749th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Bohemia Interactive Studio
Publisher: Codemasters

According to the book, this is the first soldier FPS – focused on the reality of participating in war rather than the shooter fantasies of, say, Quake (to use a not quite contemporary). More realistic loadouts, weapons and so on. It’s a formula since followed by many others, Call of Duty foremost amongst them.

They’ve usually not appealed to me quite as much as the all guns blazing variety, as they can be story light (and with a story I don’t care about) and don’t end up being much fun. I don’t feel the need to experience (and revel in) war that closely. It’s still a popular genre, though, and so there are plenty of entries for them left on the list – so we still have to progress through it.

Our Thoughts

So I suppose that this is a pretty accurate military shooter – it’s very team based, with tactic elements being available even if the first levels have you working under the commands of someone else. Their AI feels awkward, pointing you in the wrong direction with its orders, but the game at least tries to emulate the commands and I assume does a lot to give you that control in later levels as you lead a squad through. The interface for it works as well as it can, but it’s a bit fiddly for me. Luckily, ignoring it didn’t seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things.

The cut scenes don’t do the speed of the game any favours. They are in engine, but they drag and could have been scripted and set up more tightly. It’s all a bit flaky and unnecessary, as the story isn’t that great to be honest. I wasn’t interested from the ongoing paranoia.

Then getting into the first level is difficult as well. There’s a long driving cutscene after which you’re walking in an empty field for a while. There are comments about distant enemies, but they don’t appear and I’m fairly sure they are buggy. Then as you come to the village (either ahead of the rest because they move so slowly or out of position because I was getting that bored) and see some specks in the distance. And then you are dead because you are (quite realistically) killed that quickly and the opponents have great accuracy. To be fair, I got a bit closer once or twice, but half the squad died and I couldn’t do much more, but I have no idea what went wrong and what I could have done better. There’s nothing to go on and it wasn’t much fun. So after about five goes, I had to decide that first level was the final one. It’s a shame.

Final Thoughts

While the first Operation Flashpoint game is quite admirable in how it is the first to create this atmosphere and type of game. It doesn’t quite give enough information to really help beginning players, though, and it has all the edges of a seventeen year old game, that make it harder to get into the game or want to stay in it as well.

Interestingly, this finishes three quite different shoot em ups in a row. This FPS-adjacent game is one style, while we had a run and gun shooting game a few days ago and played a 3D space shooters last week. It’s quite interesting to see how different these games are, even without the obvious Space Invaders clone as well. I’m always happy to see the variety that can be in a genre and seeing these near each other makes it even more interesting. Still, it’s a strategy game next time – certainly something different.