Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising's intense action throws you into a first person perspective to fully take in the atmospheric sights and sounds of simulated warfare. With a superb animated introduction explaining a growing conflict that pits the US Marines and Special Forces against the invading People's Liberation Army of China, things get off to an entertaining start.
Set on the fictional island of Skira (based on the real isle of Kiska), the vast and lavishly created environment is brimming with grassy plains, trees, large rocks, shacks, huts, airfields and other detailed structures providing cover for your operations.
Missions can proceed during the grey wisps of early morning, the pitch black of night or anything in-between, lending a varied atmosphere to each level, while incidental details bring you closer to the action as dirt and blood speckle the screen and scenery chips away from nearby gunfire.
The sound effects also help immerse you into the conflict, with the pings and thuds of bullets ringing around you as well as the more frightening explosions of heavy artillery entering the fray. While your squad relays information to you vocally, such as the proximity of hostiles, there are some well devised touches to complement this, including the rapid heartbeat and laboured breathing of your character as he tires from running.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising isn't about going in guns blazing. Tactics are paramount to success and without them you can quickly find yourself on the wrong end of an enemy bullet, among the other realistically recreated ordnance. It pays to know where you're going, how long it will take to get there, and have some idea of what you're going to do should you encounter resistance.
To help, Codemasters has created a wealth of strategic options for you. Your unit, typically consisting of three additional soldiers, can follow a number of orders from you, ranging from moving to a particular area quickly and assaulting a target, to launching suppressive fire and defending your ground.
Without your commands they'll act to the best of their ability on the set primary mission objectives, which include taking out specific targets such as radar arrays, eliminating enemy forces within a sector, or securing specific areas. You and your team can also commandeer vehicles such as tanks, jeeps and choppers, and occasionally bring in heavy artillery and air strikes to help out.
Keeping to the a sense of realism, there are no energy bars to measure your health and single bullet can kill, making gunfights intense and panic-fraught if you're not prepared. Light wounds can be treated, although getting shot in the arm or leg reduces your ability to fire or move respectively, and if you or a teammate is taken down your soldier will bleed out until he's healed or dies, so it pays to stay close.
- Experience a stunningly realistic conflict with unprecedented levels of detail, freedom and authenticity
- Make your own choices, deploy your own tactics and fight on your own terms
- Attack from any direction with the full resources of the US Marine Corps at your disposal
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