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Review: Rising StormSteam Tripwire Interactive PC FPS
Developer: Rising Storm Team
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Platform: PC (Steam)
Release Date: May 30, 2013
ESRB: N/A (M suggested)
A download code was provided for this review
What does it take to get someone to enjoy the military shooter genre? In the modern age it seems to be that graphics are the first point of attention, with quick and exciting play following in close second. Of course, asking fans will give you varied responses, but both of these appear to be biggest on the minds of a great deal of FPS players. I am not someone who has found myself enamored with the likes of Call of Duty or Battlefield, however. So how is it then that Rising Storm managed to pull me in instantly?
Before unraveling that mystery, let’s go over what Rising Storm is. The game is a standalone expansion pack to Red Orchestra 2. Whether you have Tripwire Interactive’s previous game or not doesn’t affect your playing of Rising Storm, but the two see some connection all the same. For example, even if you play off of the new game exclusively you may see some RO2 stages cycle through from time to time. Those who only own RO2 are even able to play Rising Storm, but they have access to one class only.
The game situates itself in the period from 1942 to 1945 as fighting occurred across the Pacific Theater. Famous campaigns such as those at Iwo Jima and Saipan are brought to life within the game’s multitude of levels. Players are of course able to choose between two sides with the American or Japanese soldiers. Although those without much knowledge of these historical battles can still enjoy the game, a true history geek will find them all the more enthralling. After all, it seems like most modern shooters have lost interest in taking on historical wars.
Although some servers match up small groups of players, the most exciting are levels which max out at a full 64-player server. With these games, you’re given a real taste for the scope of these battles in digital form. Rising Storm manages players in waves, which makes it seem like there are always more enemies plowing out at you instead of ones spawning intermittently on the field. Regardless of your side, teams are equally matched in manpower.
The same cannot be said as assuredly for the weaponry. As was true of the time, Japanese and American soldiers were outfitted with different weapons. Sure, both had guns, but there were other technological differences at play. In the game, Americans can take up a flamethrower and completely decimate hordes of enemies while the Japanese have no such access to this tech. Of course, they have their own specific goods to use against American soldiers, but the balance isn’t perfectly equivalent. All the same, teams playing as the Japanese soldiers can still be victorious often because battles are not necessarily dependent on just one weapon.
One of the ways that Rising Storm separates itself from most other shooters out now is that it is quite difficult. You likely won’t be getting killstreaks left in right but instead will find the first few hours humbling, if not entirely punishing. All players begin in the “easier” mode and must unlock the realistic setting after accumulating enough points. Regardless of this handicap, the initial mode still sees players getting killed in one or two shots. Many players may become frustrated by how unfair the game seems at first, although determined gamers will find it’s just a different game from the current and popular norm.
After a while you learn the fundamental values of Rising Storm. You realize that certain hiding places are completely horrible, or that a wooden door frame isn’t enough to stop a bullet from lodging itself your character’s body. You quickly discern that this is not a game that allows for wild, solo running through open fields to unload a weapon into enemy territory. Everything requires a degree of planning, and this is no doubt very attractive to certain types of gamers.
For me, I am not someone who particularly enjoys any rounds of Call of Duty. There already seems to be an audience who is very familiar with the gameplay and tricks which means I’m always dead in an instant - having rarely played its multiplayer before. Although there are similarly intense players on RO2, the field for Rising Storm is full of newbies. At the very least, there was already newbie-friendly servers in place which enforced strict rules of conduct and were filled with people like me.
Even if you are a master player of COD, you’ll likely find this game to be completely different because of their different views on combat. This is an equalizer and I enjoyed not feeling completely out of the loop for once. Players were willing and wanted to watch each other’s back and strategize to come out victorious. Even upon losses it seemed that most were amicable and willing to play another game. Although there was a lot of struggling involved, the overall multiplayer experience was hugely enjoyable.
If there’s anything detrimental about the experience it is that the historical usage of American and Japanese soldiers has caused some players to bring out offensive and racist terminology. This is not the fault of Tripwire Interactive, but of the immense immaturity of some of the new players. Content ranged from eye-rolling to truly repellent but for the most part the community was more than willing to boot these offenders without remorse. As I don’t spend much time with other online shooters, I’m not sure if this is standard across the board.
Rising Storm is not the perfect shooter, but it is a great attempt at one. If they had more levels to begin with as well as a wider breadth of weapons it would be that much greater. As it stands, it does feel a lot like an expansion pack even though it is standalone. Still, what is provided with the experience is very attractive for fans of realism. Rising Storm is tense, tough, and a great deal of fun to try and survive.
+ Great usage of American and Japanese military strengths played against each other
+ More realistic play requires tactical decisions
+ Historical battle locations used to great effect as stages
- Historical context invites rude/cruel comments from some players
- More content available to begin with would flesh the game out as more than just an “expansion”
Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10)
Rising Storm is the kind of FPS that seems to have mostly been left in the dust by modern standards and deserves more attention.
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