Review by Wolfrug
Well, well, another bunch of mission by our very own Devilchaser (I'm sure you all know him from blockbusters like Operation Firelord, Baghlan Foxes or Breaking & Entering). When I set out on playing these missions (5-mission campaign), I was looking forward to something extra, or in any case a proper DVC mission experience. And I wasn't disappointed. The evolution of DVC's editing capabilites was apparent with each successive mission - it started with some fairly easy, BIS-styled missions with minimum scripting, and ended with a nice little display of custom voice-overs, flare traps, claymores and assorted "advanced" scripts.
The overviews had no pics, but since we're talking about 5 missions, it'd have been needlessly adding to the file size. The briefings were a far call from the information-scarce BIS ones. Markers, objectives, reports from the rest of the island, memos from your CO's. All to make you feel like a soldier partaking in a military operation. The storyline is probably best told in DVC's own words (taken from readme):
"This campaign centers around Charlie Company, 6th Infantry Battalion. This is the infantry battalion that helped fight off the Russian invaders in the commercial campaign. Charlie Company is in the rear with the gear, however, and serves as the Battallion's organic logistics detatchment. So while everyone else is out fighting on the front lines, it is Charlie's job to secure the rear and provide support. Your character starts off as a private in 1st Platoon, C Co, 6th Bn. He is a bit like Armstrong, in that he hasn't seen any real combat yet and doesn't have a whole lot of confidence in himself. But all that is going to change..."
Needless to say, all of the cutscenes were outstanding. If nothing else, download these missions just to take a look at the camera handling and learn, all you mission-makers out there! Cutscenes are vital to setting the mood in a mission. Even a very short clip of the target area or just zooming in on the chopper ferrying you to your target can easily give the mission a good, soft start even if the actual mission is action from start to finish.
The first two missions are fairly standard 'seek & destroy'-type missions. First establish a beachhead, and conduct some force-recon. Nothing too challenging but honest, good fun. In the first mission a whole truckload of infantry comes and greets you at your goal and, since they are on higher ground than you, whenever they hit the dirt they disappear below the horizon or just barely stick up above it, so you can only take a shot at them if they are stupid enough to stick their heads up. I don't know if this was intentional or just some lucky geographical positioning but you actually got to have a proper medium-distance firefight with the AI - something I haven't experienced since the original campaign. A fat plus for unit positioning.
As to mission 3, it's one of them 'Seize the town' missions, although there's actually some kind of reasoning behind it too (forward logistical base). The whole shootout isn't all that good. DVC has jammed too many Russkies into one town, Russkies that really just lie around, shoot a little, and get shot.
In the second part of this mission you get to attack Lamentin, another pretty standard 'seize the town' thing, after which the mission ends. A tad disappointing and nothing really original, although I have to lament it was a lot better than the majority of 'Capture the Town' missions I've played.
The 4th mission is without doubt the most original one - you get to stand guard duty. In the rain and cold. In the middle of the night. Begin to sound familiar? Well, except for that during this guard duty you are attacked. Now, this mission is by all account pretty simple - hold your position, kill the enemies. But that doesn't mean it's a simple mission to MAKE. It's like all performing arts - the trick is making something really, really hard look really, really easy. And DVC does it masterfully. You have a couple of flares you can summon up with the radio, and you've got a bunch of claymores set around the forest edge. Alpha and Bravo keep constant radio-contact with you. And there are custom voice-overs. I won't tell you any more of what happens since that would spoil the surprise, but you're up for a bunch of fun.
The fifth mission is like the two BIS campaign missions "Scouting" and "Turning the tide" put together. The ones where you first scout up the position of the enemy base, and then attack it. A little bit of the end of "Montignac Must Fall" is thrown in as well, but I'll leave it to you to find out. All in all, a pretty enjoyable missions with some weird flaws (mission doesn't end until your CO is this and that far away from you, and he just doesn't want to come to you, so you have to go to him...). A nice rounding up of his campaign. No voice-overs used, however there are lip movements. Hm, a pretty OK compromise between size and look, I guess.
(Review Date: May 2002) DVC has used some items to good effect in making this feel like a campaign: the briefings, the intros & outros and the actual mission objectives. A single mission rarely has the privilege of claiming that taking this town is just a small leg in a bigger operation. Each mission must be something special or, barring that, a long way littered with bodies. So therefore some of these missions might seem a bit more "acceptable" simply because I know this is just another part of a big operation in which I'm only a lowly grunt. But don't get me wrong, each and every one (especially #4) of these missions are very much playable as single missions, and a hell of a lot better than most at that. But as a connected string of missions... well, it was believable, and that's what all OFP designers should strive to achieve.
Bad parts? Well, some bugs, sometimes the mission didn't end due to the infamous 1 km radius "Not Present" trigger, sometimes your squadmates forget what they're doing and refuse to move another step. Sometimes the randomness of war kicks in and you find yourself with only one or two mates left at the end of the mission, while sometimes you rolled over the Russkies without a single casualty. Some weird bugs in the last mission, making it a tad hard to complete.
As all of DVC's missions, these are either at, or above, original BIS mission quality. The cutscenes are more often quite a lot more impressive, and there are more scripts used to good effect than what BIS used, which adds to the general atmosphere. Quite simply, an enjoyable experience, never too hard but not too easy either, with some of that very nice atmosphere which only a real campaign can give you. At the end of mission 5, there's sort of a half-promise of a sequel. Seeing as DVC's mission-making skills are still evolving...well, I'd be looking forward to that sequel as much as one would look forward to the sequel to Op. Firelord...