For indie projects, the presence of the second part says a lot: most likely, the debut was a success and the authors of the game, having received a credit of trust from the audience, focused on releasing an even more ambitious and thoughtful sequel. In such a situation, sometimes it turns out that developers are noticed not only by consumers, but also by publishers – often independent development remains in the past.
Red Solstice 2: Survivors is just such a case. If the Croatian studio Ironward did thefirst partentirely on their own, then when working on the sequel they used the services of 505 Games . It was she who organized the online show of the new project, in which we also took part. We were told about the main features of Red Solstice 2 , as well as given access to the beta version of the game, which is scheduled for release on June 17th.
The plot starts some time after the events of the first part. In the distant future, people moved to Mars – unfortunately, not at all from a good life: their home planet was destroyed by the STROL virus, which soon reached the Red Planet and now threatens the very existence of the human race. The virus (or rather, the scriptwriter of the game) does not differ in particular ingenuity, preferring to act in a long-proven way – to create more mutant monsters that, with the help of sharp teeth, claws, tails and other deadly limbs, shred everyone who was not lucky enough to be near.
Before each landing, we will be shown a short summary that allows us to understand the features of the mission.
Everyone is forced to confront the threat – the virus does not distinguish between representatives of several factions that inhabit Mars. In addition to several corporations and settlements competing with each other, there is a secret organization “Founders”, the combat unit of which is to be led by the player. The goal is to destroy the virus and give humanity hope for survival.
As you can imagine, the plot is far from the first place in the priorities of the developers. From the dialogues and videos, little is clear, the characters are shown casually and without much attention to detail, and there is no particular desire to understand the twists and turns of what is happening on Mars with the help of the in-game encyclopedia – the local story does not catch on at all.
I will return to the role of the plot and whether it is so necessary in such projects, but for now I will tell you what the gameplay itself is. As you probably understood from the screenshots and videos, we have before us an isometric action game dedicated to the destruction of overwhelming numbers of monsters using a variety of firearms (and not only) weapons. Alien Shooter immediately comes to mind , and for good reason – Red Solstice 2 is really very similar to her. However, the similarities begin and end in appearance: Survivors , despite the same crowd of enemies, the incessant chatter of bursts and the rumble of explosions, is a game of a completely different plan.
The interface in the first part was, in my opinion, prettier.
Firstly, the pace: here it is much more measured, there is no hurricane action that Alien Shooter and its imitators became famous for . We either defend key points, or slowly cut our way to the goal – I did not notice any high-speed races and “kite” enemies here, and this is hardly possible, given the turtle speed of soldiers in power armor. There is a skill for a high-speed dash, but it does not make the weather – it is rather a way to dodge a strong opponent who has come close.
With skills, everything is even more interesting: by pressing a separate button, your character will automatically shoot at any enemy within reach, but the use of skills and special equipment such as grenades, mines and first-aid kits remains the prerogative of the player, who must monitor the mana consumption of energy and the cooldown of these skills.
The red circle denotes the radius of that automatic fire. However, you can shoot in the old fashioned way, aiming the sight yourself or by clicking on an individual enemy.
Secondly, RS2 is focused on tactical teamwork and synergy of classes, of which there are six: Assault, Medic, Fire Support, Demoman, Sniper, and Scout. In the beta version, only the first three pieces were available, although in the campaign mode there are subordinate bots of other classes. But, as you understand, the main stake is made on joint passage – here, as in the first part, there are very high requirements for teamwork, a full-fledged simulation of which bots and a rather meager set of instructions for them are not able to provide. And in general, the gameplay in a single player game is too leisurely, viscous and, as it seemed to me, boring.
Not copying, but creative rethinking!
Ironward doesn’t hesitate to say that it has invented a new genre called Real-Time Tactical Battlefield. A loud statement, the truth of which cannot yet be verified based on the results of reading the press version, but there is undoubtedly some truth in it.
There is enough room for customizing a combat suit to create different builds even within the same class.
I would not call it a full-fledged innovation – rather, we have before us a fusion of elements from many other games. The appearance and the very principle of “Shooting crowds of monsters” are taken from Alien Shooter , activated skills are reminiscent of ARPG and MOBA, and the cooperative capabilities and interaction of classes create similarities with Left 4 Dead and Alien Swarm .
There is also a strategic mode with the study of new technologies, barracks, an arsenal, the development of your base and the choice of missions – does it remind you of anything? Yeah, I’m talking about XCOM – even the inevitably impending “gamemover” in the form of an infection that gradually covers the entire planet is available. And the battles themselves are somewhat reminiscent of the hit of Firaxis Games – here, despite the “realtime”, the mind prevails over the speed of reaction.
The strategic map looks and essentially resembles an analogue from XCOM.
The strategic part is also very important. If the management of the base (more precisely, the spacecraft in Mars orbit) is rather schematic, then the development of your character leaves a purely positive impression. The growth in levels with the study of skills and the modernization of power armor allow you to create unique options for the character – here the replay value increases, and you can take a break from endless shooting of enemies.
There are elements of borrowing both in the entourage and in the plot. Aliens and Dead Space are clearly among the sources of inspiration for monster designers, and some ordinary defense of a key point resembles the storming of a military base by hordes of arachnids from the movie Starship Troopers .
Sometimes among ordinary enemies there are especially dangerous creatures, which can only be dealt with by the efforts of the whole team.
Those who are familiar with the first part have a rough idea of what to expect from the continuation. Lovers of cooperative entertainment should not be disappointed either – I repeat, Survivors , although it contains a single player campaign, is focused specifically on playing with friends. But here’s a bright story, preferably in a popular setting, is what Red Solstice definitely lacks to attract a new audience. Seems like a strange claim, given the genre, which implies an emphasis on gameplay, but imagine the same game, only in the setting of Warhammer 40K! I would have bought such an action without hesitation – and, I think, I’m not the only one.
That said, the old claim that “co-op” will do anything good is still true, and it is doubly applicable to Red Solstice 2: Survivors – I advise you to take a closer look at it for those who appreciate multiplayer, which requires well-coordinated teamwork.