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Game Over Online ~ Operation Flashpoint: Resistance

GameOver Game Reviews - Operation Flashpoint: Resistance (c) Codemasters, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Operation Flashpoint: Resistance (c) Codemasters
System Requirements Windows, Pentium III 500MHz, 128MB RAM, 550MB HDD, 8MB 3D Accelerator, 8X CD-ROM, Operation Flashpoint
Overall Rating 78%
Date Published Monday, August 19th, 2002 at 11:32 AM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Operation Flashpoint placed you in the context of a fictitious confrontation between Soviet and American forces circa 1985; arguably, the last few years the Soviet machinery still had legs to stand on. While the war has been looked at from the American and Soviet sides, Codemasters has decided that a full blown expansion pack should focus not on the two behemoths but of the people trapped in between: the indigenous personnel. Faced with encroaching Soviet presence, you are placed in the shoes of Victor Troska, a retired Soviet special forces soldier who has moved far away from Kremlin to lead an idyllic peaceful life. The past, unfortunately, catches up to Troska and he's soon thrust into the heat of the action, having to choose between freedom and near certain death in armed resistance or relative peace in the path of compromise and appeasement. The story of the underdog is always perennially interesting and that's exactly what the developers proceed to focus on for the duration of Resistance.

I don't think I'm giving too much away by saying that Troska is eventually committed to the local freedom fighters and uses his expertise to help his ragtag mob of an army to stall the Soviet advance. While the men he leads this time are nothing but mere civilians, he has the advantage of surprise. The Soviets are big and encumbered. The resistance fighters are small and easily hidden. The Soviets blunder around the islands while the resistance fighters are fighting on friendly turf. Their supplies, when raided, become your supplies and those are the advantages Troska uses. Theoretically speaking, this becomes a lot more fun and challenging than before. You aren't armed with optimal equipment (officers, for example, only carry a pistol) and when you run into battle, you may not even have a full clip of ammunition on hand.

Resistance is wrapped up with a weighty storyline that is more overbearing than before. Because it is a title that relies so much on person-to-person contact, it becomes a requisite part of Resistance. The lengthier expositions turns what used to be a tactical first person shooter into something different, something more cinematic. But the camera direction is suspect. Often, it tends to hang around on specific shots and dwell on scenes far too long. The loquacious script is filled with elements to develop camaraderie and flesh out Troska's motives but it too could use some judicious editing.

That's not to say Resistance does not have its moments. It is working from a solid foundation and manages to introduce new things that attempt to transcend the rather mechanical nature of a tactical first person shooter. You aren't simply given mission briefings and overhead maps but actual human motives to start your missions. Forked story paths in the beginning allow you to choose between siding with the armed rebels in resistance or the Soviets in appeasement. Being able to pillage from the enemy's stock or commandeer their weapons against themselves is a thrill that shouldn't be missed.

While Flashpoint's debut was received with critical acclaim, especially for its rousing visuals, the eye candy has not aged gracefully. Lauded for being able to render an entire landscape without pauses or loading, the fault lies not in Flashpoint's scope but rather in the details. Even with the high resolution textures applied by Resistance, it simply doesn't look as sharp as other first person shooters.

However, it continues to have a solid military feel to it, if not in substance, plot or vehicular machinery, at least in the basic physics and mechanics. Recall that the developers of this game actually went through military service. Radio chatter, ricochet effects and the general cacophony of modern warfare are portrayed quite vividly and I would argue few titles have approached the realism Codemasters has achieved in this department, even after such a lengthy time. Furthermore, there continues to be no other title that offers you the chance to arrive on the battlefield on an APC, wade a few miles whichever way you want on a persistent map, take over enemy armor and control it from various positions and finally, depart from the operation area by riding a helicopter to safety, all in real-time. The scope is something that continues to be unrivaled.

Playing Resistance again reminded me a fair bit of my first experience with Flashpoint but only briefly. The weak artificial intelligence is beginning to show itself, particularly with Resistance's emphasis on conserving supplies and conserving personnel. In some missions, some people are just not allowed to die. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault worked around that by scripting everyone to the tee, like an old black and white WWII television show. Only those characters that are intended to die will die. In Resistance, the action is more dynamic and it becomes incumbent on you, as Troska, as the leader of the resistance, to safeguard your comrades' lives. But they don't return the favor and often wander into withering fire. Realism is sometimes fun but it can also be frustrating.

I admit it is strange for me to reference the Medal of Honor series. Clearly, that type of first person shooter is one that aims for maximum cinematic effect with a heavy dose of scripting. Resistance, on the other hand, appears to be worlds away from it, if not for the emphasis on creating a cinematic story. I recall my first run through Medal of Honor's Omaha Beach map. I barely knew what to do in the chaos and parked myself behind an obstacle for most of the time. The same thing happened with Flashpoint but then you realize that all the tension and suspense is really created by yourself. In Medal of Honor, I was scared crucial companion soldiers would die, only to fire on them by accident and realize it was all a farce. They were, for all intents and purposes until their proscribed date with the grim reaper, invincible. Thus, when you begin to poke at the artificial boundaries (created mostly by your own imagination and the help of convincing audio-visuals), the bubble bursts and you'll find that if you take a more gung-ho initiative, you'll have more success on the battlefield than cowering (as what happens in real life) in a corner. Resistance absolutely demands this because it has none of Medal of Honor's safeguards, so you'll be forced to act independently, unnaturally extending the flank of your squad formation or proactively scouting forward alone to eliminate or snipe chokepoints in order for the 'very crucial plotline VIPs' to survive. That's not a criticism to Resistance though. It's something that needs to be worked out if the storied/scripted first person shooter is going to meet the dynamic tactical first person shooter.

Speaking of first person shooters, few succeed without a competent multiplayer component. In Resistance, the multiplayer component is still comprehensive with vehicles and human playing spots easily substituted by the computer. That's something that I always considered a strength of the Flashpoint engine. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as accessible as other titles of this genre. This isn't to say it's a bad product. Resistance still has a lot to offer, especially for those who gave up Flashpoint after its inaugural release. This copy will patch you up and make sure you're ready to join in on the multiplayer mayhem.

When it was initially released though, Flashpoint was very much the dark horse amongst its peers and it'll need more to keep its success in the face of titles like Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Delta Force and the forthcoming SWAT. Codemasters' response is a meaty story. However, with first person shooters like Medal of Honor, Wolfenstein and Soldier of Fortune all coming out with increasing attention to realism as well as story, Resistance sets itself up against two groups of first person shooters and in the final analysis, comes up short against both.

 

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Rating
78%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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