I've seen a lot of hype about this game and a lot of negativity due to the developers, well, I'm going to step outside the box here and say: BIG WHOOP! Yeah, I said it and you're probably wondering why?
Because the game is shaping up to be a good quality title by the look of things, regardless of the other games the developer have done previously!
I have had some hands on time with the game thanks to a preview level offered by Freeze. There's potential there I can say this much, it's too early in the game to get a real sense of where the story's going and what lies in store for the special operations team - but what I can say without a shadow of a doubt is that Field Ops is different.
There are some noticeable bugs at the moment, but this isn't a review, it's a preview of the game and designed to give you a fleeting glimpse into what makes it tick. There are a few problems with getting your units to face the right way and sometimes they don't quite follow orders - the AI needs a lot more tweaking.
Field Ops has a lot to live up to because it's an extremely ambitious title; it dares to break into two grounds at once. That of the RTS and FPS: it offers you the tactical choices that come with both game styles and blends them fairly smoothly into one. The camera pans down and you find yourself controlling your soldier in a proper FPS style.
Now you might be asking yourself why you'd want to do this. There are several reasons to switch to a soldier in FPS mode, one you get an added sense of realism and being there you don't just get in RTS games. Two you will be able to use the physics system to provide cover for your men, as you can aim at objects, say a vehicle and blow it up so it lands across a road.
Switch to RTS and order your men to move to it.
Three, for those people that like to get their hands dirty and have always wanted to pop into a first person sniper mode - you can in Field Ops and it's a cool thing to be able to do. There are vehicles and there are planned MP game modes where one of you can play RTS and one can play FPS, kind of like Savage in a way and that's going to be something a little different.
Field Ops is a rough gem at the moment that I reckon could be smoothed into a shiny diamond. If the development team can pull out all the stops and really polish the title it will be up there for me with the likes of Operation Flashpoint (and I really loved that game) for sheer addictiveness and modern warfare fun.
I found it took a little while to get used to be able to switch between modes, but once I'd got the hang of that fact in my head I was able to make more informed tactical choices and set up some nice crossfire using a mix of RTS and FPS style play. Without gushing fanboy-ism I have to say that I really like this feature and it should be incorporated into more games.
For me it works a lot better than the Hotswap method of Battlefield 2 and it's a lot more fun and even from this little taster of the game, Field Ops (and I might be lynched for saying this) feels better than Battlefield 2 and has a lot of MP potential especially from what we gather the online play could be like.
The graphics of Field Ops aren't yet fully optimised but the game is looking very nice, its early days and there's time to tweak and polish the graphics/models/animations as well. The physics system provides enough bangs for your buck in terms of hurling debris and breaking things, being able to use debris for cover in RTS and FPS mode created by your interaction with the environment is a nice touch, but I really want to see a physics engine use DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) so we can get some insane Red Faction style level destruction going on.
I'd like to be able to blow a hole in the floor with some heavy duty firepower and then hide my squad in it.
Or collapse a wall and have it fall on my enemies. But I am just glad that the developers and Freeze have answered my RTS/FPS hybrid prayers that I've been making for years and years. I remember the glory days of Battlezone 2 where it had a similar feature but not as well implemented or designed as Field Ops' RTS/FPS switch modes are.
The game's so far on course for an early 2007 release so the developers are hard at work fixing bugs and polishing I'd hope. I am also hoping that they don't deny the co-op multiplayer fans a chance at the pie, Field Ops would be the perfect co-op MP game where a commander could make informed RTS decisions and lead his team of players against the game's SP levels.
If they have that in mind then Field Ops will push Operation Flashpoint out of my modern mil-sim love for ever!
We shall see when I get my paws on the full game for review.