It didn't take long to orient to the controls as they're pretty standard for contemporary console FPS games. LT aims, RT shoots, A is the contextual action button, etc. etc., so it wasn't long before I was running around with my three teammates as foul-mouthed U.S. Marines taking on the People's Liberation Army of China and getting shot in the face.
The Operation Flashpoint series focus has been on realism, to a reasonable extent, and Red River continues in this tradition. This means that the game is set a mere two years in the future and utilizes existing weapons and technology. Not unlike Counter Strike of yore, you have a limited amount of "HP" that won't protect you from too many bullets and enemies can land one-shot kills that your teammates can't revive you from.
Realism does take a backseat to fun, however, which is why I said it's realistic to a "reasonable extent." Unless you die from a one-shot, you can take time to patch up wounds to keep from bleeding out as well as heal injured body parts so that your team's effectiveness isn't overly crippled by one injured player. Should you happen to die, you simply need to wait a little while to respawn, again to keep the game flow going. While this seems like it would make the game too easy, rest assured that the challenge is there and a total party kill is a very real possibility. Also included is a mild set of RPG elements that allow the player to buy "perks" which enhance their abilities. Nothing so crazy as an invincible mode, but improved aim and damage are a couple of abilities that can be earned.
What I gathered from my playtime was that Operation Flashpoint: Red River is another one of those games that's nothing new, but instead refines existing styles and elements into a quality product. The tactical cooperation element is older than Counter Strike, but it is so strongly and effectively utilized here that a solid team will most definitely be the difference between success and failure. Running off half-cocked like you just loaded up Serious Sam is a good way to lose and fast, but communicating, coordinating and cooperating leads to a very satisfying victory. I probably wouldn't buy the game because, ya know, FPSs on consoles aren't really my thing, but I had a lot of fun playing and would strongly recommend it to players who want something more out of team-based combat.