Review by Cheetah
It's fine and as the overview picture in a campaign is only a very minor detail, I won't waste more words on it.
A lot of time has been put into cutscenes, understandable because a good campaign needs good cutscenes. The cutscenes in Yankie Stalker are okay, the scripting is waterproof most of the time, but not great. For example the introduction of the forces you'll be playing with is far from special. Or the setdamaging in some cinematics which looks odd. Cutscenes lack a bit in the timing department and early on the texts aren't what they could've been. The author does a better job with the text later on, when the campaign really starts. The dialogues are better and the author reverts back to more simple cutscenes with less timing involved.
The briefings are BIS style and quality. This means that it's clear what has to be done, no blurb. It's written to the point and with some details where needed. Worth reading are the notes sections of the briefings, be sure not to miss them. The author did a good job filling the briefing, especially the notes with emotions of the main character.
Campaign-making is a mix of several things, one of those is mission flow. In Yankie Stalker a lot of time has been spent on making the missions connected to each other. A mission is connected with a cutscene to the next one so you won't miss a part of the story. No sudden changes in the plot, not one great mission followed by a bad one. During BETA testing I skipped one mission and there was a lot of "why this, how that" in the next mission. This shows two things, the first: you can't skip missions without skipping a part of the story. The second, the other missions really connect well to each other, as I didn't experience the feeling anywhere else in the campaign when not skipping parts.
Mission flow is one thing, mission quality is another. In campaigns, missions do not have to be spectacular. They have to tell the story, be decent and bugfree to let you enjoy the missions. Important indications of how good a mission is are AI movement, atmosphere, bugs and lag. Let's start with the lag aspect of the missions. To start off, this campaign doesn't have any unplayable lag missions. But, there's one mission where lag has a pretty big influence on the AI. The enemy is supposed to run around and attack, they do not do much more than standing and going prone while moving only a few metres. On top of this, lag can influence trigger activation if your PC can't handle the lag well enough. AI movement is pretty good in general, expect to be attacked unexpectedly. The enemy waypoints work, the Russians attack with brains. This influences the atmosphere, the better the enemy, the more realistic, which improves the atmosphere for me most of the time. A few hints are displayed in certain missions, they aren't good for the atmosphere but aren't too bad either. In this campaign, the atmosphere is quite good. You get the feeling that you're only a small part of the army. On top of this, the excellent story sucks you into the campaign and I wanted to complete it as fast as possible. That's a good thing.
An example of quality: you start in the base but get attacked early on in the mission by the Russians, who are coming in big time. You manage to follow the leader who takes you into a forest after a few ZAP! sounds, while everyone else fights for survival. You're ordered to go marked spot, on your own. Now, most of you have experienced similar objectives, but under different circumstances. Here, it's dark, you lack NVGoggles, a squad and have to go through a well patrolled area. I enjoyed it.
In this campaign, lag missions are the bug missions. Triggers not going off or waiting three minutes for the enemy attack are a problem. Worse is the mission where you'll have to cross about five bridges, on foot and possibly with teammates. Those teammates could've been left out of the mission, as they won't go from one side to the other. They might do it, but that is after a lot of frustration which doesn't make the mission enjoyable when using the AI. Don't expect eleven standard missions in this campaign, no there's a lot of missions with different goals and playstyles. Lone wolf, photographer and attack. Also, don't expect heavily scripted events or dialogues.
This campaign would have been a little bit better than average if it hadn't been for the marvellous story. Bardosy does a great job at storytelling in Yankie Stalker. There's flashbacks, unexpected plot changes and many more in this campaign. All of these are told in an emotional way which is unique to Bardosy, but isn't overdone. You really feel a part of the story, you want to know how the plot unravels. You hope that the cute wife who helps you will survive to the end of the campaign, you hope that all terrorists meet their end soon. Expect moral and ethical issues in Yankie Stalker. Definitely the best story Bardosy converted into a playable OFP campaign.
A good plot with unexpected events told in a unique way as only Bardosy can. Mission diversity, but lacks advanced scripted events or options in the missions. No showstoppers, not all has been done in the perfect way and lag is a bit of an issue in two missions. Challenging AI movement and nice dialogues, but no great battle cutscenes in Yankie Stalker. A good atmosphere is present in most of the missions. In short: a pretty solid BIS style campaign with a special way of storytelling.