Operation Flashpoint – Elite
When Operation Flashpoint was released for PC, almost five years ago, it was like a gaming dream come true for me. It looked like the ultimate wargame had arrived: realistic, immensely huge, controllable vehicles.. truly revolutionary at the time! Meanwhile several years have passed and other topgames like Battlefield 2 have been released. So it’s the question whether a port of the game to Xbox can offer us, spoiled gamers, enough to impress us.
The answer to that is actually very simple: no! Although you get to play the original campaign as well as the expansion “Resistance”, but the transfer to XBox was done so rudimentary that the underlaying gameplay goes completely lost by the bad finishing.
Some more explanation: as American soldier you can start doing your FPS thing on an island that’s created on real-world scale and on which you’ll have to finish several missions. Think of doing patrols, conquer villages, attack convoys, do infiltration missions. No lack of variation and on top of that these are added with warfare on sea with boats, on land with several vehicles and in the air with choppers. Also quite good is the setting: you can take on the Russians during the Cold War and that remains pretty cool as basic idea.
The gameplay as such isn’t too bad. The surroundings are vaste, the war experience very realistic (you’ll die more than you’d like) and you fellow soldiers can do their thing quite decently. On top of that you really get the feeling of being part of something bigger and that there’s a real war going on around you, with all the chaos, explosions and excitement. You’ll have to immerse yourself though. The HUD tells very little and you’ll need to learn your units by heart if you don’t want to start shooting at friendlies all the time, learn how to use your compass and map and have tons of patience to end certain missions successful. The realism stands a bit in the way of the pure gaming fun and I’m sure 90% of you won’t be able to live with that.
Even if you can dig this hardcore way of playing, still a lot of barriers in the form of graphics and sound will spoil it for you. The graphics are below everything. The textures are ugly, the drawing distance very short and the whole quickly becomes a soup so that it’s very hard to know who are enemies and who are friends. Also animations and surroundings look quite bad and are just too weak to be considered acceptable.
Also the sound is of an equally abominable level. Voice-acting, effects… everything sound cheap and on top of it all a whole part is plain ununderstandable, repetitive and outdated. It’s quite clear that you’ll have to be a huge fan of the genre if you want to ignore all that and start digging to the (deep) in the ground reasonable gameplay. Online there’s some fun to be had through Xbox Live (a good offer of possibilities is available) if you can find enough players online that have the same idea as you. And believe me… you won’t find them easily! Apparantly people enjoy playing Halo2 or Ghost Recon, and who am I do disagree with them?
The conclusion is clear: this port is obsolete. Probably there was a good game in Operation Flashpoint as a franchise, but due to the horrible graphics and equally bad sound effects as well as the somewhat aged and very hardcore-minded gameplay it crashes. The large number of missions and the realistic approach of Operation Flashpoint: Elite might interest the most hardcore shooterfans amongst you, but then you’ll have to be satisfied with five year old graphics. A missed opportunity!