Rising Storm – An In-Depth Review
“A Realistic and Truly Intense War Game”
I am not usually one for games centred around the World Wars or that general time period. As a general rule I find them often to be slow going and unnecessarily hard to play. Rising Storm however had come to my attention through what appeared to be a fairly heavy push on Steam to sell the game, and I realised that actually it has been a while since I have actually tried a war game. So, I decided to pick the game up and see how it felt compared to my past experiences, and I was somewhat surprised to find that I could actually take to it rather well…
Rising Storm is a joint project between the developers mod creators of the Red Orchestra series; a rare and intriguing collaboration in the creation of a new game. The idea has been that perhaps bringing the mod creators in at the development stages could produce a better game for fans and a more attractive entry point to new players of the series. Any direct storyline in the game is a loose one at best, however the game does take its key focus around the Pacific warfare which took place between the United States and the Japanese between 1942 and 1945 (however some battles will involve other forces such as the Nazis). The battles you take part in have been designed specifically to reflect the true forms of the iconic battles which took place in the era, from weapons to tactics to the maps themselves. A lot of work has been put into making this game a stronger reflection of real warfare than other games on the market have been able to achieve up to now, and it seems to have come a long way in achieving this aim.
To get you started, unless you are more of a jump straight in kind of gamer, there are five helpful tutorials available to you. These do not take long to complete, and given the wild number of controls you seem to have to remember to play this game it is probably worth having a go with at least the first of them. The tutorials teach you how to play in a simple manner, but there is much to apparently be learned that it is almost impossible to remember everything you are told. The first tutorial teaches you how to simply move around and use your weaponry, and this is really the minimum knowledge you should have before jumping into the game. Even this however requires you to learn a relatively vast series of controls in order to even play simply. The other tutorials will teach you how to command squads of computer controlled characters in game, and drive and destroy tanks. While the tutorials are very welcome and well structured, there is simply too much to learn all at once, and you will find that it is probably easier just to take things a bit at a time.
Once you know how to move and you know how to shoot you are ready to go ahead and get into your first battle. All of the battles which take place in the game take place online, so once you have quite simply found a server you like the sound of you are set and ready to go. The battles can involve up to 64 players, and any empty spaces are filled by computer controlled units until more players join. This is a very nice feature as it rids you of the annoyance of only finding a server with six people in and having to navigate a giant map to find them. There is plenty to kill and the warzone is busy and realistic all of the time, so you are unlikely to find a quiet camping spot here! The noise of the battle is constant, and you will be met with the challenge of trying to keep yourself alive while surrounded by gunfire and explosions on all sides. If you are hit you may have the chance to bandage yourself if you are lucky. If you run out of ammunition you will have to hunt for more or find a friendly team mate to help you out. If you do not get yourself cover as soon as you can then you will not last long at all. If you do not watch your back you may find someone kills you before you can turn. You are very literally put into the frenzy and overwhelming nature of a real warzone, with a deafening and blinding battle raging all around you well you do everything you can to stay alive and protect your land and your friends. This game is not just your average shooting game; this game is intense!
Surprisingly for a war game set in this period, Rising Storm is not ridiculously hard to play. Initially in your first fight or two you will find it difficult to keep a grip on all of the controls you are expected to recall and at the same time fight of a pretty large enemy force. Before too long however you will find that you have gotten used to at least the basics and are able to stand up for yourself and actually get somewhere in the game quite swiftly. To use myself as an example here, I am not good at shooters set in this period as a general rule. The guns tend to make your aim fly all over the place and they just do not seem to be that easy to aim through their iron sights. While this game still holds these traditional and realistic features too, it still manages to be player friendly with them. By my third fight I had come third on my team for points and kills, so this is some evidence that the game is possible to pick up quickly and start to enjoy. The very intensity of the battles themselves will draw you in through some obscure sense of a need to protect your team mates in this brutal battlefield. The game is fun, not too hard to learn despite its wide array of controls, and gripping. Once you have gotten the hang of the sequence of finding cover, aiming, focusing, shooting, taking cover, reloading, aiming and so on you will quickly pick up the play.
A feature which the developers are quite proud of, and really does come across in the gameplay itself, is the asymmetrical gameplay which they have incorporated. This feature has made this game stand out from others of its kind by not making both sides entirely even in every way. In this case the US military have more advanced and effective weaponry than the Japanese army, while the tactical advantages and style of weapons that the Japanese use can be of use to them in other ways aside from straight and simple shooting, for example shelling with mortars or sharp and swift kills with swords. The idea here has been to reflect the reality of both war and these battles in particular; that both sides do not carry the same weapons and are not equally matched in every way, but rather have different advantages. This really set Rising Storm aside from similar games such as the Call of Duty series which gives players the same equipment to fight with no matter what force they fight for. This is also a nice touch as it gives the player the opportunity to pick their side based on what equipment or tactics they feel best suits them when it comes down to the fight.
As with any game, not everything can be positive, and there are a few things about this game which are odd, imperfect or simply let parts of it down. For one, the running animation in the game is just, well, weird. It is clear that they have tried to make it feel as though you are actually moving as you would if you were running in reality, however there just appear to be arms flailing everywhere. When you watch others in game they look pretty normal when running, but your first person view of yourself when you get your sprint on is simply not quite right. In the tank driving tutorial there also seemed to be a small bug where some of the controls would not work as they should have, despite the setup being correct. Specifically, when trying to look out of the side of the tank at the tutorial’s beginning I could not get the mouse wheel to perform this action on two separate mice, despite the configuration being correct. As this is just a minor bug, there is every chance it will very soon be fixed, however at present it may be an issue to some players. Finally, the only other real problem with the game was some of the weapon-firing sounds. When you hear other people fire their rifles in game the sound effect for this can sound a little too much like its being fired either in or at a steel object. The sound is not always the same (strangely) but sometimes it can make you turn and think “what the hell was that?!”.
Other than these few issues the game does very well. The graphics are pretty impressive; not the best on the market but by no means bad. The sound effects and the way they surround you in such an intense atmosphere alongside play itself are very good indeed. The gameplay is quite easy to get used to and is fun once you have gotten into it. The controls are a bit heavy on the brain however, and some elements as noted do not seem to appear or work quite as well as they should. The game is most likely to appeal to fans of war-based games in general, but actually works very nicely as an introductory game to those who would like to try the genre out. Personally I enjoyed the game despite usually disliking war-time games, which may be some indication to gamers in general as to whether it is worth a try for them. One thing that should be made very clear to everyone is that this is NOT a Call of Duty game; there is much more depth and realism going on here. Rising Storm will give you a much more intense experience of what the battlefield may really feel like, and that is certainly something which it deserves some real merit for doing. It is a realistic and truly intense war game, which can be some things which can sometimes be hard to come by these days.
The Good – An intense experience of the battlefield which feels much more real than much of the market competition, and a good war game for both fans and usually less-inclined players alike; a good continuation of a strong series.
The Not So Good – A memory-taxing control setup can hinder the ease of play, and a few less serious minor errors or strange imperfections are present.
Most Recommended For – Fans of realistic shooters and war simulations, and those who are interested in this style of game and are looking for a good quality, realistic game to start playing with.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.