The ramblings of a stark raving lunatic follow...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

On Time Travel

So IGN recently stuck up a review of Operation Flashpoint: Elite, the long-awaited port of the military simulator developed by Bohemia Interactive for the PC and released back in 2001. Unsurprisingly, it reads like a stinking pile of turd.
Operation Flashpoint was an awesome game for the PC... in 2001. Nearly six years later, Codemasters brings what was onc

Whoa, back up a bit there. Did he say six years? Fuck me, if writing for IGN gets me a time machine, I'm in. Unless it also means I give up the ability to count:
The player models' faces are made up of about four triangles

If that's the case, I truly have to tip my hat to BIS. As a 3D artist myself, I bow to their artists. I mean, them's some damn fine lookin' four tris:

Really, though. What the hell is the editing team's job if they aren't out vetting through reviews before they go up? I mean, simple glaring factual errors like, y'know, timelines?

Gamespy also put up its review of the game, and, well, no surprise once again. For whatever reason, the reviewer constantly hammers home the point that the game won't appeal to casual gamers (and lists it as a con, to boot). Uh, no shit, Sherlock. It's a combat simulator. Never purported to be any different.

Both the Gamespy and IGN review also repeatedly mention the piss-poor graphics. I dunno, maybe my expectations are really low, but I reckon the game looks great. Especially when you take into account the huge landscape, long draw distances (I believe it averages around 1km on the XBox), and sheer scale of the typical encounters. I mean, hell, a couple of the single missions involve company-plus-level combined arms assaults. Now I dunno about you, but to me, that's a whole hell of a lot of manpower and hardware running around. Outside of the heavily-scripted (and therefore by definition much less dynamic) CoD:UO, I don't believe I've ever seen anything on that level in a video game. Certainly not on the hardware-strapped XBox. The four islands included in the game collectively cover about 100 square kilometers, if memory serves. Shit, you could probably fit all the maps that ship with Battlefield 2 into Nogova alone and still have enough room left over for a large scale tank battle.

But really, it's the overall experience that has truly sold the game for me. No XBox here, but I'll attest to the topnotchedness (I don't have an editor to answer to ^_^) of the original game released over four years ago. Crazy experiences in-game that I can still recall to this day, like the one ridiculously tense mission where, completely alone, you have to navigate your way across over what must have been 20km of Russian-occupied Everon. Or another where, once again completely alone, you have to navigate another insane distance, but this time sans compass. I later learned that for those whose astral navigation skills were up to snuff, it was actually possible to navigate by the stars. The level of detail in the game still amazes me to this day (Elite apparently has rainbows after a storm... I think that's just nifty).

Then once the Resistance expansion was released, I found out first hand how much of a gameplay-difference (as opposed to simply cosmetic) the higher terrain resolution afforded, with its subtle dips and rises, when my squad ran headlong into a Russian patrol in the middle of what I had sworn a minute before was a completely clear stretch of plains. So yeah, it's the miriad memorable experiences that really make the game. In response to a recent post on the official forums asking why Flashpoint couldn't be like Call of Duty, Scars09 gave this beautiful little ditty, summing up what truly makes the game unique:
...and then there is ofp. did you ever missed the combatzone in coop cause you take the wrong road? i did, had a great sunset at the beach of malden while my teammates where fighting at the other end of the island. no action, but it happend over four years ago, and i still remember the sunset.

By all accounts, the game is really about as anti-war as a combat simulation can get. Hell, half the time I load up the game, I fire up the mission editor and go sightseeing:

Note the 5km draw distance.

So yeah. There's my vote for the game. Now go get it. ^_^


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