by John "Stag" Wierzbicki
Article Type: Review
Article Date: July 29, 2002
Product Name: Operation Flashpoint: Resistance
Category: Squad-Based FPS
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Release Date: Released
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|The streetlight shone too brightly into the bus shelter where Stag lurked. Public was probably best for the rendezvous, yet Stag’s back itched at the feel of imaginary crosshairs between his shoulder. Footsteps approached right on time, but Stag checked that his Glock had a round chambered anyway. A shadowy figure came into view.|
“Christmas dinner is rather bland,” said the stranger with a strong Canadian accent.
“Not when the brussel sprouts are served with horsechestnuts,” replied Stag. Both relaxed visibly. The newcomer gestured, and both began walking down the street.
“Is all this really necessary?” complained Doug grumpily. “All we want is for you to write a quick review of Operation Flashpoint: Resistance.”
“No problem, I'll get straight to it.” agreed Stag, who took a deep breath of the night air. “Man, this island is big!”
|The retail box for Operation Flashpoint: Resistance |
Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (OFPCWC) hit the shelves June 22, 2001 and revolutionised the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. Up until then, FPSs had, in the main, involved running around dungeons/space stations/canyons on foot, despatching whatever came your way and collecting powerups as you went.
OFPCWC was different: it placed you in a massive outdoor environment, allowed you to drive jeeps, trucks, APCs, and tanks. You could take the helm of a boat, or pilot helicopters or strikefighters. Though not perfect, it brought the holy grail of a virtual battlefield a good deal closer than any previous title.
I liked it, and still do. Red Hammer (RH) was the first official expansion that enabled the player to take the part of a Communist soldier in the invasion of the Malden islands. However, it didn’t really add much to the game except a new campaign, the reason being Bohemia Interactive Studios (BIS) were handing out free weapons and equipment upgrades prior to this, so perhaps RH’s impact was somewhat diluted.
Just over a year later, BIS has released another expansion—Resistance. So the question is, does this expansion actually add anything more to Operation Flashpoint, besides a new campaign?
The answer is a resounding YES!!! Resistance comes with a new .EXE file, new multiplayer which has been rebuilt from the ground up, new commands, and new models. Lots of new models. A new campaign taking place a couple of years before the events in OFPCWC and RH, where the player takes the part of Viktor Troska, ex-Special Forces professional, and reluctant leader of the fledgling Resistance.
Oh yes, and a new island, which is big.
So, what’s it like?
Well, I’ll tell you. You pull the CD out of the box and put it in the drive. A small menu screen pops up, and after selecting the installation option, you are requested for the CD key which is found in the back of the small and mostly unnecessary “Field Manual.” Installation is smooth. Patching headaches are a thing of the past. Resistance comes with all previous add-ons built in, and it installs over any previous version of Flashpoint.
On the first run, the setup options screen pops up. If you examine them, you will find the options are identical to the suggested settings given by OFPCWC’s option screen. I thought that the settings it churned out for my rig were optimistic (1024x768x32), so I dropped the colour down to 16-bit textures, and cranked her up for a look around, selecting the mission editor, and the new island of Nogova. Drop a trooper on the ground, and open up for a stroll.
|Nice drive up there. Not on the near-vertical bit though... |
The default area the editor opens to is the small village of Davle. There are far more deciduous trees here, and the models are superior to the ones previously seen. But forget that, look at the View! This place should be crawling with tourists. Cliffs, hills that would make a fellwalker reach for his boots before he realised it’s a virtual world. To the northwest, A church sits at the top of an almost vertical cliff. There should be tourists with cameras jumping all over it. To your right, the first major difference between the older titles and Resistance. A bridge. Something which OFP lacked, and was omitted probably due to a bug that sent objects bouncing unnaturally when they came in contact. Well, BIS has fixed it. It’s a beautiful bridge, and it blows up real well too.
|The bridge. If you look close you can just see my favourite restaurant... |
What I’m saying is, a lot of thought went into the design of Nogova. And it shows. Just exploring the terrain is a mission in itself. The place is riddled with gems, from the older, rural east side of the island to the more industrialised west. There’s a restaurant just over the bridge to pull over for an evening meal. It’s perfect. All you need is the company of a beautiful woman. And by the Great Lord Harry, BIS has managed that too, well, within the limitations of OFPs graphics. The ladies actually do look feminine, unlike the much maligned Angelina of the earlier titles. True, she did have the face of an angel, unfortunately it was put on the body of a Black Watch Highlander. The new models are far better.
|Not just one, but FIVE |
Yep, the island is big, its beautiful, and it’s a battle zone. Enough of this tree hugging. Let’s strap on some heavy metal, and get some!
|Just one of the new units in Resistance |
Gameplay is like, well, Operation Flashpoint. But there are a couple of improvements. First of all, secondary weapons. Pistols. Glocks, Berettas, Tokarevs, and a Czech Skorpion machine pistol. They do seem to be a bit quicker to swing into line, but of course range suffers. More new weapons and vehicles. Next, and a bit more subtle, is the option to drop weapons and ammo to arms caches or vehicles. This is important because in the campaign the third change swings into action: casualties and resources are automatically carried over to the next mission. That’s right, matey. Choose your shots carefully, or the only way you will kill anyone with that gun is to smack them over the head. And that hasn’t been properly implemented. Yet.
|Excuse me, is this your first time on Nogovo? |
The campaign itself puts you in the thick of it straight away. There’s no learning curve here. It assumes that you’ve already played OFP, which is fair enough, Resistance is an add-on after all. The intro does give you some experience of new items in the game: the bus, or Viktor’s preferred mode of transport, a motorcycle. All very peaceful. But that is not why we buy a tactical shooter, is it? When the bad guys do show up, I found Our Hero’s first encounter with them genuinely disturbing—There’s no compromise, and the episode’s scriptwriter rams that home in no uncertain terms.
One thing that is most fun about OFP is the multiplayer aspect. Co-operative, teams, or free-for-all (FFA), but in a system that many people found wanting. BIS seems to agree, because they’ve totally rebuilt the multiplay section from the ground up. Now I’m not the most technically minded (I’d rather eat the cornflakes than grow the corn) but you now have a choice of using directplay or sockets. Also a browser is now built into the program, getting you in touch with online games quicker than you can say “Wow, this island is big.”
There is a downside to all the improvements that come with Resistance, and of course it’s the framerate. Now you can work around this by juggling the settings, and they do say that you don’t miss what you never have. But on a lower-end PC, you can get no more than tantalising glimpses of the improvements stuttering jerkily past. On my humble machine, I cranked everything up to the max just to see what it would look like. It looked like a screen which locked up. We are not talking about frames per second here, we are talking seconds per frame.
Time to upgrade, methinks.
Another gripe, though not really the fault of BIS is that many third-party add-ons are not compatable with OFPR. If your add-ons folder is chokka with old favourites, then you may have problems. The most blatant fault is that on many third-party weapons the muzzle flash is permanently visible. It can be rectified, but many of the original modders are no longer working on OFP, and casual users would probably not bother, which is a shame.
But on the whole, I like Resistance, and would recommend it to anybody. The open-endedness of the Flashpoint concept means that there is years of gameplay to be found. BIS has proved themselves to be one of the most supportive of developers, so I have no doubt that any issues which appear in the new title will be addressed promptly. The extra goodies bundled with Resistance have not been seen before in Flashpoint, and indeed will not work with earlier versions of the game—they enhance the breadth of the title. The campaign grabs your attention and supplies the depth. The powerful mission editor will add longevity, especially when used in conjunction not only with BIS’s own creations, but with the increasing number of high-quality user add-ons. Go out and buy it.
Oh yes, and the new island is big.
Operation Flashpoint: Resistance
- CPU: Duron 800
- RAM: 320 MB
- Video: TNT2 MX200 64 MB
- Audio: Soundblaster AudioPCI128
- Media: 32X CD-ROM
- Modem: 512K Cable.
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