Operation Flashpoint: Red River is nigh unplayable as a single-player game. This is due to the quadruple radial menu you must master in order to give your squad mates commands. I'm going to try to explain this as simply as possible, but I'll probably lose you in the process. Your whole fireteam is selected by default. If you want the three members of your team to do anything, you have to use the radial menu. To access this you hold the right bumper. Now you can choose maneuver, follow, tactics, or suppression with the d-pad. Each one of those commands has three of its own sub-commands. Therefore, if I hold the right bumper, press up on the d-pad, then press up once more, I'll command the team to move to the position I'm aiming at. If I hold the right bumper, then press the d-pad down, then left, I'll command the team to flank left.
Here's the catch. If I want team members to do different things individually, let's say have my Scout sniper flank left and take up an elevated position on a nearby hill, command my Auto Rifleman to lay down suppressing fire, and have my Grenadier flank right and rush in for a little CQB, I have to select each one individually with the d-pad before pressing the right bumper to begin issuing commands. Did I mention this is a first person shooter and I'm most likely being shot at in real time when this is happening? I should also mention that just because you issue a command, it doesn't mean your fireteam will act on it. Your team will stay in the confines of the mission area, eliminating a lot of battle options.
And what, pray tell, is shooting at me? Little black dots on the horizon, that's what. Enemies will engage you from 300 meters away. That doesn't leave much of a silhouette. Since the game is going for realism, one shot can drop you. You can ask you teammates to patch you up, and they'll do a good job, unless you're out in the open. If you are, you may as well bleed out and respawn, or else you'll have a bunch of shot-up teammates surrounding you.
Of course, all of the AI problems can be remedied with a few able-fingered friends. I played OF:RR with random people online and I had several enjoyable experiences. The game gets exponentially better when the radial command system is removed from the battlefield. The progression system is decent, offering new and improved weapons, gear, and B-Mods as you advance your level.
In addition to the main Campaign there are several stand-alone scenarios called Fireteam Engagements. Like the campaign, these engagements support four player co-op. They include sweep and clear missions, escort duty, and a survival mode. There's plenty of content here for people who are looking for it.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River looks great, sounds good, and with the exception of the AI and radial menu, plays well. If you have three online friends who like tactical military shooters, there may be something here. As a co-op game, it succeeds due to the fact that every element of the game is geared toward co-op players. The sometimes juvenile, even embarrassing, tone of the game really detracts from any connection you have with the dire combat situation. OF:RR does lack a visceral feel of battle due to the distance of the firefights. Covering a black spec with a red dot and pulling the trigger isn't very satisfying, and at times there are lengthy pauses in battle. Codemasters shot for realism, and they may have hit it. In the end, war isn't supposed to be fun.
The Co-Op Experience: The core game is built around its four player co-op campaign, but Red River will also feature separate co-op modes with various objectives.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.