While most shooter fans liked what the Rainbow Six series did when it went to Vegas, some fans of tactical military shooters wished that series had stuck to its realistic roots. Well now Codemasters is bringing the Operation Flashpoint series to consoles with Dragon Rising, and while it won’t be a hardcore sim by any stretch of the imagination, a playtest of the game at E3 today revealed that it isn’t sending realism on a vacation, either.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising E3 2009 Trailer
The game is set in May of 2011 on the island of Skira, which is off the coast of Russia and China. In fact, it had been a Russian territory until they struck oil, which prompted the Chinese to invade. So the Russian’s have asked the U.S. for some tactical support.
Which officially makes this the most outlandish game at E3 2009.
Geopolitical ridiculousness aside, Dragon is a strategic, tactical first-person shooter that has you commanding a five-man squad of highly trained soldiers. Except that while the game makes it relatively easy to tell your squadmates what to do, that doesn’t mean they’ll do it. The guys in your squad are actually pretty smart, or at least smart enough not to do something that isn’t tactically sound. Tell them to do something that will get them killed, and they tell you where to stick your orders.
But give them smart orders, and they will save your ass. Which is good, since the Russian soldiers ain’t pushovers, as I learned when I approached a squad of them and tried to take them all out Rambo-style. While this would’ve worked in most military shooters, in Dragon it failed miserably, as my widow will tell you when she stops crying.
Another interesting aspect of Dragon is that the island of Skira is rather large, and totally open. In fact, if you tried to walk from one end of the island to the other, it would take eight hours. And not eight hours in the game, eight hours in real life. Thankfully, there are helicopters that can make the trip a lot quicker.
The game will also feature a five-person online co-op mode, though the Codemasters rep who showed us the game didn’t indicate if this would have some mechanic to put one player in charge, or whether you’d all have to work together of your own volition. I guess we’ll have to wait until the game is released this Fall to find out.
Oh, one more thing. The game is being released for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. But it will also be coming to the PC, and that version will actually come with a mission editor. So console kids can suck it!