The original Operation Flashpoint didn’t mess around. Instead of dumbing down certain aspects of actual combat to make things easier for gamers to jump into, Flashpoint firmly planted its boot in the player’s temple and told them to “try again.” The upcoming sequel maintains many of these hardcore tendencies while also dropping gamers into an enormous open-world island so large that it would take almost five hours to walk across, if you were so inclined. With non-linear gameplay and multiple ways to tackle each situation, Flashpoint 2 looks like the thinking man’s alternative to the fast-paced first-person shooter.
The demo level that I got to see took place right outside of an enemy base. The developer told me that you won’t last long if you are standing out in the open, and your AI squadmates would also take damage and require healing if they weren’t commanded intelligently. He ordered his squad to approach the base from the hills on the right, giving himself ample opportunity to flank the opposition. As soon as he gave the order to fire, his teammates began to rain bullets into the enemy encampment as the developer ran forward for a closer fight. After taking down every last soldier, the developer grabbed a nearby vehicle and drove it to the next objective.
Since the world of Operation Flashpoint 2 is completely open, the player can decide how and in which order they decide to handle the targets. Each would produce different results, and the abundance of nearby vehicles can dramatically change the way that the events unfold. Once reaching his next destination, the developer hopped out and called for an air strike right in the middle of a military-controlled town. Seconds later, a massive explosion erupted from the location, sending soldiers bodies flailing through the air and kicking up debris all over the place. The demo ended with the developer telling us that we would be able to grab helicopters to travel quicker to all of the auxiliary objectives. As the island is massive, traveling by land would be fairly time consuming.
While not the typical first-person shooter, Operation Flashpoint 2 should provide enough thrills and tactics to appeal to dedicated military buffs. The action looked like a lot of fun, and the tactical nature of the gameplay forced you to think about each and every encounter before rushing into battle. Every bullet counts in this game. For those looking to jump online, the game will also include full multiplayer suite with plenty of modes and options.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising is scheduled to launch this fall on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, with a demo on the way for each platform.