E3 2009: Operation Flashpoint 2

by: Chuck -
The original Operation Flashpoint was a bit overlooked.  The game had an astonishing level of detail and realism but it was that realism that got the game in a bit of trouble as it extended to the health of the player.  A friend of mine told me about how he spent nearly 15 minutes crawling from one part of the map to the other to find the perfect sniper vantage only to be shot dead with one shot because he missed one piece of cover.  Realistic?  Yes.  Fun to play, not so much.

The folks behind Operation Flashpoint 2 have realized this and while they are going to maintain the level of realism in the game (especially when it comes to guns, explosions, and military tactics) they are going to add in more difficulty sliders to make the game more approachable.  This is shown in their new health and damage system.  Their catastrophic damage system will determine how bad the wound is by looking at where the wound is and what hit you.  9MM shot to the arm, just patch it and move on.  If you take a .50 cal bullet to the arm it's gone and you're pretty much dead.  Treating wounds quickly is important as the game gives you eight pints of blood to start with and if you lose that you die (barring a major wound).  On the easier levels you can get transfusions of more blood but at the higher difficulty levels your out of luck.

Realism is everywhere you look in the game.  From the over 60 US and PLA weapons to the enormous scope of the game.  The only thing that doesn't have a real world counter part is the 220 square KM island of Skila where the game takes place and that's only because they've taken an existing island near Alaska and for the purposes of the plot of the game, moved it over near Russia.  They estimate that it would take a person eight to ten hours to walk from one point of the island to the other (it takes nearly 12 minutes by helicopter) and that's a nice sandbox to play in. 

The game retains it's tactical roots as you can command a squad of AI (or three friends via online co-op) using a tactical menu system.  The AI is a fairly smart bunch and they know how to approach a target.  The devs commanded the squad to take a structure at the top of the hill and you could watch the AI move and cover their way through the forest to attack the building.  The realism also goes to the kind of ordinance you can call in.  You don't just call in an artillery strike but you can specify the ordinance (smoke, high explosive, etc) as well as the type of barrage. 

The graphics for the game look good but aren't quite there yet which is hopefully something they'll rectify by the time the game ships this Fall for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.  Other than that I think this is a game that tactical shooting fans are going to dig but we'll see how the game rounds out.
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