Welcome to the Rising Storm Review. Rising Storm is the latest instalment in the award-winning Red Orchestra franchise, delivering a true-to-life experience of the famous island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific during World War II from 1942 to 1945. Recently launched, Rising Storm is a combined effort between developer Tripwire Interactive and a modding team who started the project.
“The armada of ships off the shore of this island, the thousands of soldiers off-loaded to fight here. You are a part of the most impressive fighting force ever assembled on God’s green Earth. We will not give up this area to the Japs, now move out!”
Our USMC Commander offers some motivational words before we take up our defensive positions in some trenches on the Hanto River in New Guinea during the campaign in 1944. The Japanese Imperial Army is preparing to invade our heavily fortified position and it isn’t but a few moments before all hell breaks loose – artillery fire, mortars and gun fire erupts.
As a Red Orchestra 2 player, I had some idea of what to expect when I first entered a match in Rising Storm. However, it was immediately apparent that only the core concepts of how to play the game remained the same – everything else has new life breathed in to it, bringing it in to a new generation of tactical shooters. I would soon discover just how masterfully this game has been crafted by a first-of-its-kind collaboration between developer & modders picked out from the community and offered financial compensation.
As a first person shooter the Red Orchestra franchise has always set itself apart from the rest, offering intense moment-to-moment action without the need for run-and-gun style gameplay. Opting for a much more tactical and team focused approach, players are thrown in to the meat grinder and forced to learn the ultimate lesson – cooperate with your team or die recklessly. Victory is achieved through teamwork and Rising Storm is no different.
Choosing from either the Allied United States Army and Marine Corps or the Axis aligned Japanese Imperial Army and Special Navy Landing Forces, players fight against each other in 64 player battles. Currently these battles take place in recreations of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Hanto, Peleliu, Kwajalein Atoll, and in the future Nphum Ga and Betio.
These maps are captured with almost cinematic quality that really immerses you in to the fight, once the bombs start dropping and people begin charging on your position, confusion and disorientation sets in. Players must be quick in their decisions, ready to react at a moments notice to any immediate threat in an environment of constant danger and chaos.
The mechanics behind this shooter are much more realistic than what the majority of gamers will be used to, featuring realistic bullet drop, bullet penetration and damage unless playing on the more casual arcade game mode. You take a bullet to the face you can’t just magically glance the blow, you’re dead my friend. Guns are handled much more realistically as well with adjustable sights, weapon resting, and breathing all playing in to the mix.
This all means that players must have a heightened level of awareness, taking in to account everything they are doing and what is going on around them. Shots must be placed precisely, often those who sprint through the map find themselves coming to a dead stop at the sudden sight of the enemy only to not be able to hit anything without trouble.
This means that players can’t run around the map endlessly shooting, movement must be made with purpose and every step treated with equal caution. The pace of the game is slowed down by this, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t the most intense shooter you’ll ever experience. This is also partly attributed to the game modes available in Rising Storm.
One team is the Attacker, the other team is the Defender. The attacking team must attack and hold all of the objectives on the map, pushing the front lines of battle and the defenders all the way back to the edge of the map. The defending team must hold off the attacking team from completing their objective until either the timer runs out or respawn tickets are depleted. Certain classes are limited in number in this game mode.
A traditional Team Deathmatch style game mode that has no class limit but comes with a nice twist. The game respawns players dynamically on the battlefield to keep the front lines moving and the action flowing around the map in a fashion that is executed very well.
The main game mode Territory recreates what you would expect to be a military conflict, with a front line of battle that moves forward or backwards depending on the success of either side. Players meet at a point on the map and fight in trenches and throughout the terrain of the map, either side waiting for a slight opening to push their front line further.
It’s not an easy task to accomplish and teams will require the combined efforts of their various roles soldiers will play on the battlefield with the classes available in the game. Each class servers a particular purpose and comes with a specific and often unique loadout.
Whether it’s men with automatic weaponry to get in close and clear out trenches and buildings or the riflemen who must then occupy those locations and push the front line forward while those players continue to move the assault forward – everyone has a job on the battlefield. There are several roles to play on both sides and some of them have some really cool toys, like the Allied forces flamethrower or the Axis knee mortar.
- Rifleman: M1 Garand or Springfield M1903A1 and a MK2 Grenade
- Automatic Rifleman: M1918A2 BAR with M1911A1 Pistol and a MK2 Grenade
- Machine Gunner: M1919AG LMG with M1911A1 Pistol
- Sniper: M1903 Sniper with a M1911A1 Pistol
- Engineer: M1 Carbine with a M1911A1 Pistol and a M37 Satchel Charge
- Flamethrower: M2-2 Flamethrower with a M1911A1 Pistol or M1 Carbine
- Squad Leader: Thompson M1928A1 or M1 Carbine with a M1911A1 Pistol and a MK2 Grenade, M8 Smoke Grenade, and Binoculars
- Commander: Thompson M1928A1 or M1 Carbine with a M1911A1 Pistol and a MK2 Grenade, M8 Smoke Grenade, and Binoculars
- Rifleman: Arisaka Type 38 with a Nambu Type 14 Pistol and Type 97 Grenade
- Assault: Nambu Type 100 with a Nambu Type 14 Pistol and a Type 97 Grenade
- Machine Gunner: Type 99 LMG (Deluxe Edition) or Type 96 LMG with a Nambu Type 14 Pistol
- Sniper: Type 99 Sniper with a Nambu Type 14 Pistol
- Light Mortar: Arisaka Type 38 with a Nambu Type 14 Pistol, Type 89 Grenade Discharger (Knee Mortar) and Type 91 Grenades
- Squad Leader: Nambu Type 100 or Arisaka Type 99 with a Nambu type 14 Pistol and a Type 97 Grenade, Type 94 Smoke Grenade, Katana, and Binoculars
- Commander: Nambu Type 100 or Arisaka Type 99 with a Nambu type 14 Pistol and a Type 97 Grenade, Type 94 Smoke Grenade, Katana, and Binoculars
Each team has a Commander who must guide his men in battle and call in artillery strikes on the enemy using information provided by Squad Leaders who lead squads of players in to battle relaying co-ordinates and acting as a spawn point for members of his squad. Due to Squad Leaders being a respawn point for their squad members, they must be close to the action but stay alive as much as possible – often with the help of cover and smoke grenades.
Smart leaders will best utilize the assets they have on the battlefield to quickly penetrate the enemy forces and drive them back to achieve victory. Proper tactics have been revived once again with flanking and strategic manoeuvring playing a major role in every battle – and it’s awesome. A good team working together really shows in matches.
Both the developer and modding team combined have done a remarkable job at creating a WWII shooter that brings these iconic battles to life, the fighting is so intense that you can often forget that you aren’t playing in some massive battle with hundreds of people. If you like your shooters to be more realistic and take teamwork seriously, then I can offer nothing but praise for Rising Storm and recommend you purchase your own copy as soon as possible.
With full mod and custom map support, Rising Storm is currently available for download on Steam with workshop integrated. To find out more, visit the game page.