It shouldn't come as a surprise that my attention snaps to the weapons fairly early on while playing, both with scrutiny and fascination for new surprises. The ballistics in Dragon Rising definitely affect your ability to wipe out enemies from afar, but not so much as you'd think after reading several preview articles. For the most part, the guns that you use can accurately hit any human-sized target that you can see with the naked eye, both in real life and in the game. Rates of fire on the automatic and semi-automatic rifles seem to be slower than real-life counterparts...this is likely to make recoil manageable, and to help conserve ammo. Also, the pistol fires slowly, emulating how a Marine would take their time between shots to make each one count. It helps to make an otherwise brutal experience more comfortable...but in a game that boasts realistic bullet trajectories and injury trauma, in my opinion the gun fire rates should not be tweaked to assist the player. This is especially true for multiplayer versus modes, which are supposed to be easy to learn but difficult to master.
Along with the many interesting intricacies of Dragon Rising come several distinct disappointments. Because you play the role of a U.S. Marine, your weapons are limited to specific loadouts for each class that you play. During the campaign, you are stuck with one character and his specific weapon and equipment set. By joining a co-op game, you have the option to choose a different soldier in the group, but you're still limited to one or two different loadouts. The frustration compounds when you try to play a multiplayer game, which gives you more options, but no customization whatsoever. The primary weapons change depending on which faction you play as -- and they are very balanced, so no worries there -- but basically mirror each other. To top it all off, there is no way to tell what kind of loadout each class provides without playing as that class and memorizing it.
Dragon Rising is not without its glitches, either. I've played matches where the gun pops in after a few seconds, and some where it never does (you literally have an outstretched arm with nothing propped in it). I've spawned on top of a building that is otherwise impossible to get to...boy, was that lobby conversation interesting afterward. The friendly AI has held up a mission's ending for fifteen minutes because it ignored an order to move up while it waited for a medic who was following the move order. And the most prevalent is the bandage glitch, which may or may not be a technical issue, but it sure is annoying: when swapping to your bandages, pressing the trigger too soon will interrupt the sequence of patching yourself up, which wastes valuable time while you literally bleed out.
Speaking of wounds...this game really makes sure you understand that getting shot is not a good thing. Injuries are location-specific to a shallow degree: headshots are usually fatal, body and arm hits will bleed until bandaged, and leg shots will render you unable to sprint, even after the bleeding is stopped. Every class has a unlimited bandages available -- you just have to find cover and apply them. Once the bleeding stops, you can call for a medic, who will stab you with a syringe and magically bring your health back to 100%. If you suffer a fatal wound to your torso, you will be incapacitated, which gives you some time for a medic to revive you; unfortunately more often than not the medic is farther away than time allows, and you bleed to death. On the flip side, enemies can take quite a few hits to kill, and can be incapacitated just like you. Making sure you get a solid kill shot -- or at least finish off a downed enemy -- is important; it's best to hold your fire until you can ensure good contact, or search the area after a firefight to make sure no one is breathing. It's a ruthless way to play, but once you have to re-start from a checkpoint and hoof it back up the hill, you'll see what I mean.