A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Operation Flashpoint: Red River is a violent modern-day military shooter that takes place in a country that sounds like and looks like Afghanistan. Some may feel a violent game like this sensationalizes or trivializes what U.S. troops and others are doing in places like Afghanistan. Players use various weapons to blow away enemy soldiers, resulting in copious amounts of blood. When using a rocket launcher pieces of flesh sometimes fly off bodies. There is also a lot of foul language in the game. Parents should be aware that this game supports online play with open voice communication, a feature that Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.
What's it about?
The latest entry in Codemasters' multi-million unit-selling tactical shooter series focuses on four U.S. Marines in Fireteam Bravo unit -– a Scout, Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, and Grenadier -- who band together to fight enemy forces in the fictitious country of Tajikistan (a virtual version of Afghanistan in all but name). OPERATION FLASHPOINT: RED RIVER puts an emphasis on realism -- not just fun -- so it's not unusual to engage in lengthy, tense shoot-outs where after one or two hits you're down on the ground waiting for a medkit. That said, it is a little more accessible than previous Operation Flashpoint games. While you can give orders and play alongside (fairly convincing) A.I. soldiers, Red River was designed to be a co-op shooter with up to three others online.
Is it any good?
This is a good military combat game for gamers who might be looking for something more than a typical, straightforward shooter that can be won by simply running and gunning. Only by working together as a team, accurate shooting, and cautious navigation of the virtual streets (during day and night missions) will you be able to complete the various objectives and stay alive long enough for the next one. It should be noted the game doesn't look as good as other military action games (at least not on the Xbox 360 version used for the purpose of this review), nor does it have the level of polish and pacing of a Call of Duty game, but for the most part fans of this genre should be impressed with what the developers were going after.
Players will encounter frequent (and boring) jeep and chopper rides with their mates while being briefed (or berated) by their commanding officer, as well as other slow areas in between missions. Overall, though, Red River is an intense, exhilarating and challenging modern-day military shooter that, while it might not get the attention of a Call of Duty game, is a title fans of the genre should consider. Note: the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions of the game are the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why modern-day military shooters are all the rage these days. Is it because we are in the middle of a war in countries like Afghanistan, so it's top of mind? Is it simply a matter of pure fantasy -- a vicarious thrill? Or does it say something else about us?
Families can also discuss how to stay safe while playing online games. What sort of things should you never discuss with strangers while playing games over the Internet? What do you do if you suspect you might be chatting with an online predator?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.