by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
From a mod into a full-fledged expansion
After releasing Red Orchestra 2, Tripwire Interactive had a development team devoted to creating mods. When they began, the team were told that if a mod was of a high enough quality, then it would receive a full commercial release. So here we have Rising Storm, a game which started out as a mod, but has now become a full standalone multiplayer expansion for RO2.
Set in World War II, the expansion will see American soldiers fighting against the Japanese on the Pacific front. The terrain featured within each map won’t just be endless beaches though, as we were shown jungles, desert islands, swamps and industrial areas. There will be eight separate maps upon release, with the promise of more to come soon after.
All of the same modes from the main game will be included. The developers showed us the Attack and Defend game type, where the defending team must hold off attackers for a certain amount of time. The attackers need to take strategic points and push forward to the final enemy spawn point to win. In this game mode we were able to see some of the interesting additions to the multiplayer.
Evening out the odds
The problem with this period in history is that the Americans had automatic weapons, while the Japanese only had a few at their disposal. This lack of symmetry seems to be unfair at first, but the Japanese have some tricks up their sleeves to balance things out. The first ability we were shown was a Japanese soldier taking the pin out of a grenade and burying it in the ground to make an improvised mine. Placing these in strategic locations means that the hapless Americans will walk over these makeshift land mines and cause them to explode.
That’s not all the Japanese have at their disposal either. The next thing we saw were ‘spawn bunkers’. As the Americans push through the map, the Japanese can spawn behind their lines in one of a few special bunkers. This means that the US have to continually be watching their own backs as they progress. To stop the spawns from happening, the Americans will have to clear out the bunkers using either a satchel charge or a deadly flamethrower.
The final tactic the Japanese can employ is the banzai charge. Most Japanese weapons can have a bayonet attached making them deadly at short range. If enough people group up and all activate their melee charge at the same time, a banzai charge will commence, suppressing the enemy while making themselves less prone to suppression. It’s a terrifying sight, and a lethal one, as we saw an American line being overrun by screaming Japanese men with bayonets.
For fans old and new
Rising Storm will be released in early 2013, and if you purchase it you will also get the full Red Orchestra 2 multiplayer packed in. If you already own it, then the expansion will be available for cheaper, so it appears that Tripwire hope to bring in new players as well as appeasing the diehard fans.