In short pretty good but nothing special, the gun
sounds could have been a bit meatier but are ok,
some are crying out for mods which will hopefully
start appearing soon. Vehicles sound good, in particular
approaching tanks which rumble and smash their way
through trees etc. One annoying aspect is the rather
tedious radio voice, you can hear too much of "Oh
no! 2 is down" etc etc.
There is a very odd footstep bug in the game, although
not a huge problem it can be distracting trying
to work out why it sounds like you have a platoon
marching next to your ear when no one is moving.
What most people want to know is how the game looks,
well imagine something between the Delta Force series
and H&D with a very large splash of green paint
and that pretty much sums it up. However despite
the rather blocky appearance, vast repetitive maps
and somewhat flat features the shadows and lighting
add real depth to the game. The game has a mass
of settings and tweaks to suit just about any set-up,
with a reasonably fast system and hardware T&L enabled
it does look very nice indeed.
Most of the vehicles/aircraft are steered using
a combination of mouse and keyboard and despite
the slightly twitchy feel work reasonably well with
a bit of practice. All the in-game actions are managed
by system of menus, some happen automatically such
as mounting a vehicle, while others like switching
weapons and reloading have to be controlled manually.
communications are a little complicated; a single
key brings up a main menu, which leads to a series
of sub-menus. Initially navigating your way round
all the options is a bit of a nightmare, but the
most frequent commands are easily learnt and can
quickly be hammered out on the keyboard. It has
to be said the radio voice which relays commands
is slightly annoying and very monotonous, aside
from that the whole set-up is pretty good.
the ruin of many a good game, thankfully this is
one aspect that OFP handles very well. As part of
a team you are issued commands telling you to shoot
soldier here etc and the rest of your buddies behave
in a suitably intelligent manner. Once in command
however you begin to appreciate the programming,
issue an instruction and the selected man/men will
follow it to the letter. Leave them to their own
devices they follow you in formation and react well
to enemy contacts, very good if you don't feel like
organising your entire squad.
Equally good is the enemy AI, fire off a few rounds
at an enemy patrol and they will duck, crawl, return
fire and sometimes flee at full pelt. One little
gripe would have to be what happens if you are on
your own and don't fire, lay still on the ground
and the entire patrol will walk right over you.
Apart from that it's all pretty good.
Oh dear. Where to start? Well this is really one
aspect of the game that leaves OFP floundering because
the game has been released with just about the worst
possible multiplayer support. Only 5 missions in
total? Only 1 co-op mission, and no Team Death Match?
Setting up a game is slow and not exactly user friendly.
Coupled with the fact that the game is unplayable
when hosting on a 56k modem you really have to wonder
why the game has been released in this state. Codemasters
have stated the US update due in September will
include optimised multiplayer code and dedicated
To quote the official press release…
"Codemasters is also committing
to producing a free online play upgrade that will
optimize the network code and enable European players
to utilize the multiplayer functionality across
dedicated servers as they're introduced in August.
The upgrade software will be available for free
download from Codemasters' web site."
So maybe all is not lost, as it stands broadband
users are finding the game playable online connecting
through TCP/IP or Gamespy arcade. Some 56k users
also say joining a host using ISDN/DSL is also ok,
but numbers are limited to two or three players.
If you are looking to OFP for a multiplayer experience
all we can say is wait until the US release, it's
a shame that this aspect is so poor because the
game has so much going for it.
Editor (reviewed by Mack)
Flashpoint comes with one of the best mission/level
editors I have seen in a game, its also very easy
to get started editing, which is a good job considering
the instructions are very poor, that's if you can
find them (on the root of the CDRom in a readme).
way the editor will allow you to do almost anything
except change the terrain features, instead it gives
you 4 very large island maps to use as your template
to create your missions. The islands are huge and
include forests, towns, villages, mountains, desert,
plains and just about any other terrain type you
could want. To give you an idea of the size of the
islands, it would take hours for you to walk from
one end to the other.
editor comes with an easy to use interface that
has a picture of the map in a central viewing window
and several other windows that contain information
about the units etc. To simplify its use all you
do is point and click onto the map, you tell the
editor what unit you want to place on the map and
then click your mouse and its done. You have total
control over whatever you place, for instance you
can chooses what side the unit will be (East or
West), its rank, what it is (car, tank, man, helicopter,
plane etc) you can even place whole groups in formation.
You then set basic waypoints by clicking around
the map, waypoints can also be edited, for example:
you can tell any unit to seek and destroy at a particular
waypoint, set its formation and even to hold fire,
the options are quite staggering. So within about
1 hour of reading the instructions you can have
whole platoons racing around the maps blowing each
other to pieces.
hardest part of the editor to master are the triggers,
these are placed around the map to trigger certain
events. For example I set a trigger near a US base,
the trigger was "if any eastern block units come
within a certain distance of this trigger sound
the alarm in the base. At the same time move a camera
to the incoming units, pan it around and print text
on the screen saying "Hold the base at all costs".
This all may sound hard to do but it's really easy
with a little practice. The commands get more complex
than this, but nothing too hard, practice makes
perfect. You can also preview your mission at anytime
by simply pressing a button. Excellent stuff.
overall I think anyone will be able to get some
use out of the mission editor, before long you will
be adding cut scenes, briefings and making levels
to rival the ones that came with the game.
the downside it does have its bugs, I was sent crashing
to my desktop many times, very frustrating if you
had a few hours of unsaved editing in progress.
But if you save often (as I should know by now)
you can get by until the patches are available.
as a single player game OFP excels, it's a truly
ambitious attempt to recreate large-scale battles
on land and in the skies. The missions are well
designed with a reasonable amount of variation,
despite a fairly long list of niggling little bugs
it is very playable. What does let it down is the
multiplayer game, which for all but broadband users
is pretty useless. If you are looking for a challenging,
tense and engrossing game then look no further,
it's by far and away the best wargame since H&D.
smoothly at resolutions up to 1024*768 32 bit
with Hardware T&L, occasional slow down when
starting missions. No crashes or major problems
apart from random locking up on exit.
smoothly at resolutions up to 1024*768 32 bit
with Hardware T&L, and all detail on max.
No stability problems except game bugs.
a single player game OFP takes some beating.
It's tense, atmospheric and hugely enjoyable.
There are many small bugs that don't detract
too much from the gameplay but are so obvious
you have to wonder how they got past the testers.
Multiplayer is a huge let down. Hopefully by
the time the US version is released these issues
will have been resolved. As it stands it is
still one of the most ambitious games I've ever
played but in my opinion should not have been
released so early.