The series, Operation Flashpoint has been around since the mid-1990s but it was only back in 2009 that Operation Flashpoint became prominent. Red River's (like its predecessor, Dragon Rising) enemy is once again at China in which the US Marines enter a country called Tajikistan to flush out insurgents so that they can stop attacks within Afghanistan. However China has misgivings about the US entering into another country so it demands the US to leave. When the US refused to do so, China enters the battle which brings to an interesting situation. Well that's what the game is about in a nutshell.
However, I never really cared about the plot. All I got from the game is trying to get from point A and point B and hopefully survive without getting shot. This is not any ordinary FPS game, first of all, the game is squad-based - as a result, you have to command a squad to eliminate enemies whilst trying to stay away from enemy fire. Now this might be like a Ghost Recon style of play, but it's a bit easier than Ghost Recon. Whereas getting shot in Ghost Recon is quite catastrophic, getting shot during Red River is not as life threatening. However this does not mean the game is as easy as Call of Duty or Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Leading a gun-ho all guns blazing style of play will certainly get you and your squad mates killed instantaneously. Heroism is not viewed highly in this game but using tactics is highly regarded.
Basically the game uses a squad-based interface in which you can issue a number of orders using the left-stick to navigate. But sometimes if you're not familiar with it quickly then you'll probably end up getting stuck with issuing orders or simply issuing wrong orders which would mean getting your squad killed. Where you're not fighting, you end up sitting on the back of a truck with Staff Sergeant Knox who shouts out expletives and comparisons which you might find amusing at first, but after a while, you will find it annoying - even the most staunch supporter of swears will get tired of his ramblings. It might try to simulate a real-life situation of war where action on the front line is sometimes hard to find, but the long distances of travel might bore people who want action straight away.
Also different to traditional FPS is the ammo and injury that you receive. This is where going trigger happy in COD or Battlefield will not work in Red River. Once you run out of ammo, if you can't find an ammo stash then you're stuck at relying on your teammates to do the killing for you. If you find yourself getting injured then you must patch yourself up quickly, even during a firefight. Failure to do so will result in you bleeding to death, and if you die your whole squad seems to fall apart as well.
You can play this game as a single player where the AI in the game is quite well done bar a few niggling glitches which hopefully will be patched soon, or you can play cooperatively as well in which you can lead four human players in achieving the objective. This can be fun as you can chat about other stuff rather than telling AI players to suppress fire there or go here. Another plus are the visuals of Tajikistan which can be quite awe-inspiring in regards to the mountains and especially the sky, however, close up visuals are extremely dated and ugly which is a shame.
Overall with its different style of play, Red River can be an intuitive and challenging game to play, but its traveling times and squad-base play may be a turn-off for players who prefer a gun-ho heroic style of play. Only buy it if you get a kick on planning and seeing your plans flourish!