerly installed it. I really wanted this game to be good. And surely it couldn't be as bad as ArmA in terms of bugs and issues?

    Well, graphics are ok, but too much brown. That's almost a console-port cliche these days.

    Why? Why with an infinite colour palette, do console game designers choose "shades of brown"?

    I don't want to start a console-vs-PC flame war. They are ALL PCs, really, so I can't understand why there is such a disparity between games that are made for PC only and those that are made for consoles and then ported half-arsed to the PC.

    Codemasters promised not to create a dumbed-down game for consoles, but there is no support for joysticks. The X-Box 360 controller works, though. Thanks for that. Because if I have one of those I probably also have an XBOX!

    There's no dedicated server, even though it recommends you use one ON THE BOX (the packaging, I mean, not the "X" box)!

    How exactly is this a "simulator" when you can't fly aircraft with a joystick at least?

    I can't comment too much on the game play yet. I'm hoping the co-op multiplayer is a saving feature. But I already get the impression this is nothing like the simulator that ArmA is. Yes OFDR is more realistic than Modern Warfare.

    However I enjoyed Modern Warfare because it didn't pretend to be something it wasn't. It was a really nice-looking (that is, more than brown) game, with great pacing and story-telling even if it was just moving left and right in a one-way tunnel.

    I feel lied to by Codemasters.

    I deliberately didn't buy ArmA II because I was tired of all the bugs and idiosyncrasies of the original ArmA and OFP before that.

    But this offering from Codemasters is a big fat smelly fish slap in the face for actually pre-ordering the game before I read any reviews.

    Shame on me.

      I'm pretty sure that "shades of brown" are used because that is the colour of the ground and trees. Realistically earthen colours are the most prominent, in most locations outside of city areas.
      Would you complain that games set in the Mediterranean have too much blue?

        very true.

        also, comparing it to COD is ridiculous.

        There's a difference between objects being brown and a scene looking like it's had a brown filter chucked over the lens. I think the latter is closer to the point here.
        I notice the lack of mention of the borked physics in the game... well flying tanks etc.
        Fact is, the PC version is a port, which is a major dent to the PC community. Thankfully Arma has always been a PC based game.
        How you seriously play an FPS (and a tactical one at that) with a gamepad is beyond me.

        Doug, last time I checked, trees were green. What we have been given here, as Ollie pointed out, is simply what appears to be a brown filter covering everything. Even what greens there are look very washed out.

        I played some more of the game last night and found that it is trying to be realistic like ArmA, but also somehow tries to squeeze you down a certain path to achieve objectives, like Modern Warfare. This makes the whole experience feel artificial and it certainly isn't the "sandbox" they promised.

        This is made worse because the game is difficult (which is ok), but the bugs and silly scripted events make it frustrating. Are you telling me a story like a movie, or will you let me do my own thing? Take your pick.

        The game just feels unpolished. Enemies spawning in plain sight when you cross over some imaginary line do not make it an immersive experience.

        The whole menu system feels kinda clunky, too. Fancy adjusting your mouse sensitivity under the Advanced section of the Keyboard Setup menu. Surely they could have put a menu together that is a little slicker for the PC? And the "creating a save slot" when you first start? What is that?

        Don't get me started on Checkpoints (that sometimes don't seem to trigger).

        On the AI front your men keep running in front of you, blocking your view when you're in a firefight.

        On the multiplayer front. My mate and I tried a co-op. He hosted the game and HE was lagging. There was a lag between clicking his mouse button and the weapon firing and also a lag just looking around. My game was mostly fine. He was hosting!

        Did I say mostly fine? That's because enemies, when running across your field of view appear to quantum leap 1-4m at a time rather than running, making it impossible to hit them.

        Also, my own team looked like some kind of electrocuted break dancers when "running". Alternating between the running animation and standing perfectly still animation all while moving forward at the same time.

        No, I tried to like this game, but it made me realise just how good ArmA is, despite its own bugs.

        OFDR could have been an awesome game but it is just too riddled with issues, be they outright bugs or simply lack of polish.

        Coupled with Codemasters' PR claims and YouTube videos prior to launch, I just feel ripped off. The simple last-generation graphics are forgivable, but the rest isn't.

        At least Bohemia didn't hide the fact they released an unfinished game (original ArmA) in order to start making money. Yes, you heard that right. It was in their Wiki. Even then it was more finished than this rubbish.

          The game doesn't look washed out, it's just going for a Saving Private Ryan type aesthetic... I think more than it looking "drab" or whatever, is more a problem of it looking generic... and saying that it's simple and "last gen" is just being straight up a pretentious PC twat... yeah it's average, but genuinely, me... and pretty much everyone else define a 'generation' by what happens in console technology, that's the only clear line anyone can go by... a generation is not every time a new graphics card comes out.

          And I dunno, Tom, some of your argument seems very peripheral to what the real concerns with this game are... i.e. the mouse sensitivity thing... the controls didn't even occur to me, and yep, I played it on 360. Also the "it's not a simulator unless you can fly helicopters with a joystick" ...just... what? ...Also, creating a save 'slot' is just another way of creating a profile, or starting a campaign... it's just the wording. And I was playing co-op happily on Xbox live last night without lag... I've also played through the whole campaign now, and I haven't encountered the animation problems you're describing... other than that, yeah, you pretty much described what I said in the review... yep, it's buggy and unfinished, but your posts seem to be off on a tangent that no one else is following. You're not seeing the game for what it is.

    CM needs to come clean with the problems and fix them

    well my review of the game is . the campaign is good
    but way to short i finished it in a few short hrs.
    the servers are absolute crap waiting 10 mins to play a game is like "WTF"
    And also this game was to combat the release off
    C.O.D mw2 hence the C.O.D games release date was pushed back a few weeks in waiting for O.F.P d.r
    If the servers were like C.O.D it would be a far better game than C.O.D but we all know its not

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