"Operation Flashpoint: Red River" pits Marines against Chinese forces. (Codemasters)
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Two military-themed video games are slated for release this year, both promising an immersion into modern war and featuring Marines in the starring roles.
For the public, the games will give anyone with a little Marine envy a chance to pick up a controller and play grunt. The only risk to one's life is a growing dependency on Mountain Dew and Doritos.
But for Marines, it's a chance for hours of first-person gaming mayhem without having to play as a soldier or special operator.
‘Operation Flashpoint: Red River'
This game is set in 2013 in Tajikistan, a country wedged between China and Afghanistan.
Through the game you will wage battle against insurgent guerillas as well as troops of China's People's Liberation Army. While fighting in an infantry unit, you seek help from your Marine brethren — calling in mortar and howitzer fire as well as close-air support from AH-1Z helicopters. CH-53E Super Stallions are also featured heavily.
Marines served as consultants on the game and a former Marine wrote the script, said Tim Browne, Red River's principal game designer.
"We love the Marine attitude towards the job they know they have to do," Browne said via email. "…The brotherhood aspect of the Marines also makes for compelling characters."
Red River will be released June 7 in the U.S. The game is rated Mature for violence, blood and gore, and strong language — all likely selling points for its target audience. Apart from the main mission, there is also a four-player online co-op campaign mode.
In this game, players are "elite U.S. Marines" fighting against insurgents on the Iraq-Iran border. Action soon escalates into an all-out world war.
Electronic Arts promises a realistic, and even emotional, experience. Watching a 12-minute walkthrough on Battlefield's YouTube page, including a deadly sniper ambush and subsequent firefight, is more than a little unsettling.
The Electronic Arts-produced game should go on sale this fall. A rating is pending, but based on the walkthrough, violence and f-bombs come standard.
The game is the latest in the popular Battlefield franchise, which has included games set during World War II and Vietnam as well as the "Bad Company" spinoffs — modern-warfare entries starring a small band of soldiers. Battlefield games have been praised for their online multiplayer components, and Battlefield 3 will be no different.
Both games will be available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. Sorry, Wii owners, these games are for the big kids.
Online retailers price them at about $60 each.