Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Overview

A gaming friend of mine gifted me a copy of FCRS after reading some of my blog posts regarding the single player set of scenarios from the original game Flashpoint Germany which was released several years ago and has since been discontinued by the then publisher Matrix Games. The new game that I am playing is the massive 2.0.9 update, or the “Players Edition”. Having never played the release candidate of the new game I am not sure what the differences are, but they seem substantial.

This analysis however is focused more on a comparison between the new game FCRS (2.0.9) and the original game FPG (1.13). When I first “opened up the box” to see what was inside I was horribly aghast at what was done to one of my favorite tactical combat games. The two games have about as much in common as Call of Duty 2 and Battlefield 1942 (they cover basically the same thing but in completely different ways).

Once I let the “what the hell” angst wear off I began enjoying the changes and how the new game plays. There are a lot of things that they did right and I am hard pressed to find things to be critical of given how much I enjoy the quality of the product put out.

A summary of the differences that are of some note in my opinion:

In the original game there was one or two sectors that both sides fought for control over, and a preponderance of steps over the other within the sector in addition to enemy kills decided the Victory Point total (in which a single vehicle counted as a single point regardless if it was a first line main battle tank or a crappy support APC).

In the new game there are multiple Victory Point locations on a given map which broaden the front and the points for kills are much different now as vehicles and other units have varying point range values.

In the original game the map could not be zoomed in or out, while in the new game it can be scrolled which greatly increases the ability to focus on a specific area of combat.

The maps in the original game were well done and of a specific art style, whereas the maps in the new game are completely different by comparison. First off gone are the 500 meter square grid boxes, now the map area is arranged in a staggered hexagonal pattern and are 500 meters center to center in all directions.

On the new maps the main autobahns are colored yellow and have road indicators which somehow just freaking completely works for me as I can clearly look at a map and see where the critical choke points are. The maps in the old game did not have this visual clarity and many times it would be difficult to quickly determine problems or opportunities.

Pied Piper has been giving me some fits.

If I were to be critical of anything, it would be that the Victory Point markers (both NATO and Warsaw Pact) are very difficult for me to see on the map, and sadly there is no way to alter their transparency from within the game. The developer did advise what files could be modified to increase their visibility; however this has to be done external to the game using a graphics application.

Overall I would give this game a 9 out of 10 and say that I intend to write-up some after-action reports for the single player scenarios and possibly a campaign play through once I am complete with the original game.

Thanks Doug!

5 comments:

  1. Doug, if you prefer to play FCRS with a square grid (1km), there are alternative map variants available from the developer's web site at http://www.ontargetsimulations.com/?page_id=262 .

    William

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  2. Glad to see you've dipped your toe in the water! I think that some of the things you found a little frustrating with the older interface/game you'll find are much better here. And some really tense battles ahead,
    Chris

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  3. Awesome! Looking forward to your AARs!

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  4. So I have been struggling with this game trying to win The Pied Piper as a familiarization scenario for the new mechanics and combat flow. Then it dawns on me why the Soviets are handing me my ass each game: I am playing as the West Germans and fielding their crappy (in comparison to the Red Army armor) Leopard 1A1A1 at the beginning (the much better 2A4’s come as later turn reinforcements but are too late in my opinion).

    Even the game developer chimed in on the difficulty of this scenario: “Leo1s are no match to T-72s and T-80s. They will only get kills at close range and will die in the process. Use them on mechanized or recon forces and look to pull them back at the first sign of tanks.” In the original game I have started the West German mission set and the first scenario “Soviet Punch” features Leopard 2A1-3’s and they are about just as crappy against the Warsaw Pact as the inferior tanks of the new game.

    I am going to play around with the drag and drop ability of the new games OB panel to create mixed forces (assigning a tank element to a mechanized infantry group) which is a feature not present in the original game.

    This may help stem the Red Tide in what is proving to be a very tough scenario for NATO.

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