Developed in collaboration between developer Tripwire Interactive and a modding team, Rising Storm is the next installment in the Red Orchestra series. Owners of the game have access to not only the new multiplayer maps of Rising Storm, but also those from Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. Rising Storm's multiplayer focus switches from the Russian and German battlefields of Red Orchestra 2 to the Pacific Theater of World War II in which players select from either the American or Japanese forces.
As typical with other online multiplayer shooters, players have a range of classes to select, from rifleman and marksman to machine gunner and assault soldier, in addition to a commander and squad leaders that direct other players and launch artillery strikes. Maps take place in such locations as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Saipan, which are covered with trenches, bunkers, destroyed buildings, and dense forests. Most of the maps are set during the day, with others that take place during the night that create for more tense battle scenarios.
Brutal online warfare
Those new to the series can learn some of the basic movement controls and such in a few training missions, yet none of them quite prepare players for the hectic and intense battles of the game's online multiplayer component. Combat in Rising Storm and Red Orchestra 2 is far more brutal that most online shooters--such as the Call of Duty and Battlefield series--as most shots can lead to a one-hit death, leaving little room for mistakes. Death can be a common occurrence as maps are ripe for hidden snipers and encounters with enemies around each corner. The best strategy for survival is to work with team members as a Rambo approach will lead to frequent deaths.
Fortunately, the multiplayer community of Rising Storm and Red Orchestra 2 demonstrate some of the best cooperation seen as most players move strategically around maps and communicate frequently over the team voice channel. The learning curve is a bit steep at first, but it's easily overcome with experimentation of classes and introduction to a few matches. The game types are a typical affair of online multiplayer games as players battle for the control of objective points scattered across maps. There are game types which also feature tanks, but unfortunately they're only included in the Red Orchestra 2 maps.
The game features a leveling system for players that allow for earning additional game type and upgrades for weapons, which, in practice, doesn't offer much to work for in battles. There isn't much incentive in place for the system as the differences in combat are minor. Beyond the intense combat, the range of features don't expand beyond anything in the current range of online shooters. In addition, the Rising Storm component of the game is severely lacking in both the number and variety of maps.
Built on the Unreal 3 engine, the visuals of Rising Storm are the same as Red Orchestra 2 but with more vibrancy in its palette of colors. Environmental details such as ruins of buildings and forests are all highly-detailed, creating an atmospheric battlefield experience. Not all of the game's assets share the same visual quality, resulting in an overall mixed graphical presentation. Sound effects are equally as impressive as explosions and gun shots make their presence known across maps. The game's music, on the other hand, is forgettable and it's recommended you turn it off in favor of a more realistic battlefield. The most lacking aspect of the game's presentation is the dated heads-up display that clutters a majority of the screen with unimportant information.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Rising Storm may not be as intuitive as other similar titles or contain an extensive amount of content, yet it provides one of the more intensive and brutal multiplayer experiences on the market today. Strong team cooperation, a realistic approach to combat, and highly-detailed environments create truly immersive battlefields. The combined multiplayer components of Rising Storm and Red Orchestra 2 partly makes up for the game's overall dated presentation limited map variety.
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