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Just posted is a rough translation of a big preview from German print mag GameStar. This is apparently a hands on test on the PC.
Some major points:
- Development status of the game (estimation by Gamestar): 60 %
- OFP:DR will have 15 missions.
- There will be a timer, after a hit, which shows the TTL (Time to live)
### Update ###
We have acquired a copy of the magazine, thanks to a Hero in Germany.
GameStar – April 2009 GameStar – April 2009Sir. Polaris
### Update ###
Thanks to community member Nomisum we have received a translation to the German preview released yesterday.
## PREVIEW START ###
Normally we estimate the potential of a game which we could try out for ourselves. We could do this for Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising too, because we finally played the tactical shooter. But we rather leave the estimation for the moment.
The developer Codemasters invited us with other delegates of european press to the english Southam to their main company headquarter. There we should interfere for ourselves in the extensive battle between US Army and the PLA on the fictional island Skira. But our playtime was reduced on one mission. There were no vehicles in there [nomisum: contrary to their later mentioning of apc], only infantry, so we didnt see much from the actual program. To make some prognosis out of that isnt possible with pure conscience.
Operation Construction Site
The current state of Operation Flashpoint 2 is called „feature complete“, which means all elements that were planned for the title are built in the software now: Interface, graphics, AI, vehicles, mission design. But this didnt mean these elements work together 100% at all. The really hard work is yet coming to Codemasters which is making a functioning, bug-free game with good balance out of the many, many components.
The biggest construction sites are in our assessment the AI and the visualisation of the landscape. Former shall be as realistic as possible. This means above all the enemy makes mistakes sometimes. A difficult undertaking as the developers emphasize constantly.
In terms of landscape the developer still has to fight with the so-called „streaming“, the fluent build-up of the surrounding graphics as the player moves. Currently there are ugly popping up effects and the figures seem to stand on plain textures on long distances as ground vegetation isnt correctly rendered yet.
Before we did our virtual step on the island of Skira, mission designer Mike Smith showed us how the game functions and how its controlled.
Mission: The enemy had spread out on a strategically important rise and shall be removed from there. The game dispatches Mike with three infantrymen and two AAV-7A1 (amphibious vehicles).
Pleasant surprise: The interface looks striking tidy. There are merely displays, a compass in the upper middle only, the currently equipped weapon in the lower right (you can carry four: Knife, Pistol and two bigger, e.g. an assault gun and an AT weapon) and in the upper left the four symbols for the soldiers which is the group the player forms with the AI comrades.
You can give orders in two different ways: On the tactical map in which you see the surroundings with prominent spots. Or you take the circle menu, which reminds of Rainbow Six: Vegas. The menu is context sensitive, it reacts to the things you see and just gives you the options that make sense for the moment. If you have a group of trees in sight and open the menu you can advise your companions to lay down suppression fire on them or send them there – slow and cautious or in quick movement. If you look up in the sky, your able to return your men to formation.
Over the big distance one cannot recognize much, the hill seems peaceful. Nevertheless the men shall not approach over open field but using the rare coverages. Smith sends his three companions to a small wood. The men hardly moved, the quiteness is over already. Bullets sizzle and dully hit the ground or howl into the botanic as ricochets distracted by rocks. The amphibious vehicles react independently, move in position and fire their grenades under deafening fuss at the hill. The earth is shaking, dirty smoke from the launching devices fills the air. Amazing how the situation can change within seconds, how a battleground emerges out of a peaceful scenery. A moment after its already over: A shot hits Mikes character, a display pops in in the lower left of the screen and shows us the hit zone. It’s the head. The bullet is deadly, mission failed.
Hitzones are all over the body. A bullet in the leg lets you move more slowly, a graze shot in the head interferes your vision. And the one who is not medicated bleeds out. A circle timer shows you, how much time you have left till no lifeblood streams in you anymore and you have to restart the mission.
After that Mike chooses another mission and another soldiers. Operation Flashpoint 2 holds two campaigns for you. In one you play a marine, in the other a trained creeper from the Special Forces (Spec Ops), both with three supporting companions. The current mission: Infiltrate an enemy base and disable war equipment on a large scale. The mission fails even faster. The men are wiped out by a small group of enemies who where not to be seen on first sight and hurried to support their allied comrades on a hill. Mike gives up shrugging his shoulders.
Death through haste
Now its finally our turn. In the morning dawn we shall wipe out three small enemy positions that climb up a wooded hill like a pearl necklace. The first camp is just a few hundred meters before us, between the trees there is slightly fiery glow to be seen.We command our companions to take cover between near rocks and to lay down suppression fire on the enemy position while we rob our way directly through the grass. Initially this works very well. Two enemies whose attention is completely drawn by our AI-mates become fast our victim. But then the situation tilts suddenly. Our men are heavily hit from somewhere. Commands that we give are not followed anymore. We just become a “Cannot comply this!” as a response; partly because the injuries are too heavy, partly because the morale of the men is too low meanwhile. Panic spreads and we hide behind a bush to wait for the situation to calm down. Bad idea, as we find out shortly after that. Very near from us we here someone shout something in Chinese followed by two dull impacts. Somethings dropped not far away from us. Then the two hand grenades go off almost at the same time.
Death through bugs
We try again with another more cautious tactic and fail again – on AI-dropouts on our side and on a sound-bug: One of our mates gets stuck on a rock and suddenly the sounds are missing, only footsteps are to be heard exaggerated loudly. The game had to be restarted and we have to give up the place for other journalists. Codemasters did prepary only one PC on which the title is running reasonable stable. We just watch [the other journalists] and experience the same mission in minimal variations again and again, depending on the approach of the player. This is fascinanting, but we are anxious about the repeating bugs: Sometimes enemies doesnt react to shelling or run into open fire instead of searching cover. We see repeatedly that single enemy soldiers approach a single wounded comrade to heal him [instead of helping him alltogether]. They get killed really easy over the distance. In the end four enemies lay dead on the ground. If the developers think these are „human mistakes“ we readily correct him here: No man is such stupid, these are AI-bugs! Straightly there must still be worked heavily on the AI.
Facts, facts, facts
In addition to the gaming session the developers release some interesting facts: Operation Flashpoint will contain 15 missions shared on both campaigns. Different difficulty modes should make the game attractive for both pros and not so experienced players. There are little optical hints in the easiest mode which show whether your bullet hit and in which degree. White means wounded, red means deadly. Additionally the game saves the progression in decent intervals. In pro-mode all supporting elements are dropped and you have to save for yourself, though you have limited savepoints. Quick save and load through the F-keys is dropped.
The emphasis concerning multiplayer lays on co-op mode which is made for a maximum of four men. However you can play team-deathmatch and object based pvp (attack & defence) and an area-capture-variant from the beginning. Whom this is not enough can make his own mission with the editor. Though we couldnt see the tool yet it should orientate on the one the devs use for themselves. The developers should use their time too, in fact use wisely. If they want to stick to their plan releasing the game in summer (until 21st of july officially) we feel gloomy for activities like eating and sleeping.
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