Hands-On With Rising Storm
World War 2 first-person shooters…remember them? Oh how everyone complained about the sheer volume of them released on a regular basis back in the day, so much so that now, in 2013, it’s quite ironic that one of the most refreshing multiplayer experiences can be found in a World War 2 first-person shooter. Rising Storm, a standalone expansion for Red Orchestra 2, is a brutally brilliant experience that legitimises team work in the modern day first-person shooter multiplayer.
Rising Storm takes place across various battles in the Pacific Theater. Each map is based on a real-life battle, with the time period, weather and weapons available all being historically accurate. Each map sees Japanese and American forces battle for control over certain points in order to achieve victory, and given the game aims to be historically accurate, some of the maps are more favourable to one team than they are to the other. It’s a factor that adds an immense amount of challenge to the game, and it also breeds a requirement for team work.
While most shooters these days allow the player to sprint around the game like a headless chicken, Rising Storm is a far more strict affair; one bullet is normally enough to end a player’s life, and staying out of cover for more than the required time is suicide. Players instantly learn to respect the power of every and any weapon within the game, creating a tense atmosphere in every play session. Cautious movement and strategy is the only way to advance, and the only way to survive is team work–something that Rising Storm does brilliantly.
At the core of Rising Storm‘s unforgiving gameplay is a well-crafted class system. Players have the choice of playing a number of roles that all have their advantages on the battlefield: the squad leader role contains the Thompson SMG, along with grenades and the essential smoke grenade; snipers can scout the map and aid in pointing out enemies to teammates; the machine gunner gifts the player a deployable machine that can suppress enemies for long periods of time (when used right, it’s a game changer); and the two rifleman classes serve as the brunt of the team. Each class is essential to victory, as well as a blast to play. The way in which the classes mesh together allows players to truly become a cohesive unit, and it’s an exhilarating feeling to take an objective as a squad.
The enjoyment of Rising Storm is oddly its most horrifying elements. For example, players can be mortally wounded and begin to bleed out. Some wounds can be treated by bandages, whereas others will result in the player slowly bleeding out, all while their avatar screams in horror and desperation.. It’s a feature that adds a jarring sense of realism to the experience. Rising Storm is brutal and unforgiving, even away from its core gameplay.
Simply put, this is one of the best multiplayer experiences I have played in many years. The gameplay is unrelenting and brutal, and there’s a real sense that every step taken could be your last. Rising Storm is the perfect amalgamation of strategy, action and the horrors of war. In a world of fancy, fast-paced multiplayers, Rising Storm brings everything back to earth with a bump. For those afraid of the harsh side of the game, there is an ‘action mode’ that turns the game into every other shooter out there, but ‘realism mode’ is the best–and only–way this game should be played, because you’ll appreciate it a lot more if you do.