You know the feeling… when a game comes out, it kind of has everything you want in it, the developers seem to be working on it hard, its innovative, outside of the box.. but, it just doesn’t quite work out, and then October comes and in swoop the smashing AAA titles to occupy your time – and, of course, empty your wallet. Well, that was kind of what happened between me and Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad (RO2HoS).
On May 30th 2013 Tripwire Interactive released Rising Storm. A rather well polished version of HoS, which moves the front even further east, to the great Pacific. You must choose sides in the great battle between the US Army and Imperial Japanese forces, and die on the shores of Iwo Jima like many before you have!
If you have not tried the Rising Storm franchise before, in this author’s opinion you are missing out on one of the most realistic shooters out there (FPS, not a Simulation – ARMA has that.). This is a game that really gives you a good idea of what landing on those beaches, chewing sand while the enemy showered you with bullets, shells and just about anything that can hurt you, really was like. You will be suppressed, unable to fight back, as you look left and right to your fiends, combatants, brothers fighting to take just a few meters of that coast or jungle, so the real push can begin.
Rising Storm’s a game that really brings out the massive battlefield experience, and in Realism mode, you will have a hard time even differentiating between friend and foe (Honestly, it happens… a lot.).
You can put yourself in various positions inside the Army, ranging from a front line rifleman, a heavy machine gunner, a sniper, to even a trench-taking flame thrower that you just want to run away from. Each and every weapon finds a way to be very useful, as maps tend to differ from one location to another. One moment you can find yourself running through the jungle, finding it hard to spot an enemy at less than 50 feet, when in the next you are protecting a bunker with nothing but an empty field in front of you, a proper shooting gallery.
Another thing which brings a huge difference to the final result of the battle, and to the gameplay, is the cooperation of the team. There are no lone wolf heroes in Rising Storm. Sure, you might rack up a lot of kills, but if you are not supporting the capturing of strategic zones, you will soon enough find your whole team pushed back into a bottle neck and… lose. As coordination is so important, having somebody fill the position of the Commander on the field is extremely useful.
As the commander, you can call in for artillery at the location given by your Squad leaders, order in a much quicker mortar volley, or if they are really holed up – a naval/rocket strike. The commander or their Squad leaders can paint an area on the map with their binoculars and automatically mark it on the map; after that, all you gotta do is run to the Radio and call it in to the HQ, letting it rip over their heads. Just keep in mind the guy with the radio is a rather tasty target of opportunity…
The Japanese do seem to be a bit underpowered when faced with the might of the US weaponry, but let me tell you something… There are few moments in gaming, that can beat charging out of your foxhole, with a dozen more soldiers, having your katana in your hands, screaming “BANZAI!!!” as you slice open the first green uniform you can find! And admittedly, even when slaughtered by a well positioned machine gun, I find I cannot have anything but a smile on my face, waiting for the spawn timer to give it another shot.
These days, when you talk FPS games, you are bound to mention the topic of Downloadable Content. In many AAA games, you buy the game for one price, then buying it over and over again if you wish to play more maps, try out some new weapons or in some cases, wear a different type of a mask… When it comes to Rising Storm, however, there really is what seems to be a grind to improve the game, at no additional cost. Some may say that Rising Storm is a repaint of HoS , but along with the constant updates, new maps and patching of the game, it also offers you the complete Heroes of Stalingrad multi-player content, which means you have plenty of hours to play before even getting through all the maps or weapons, let alone leveling all of them up.
The leveling system is not a complex one, letting you level both your profile and each one of the guns that you get your hands on. The upgrades given by reaching high levels are not massive, but will make a difference, enough to give you a feeling of accomplishment, may it be a drum mag for your LMG, or a bipod for the basic but reliable Arisaka rifle.
It is important to mention that Rising Storm is a multi-player game, and not one that will give you an in-depth personal story of a hero ready to overtake the enemy government. Instead you will often find yourself as nothing more than cannon fodder, as there is no I in Rising Storm… well, okay there is, two actually, but.. I mean… yeah you know what I mean. The point is, the entire draw is the multi-player, so as long as that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what you’ll get.
All in all, Rising Storm is hands down one of the best FPS games I ever had a chance to play. Sure there are certain things that could be a bit better, but nothing that will stop you from sitting down for a couple of hours, nothing game-breaking, and nothing to stop you from fun and good gaming.
The price for Rising Storm and Red Orchestra 2 is $19.99 at this time. In general it,s price is far below that of AAA shooter. The experience is far above some of those AAA shooters that I’ve seen in the past few years, so I recommend checking it out!