Rising Storm 2: Vietnam Review
Though I never played any of the Red Orchestra or Rising Storm games, I’ve heard tales of its challenging gameplay. It’s a genre that boasts a unique first-person shooter experience; punishing those who don’t work as a team, and creating intense matches that you remember for weeks. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam carries this tradition and ultimately creates some memorable experiences.
As the title suggests, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is set during the Vietnamese War, with the United States fighting against the Vietcong and the People’s Army of Vietnam. Tripwire has tailored the game’s weapons to this era, and the infamous napalm strikes are as gruesome as you’d imagine. Even the maps stay true to the theme, forest shanty villages, rice paddies, and on hillsides scarred by napalm.
There isn’t any story to be had in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam as it’s a game without any kind of a single player campaign. Instead, it focuses on multiplayer alone, and it would need to have some solid ideas to make it worth the purchase; which, thankfully, it does. It follows the Red Orchestra style of gameplay of having one commander that dictates the flow of battle for each team.
They can set landing points for friendly choppers, manually spawn reinforcements, and call in assets for the team. When working together with the team’s radiomen, they can call in devastating artillery strikes to wipe out the enemy team, and your own team if you aren’t careful. Succeeding in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam requires teamwork. Each side has several squads to fill out, and the commander can talk through the voice chat to give his orders. The game focuses heavily on the cooperation between the squads, so an army that doesn’t communicate well will end up completely overrun.
The controls are what you’d expect for first-person shooters, with the added option to lean left or right and to throw grenades underhand. There doesn’t currently seem to be any support for controllers, so piloting helicopters with the mouse and keyboard brought back some bad memories from Arma.
As far as the visuals for Rising Storm 2: Vietnam goes, the game is stunning, especially when you’re flying in one of the choppers and can appreciate the entire map. Even on fully maxed out graphics, the game ran very smoothly. The animations for running and vaulting over fences were all very fluid and impressive, but there were times when I’d stop running or finish climbing a fence and find my hands had disappeared.
Despite the game being multiplayer only, it doesn’t lack for content. It doesn’t go for the popular route of locking off most of its features behind level progression, it gives you all the weapons from the get-go, leaving only the aesthetic features like helmets and camo to be locked off. There are also several game modes available to you from the start. Each one is tailored to the specific number of players allowed on the map, which ranges anywhere from sixteen to sixty-four players, and the latter are as hectic and fun as you may think.
“It doesn’t go for the popular route of locking off most of its features behind level progression, it gives you all the weapons from the get-go, leaving only the aesthetic features like helmets and camo to be locked off.”
The game modes include a king-of-the-hill style map, where there are several territories scattered about that each team must fight for and control them to win, a game mode where one team defends their areas against an oncoming wave of attackers, and a skirmish mode with a limited number of respawns per round. I have found that some of the maps seem to be unsuited to the number of players it has, which creates a boring ebb in the flow of gameplay if I can’t find anybody for a good few minutes.
Though the game modes were fun, what drew me in was the state of immersion the game would put me under. If you’re being shot at whilst hiding behind cover your character will become suppressed, causing your screen to blur and fade to grey. Combine this with the camera-shaking artillery and I was genuinely terrified for my life at some points. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam does a great job at sucking you in, but there are times when the flow of the gameplay was interrupted.
Gameplay slows down quite a bit when you die, which will happen a lot. Though I love the maps being as big as they are, there will be times where you’ll walk all the way back to the action and then die a few seconds later. To combat this, Tripwire allows the US players to spawn on their squad leader, and allow the Vietnamese squad leaders to place spawning tunnels. Though this is a good idea on paper, most squad leaders either don’t place tunnels down or end up running into the battle and dying with you.
There’s also the risk of being team-killed since it can be difficult to tell between the enemy and your allies due to the HUD taking a few seconds to show itself; so, the guy you let live may end up repaying you in kind with a few bullets to the face. Though you will be dying a lot, it isn’t to say the game is unfair, it completely is, you just need to learn how to position yourself for each part of the map.
The sounds of this game are one of the biggest pros for me. The idle menu music and the songs that play during gameplay sets the tone for a 50’s-to-70’s style game. On top of the music, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam also does a wonderful job at emulating the terrifying atmosphere of a battleground. Everything from the men whimpering as they bleed out to the artillery shells deafening you for a short while continuously put me on edge.
A small issue I had, and one that popped up in every game, was with the voice acting. Though the sounds of men burning alive were all hauntingly believable, and the random phrases the soldiers would blurt out were voiced well, I couldn’t stand the Vietnamese commander’s voice; instead of a battle-hardened war veteran, I’d hear Trey Parker doing a borderline racist impression of a Vietnamese man.
“Everything from the men whimpering as they bleed out to the artillery shells deafening you for a short while continuously put me on edge”
Overall, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is a brilliant game that may turn away some beginners due to its steep learning curve, but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with an intense squad-based shooter that gives Battlefield a run for its money. It also serves as a cheerful reminder to me that I’d be as useless in a real firefight as I have expected.
***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***
- Immersive gameplay.
- Fantastic soundtrack.
- Teamwork actually counts towards something
- Some poor voice acting.
- Server latency issues.
- Some maps are too small/large for the player cap