published on: 26/10/2020
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
No heroes in the jungle
Created in collaboration with Tripwire Interactive and Antimatter Games, the game faithfully reflects one of the most traumatic wars of the last century. A perfectly sculpted jungle creeps through the trees or from a helicopter over rice fields. The game perfectly combines the ferocious close combat that was typical of the Vietnam conflict and the mass murder that is inherent in virtually every war. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam brings the franchise into the era of automatic rifles, man-portable grenade launchers and more modern weapons systems. Still with the authentic look and feel and realistic weapon handling that the series is known for.
The concept of bringing FPS mechanics into realistic/simulation situations is far from trivial, and execution can follow very different paths. The Rainbow Six series (with Siege) and the Squad are examples of how the genre can offer different iterations by constantly renewing itself around a few cornerstones. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is another example of this variety between extremes. The Red Orchestra-Rising Storm series have always focused on fast, ruthless, hyper-bloody gameplay and, as far as possible, faithful to some military tactical concepts. It does not pay to act alone, and does not pay to do it in a distracted and hyper-fast way, even if you are a hand-eye reflex phenomenon.
These two series of games require the player teamwork, situational awareness on the battlefield and constant tactical thinking driven by the objectives of the mode you are playing. But in practice, it's much easier to play than it seems: consult the map, stay with your team, and take advantage of your skills and your teammates' skills as much as possible.
RS2V also follows this path taking us down into the Vietnamese scenery and plunging into the now famous conflict, as the Americans and/or Vietnamese forces (Army and Viet Cong).
Continuing the Tripwire tradition of providing strong support for games post-launch, Vietnam has already been updated multiple times, providing the player with:
6 different armies to play, each with their own weapons and abilities:
United States Army and Marine Corps
North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) and National Liberation Front (Viet Cong)
Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)
Over 50 weapons, covering everything from rifles and pistols to flamethrowers and rocket launchers
4 flyable helicopters - Huey, Cobra, Loach and Bushranger
Asymmetric warfare - VC traps and tunnels vs. US napalm and choppers
More than 20 maps
3 distinct game-modes
And hundreds of character customization options.
This variant creates interesting situations where infiltrating enemy lines is desirable/interesting and priorities are generated quite naturally. Battles are thematically rich as the two teams create defensive ramparts on critical points or when particularly daring deep raids are successful.
Territories, on the other hand, is thematically interesting right from the start. Players are immediately divided into attackers and defenders; the former must conquer a series of locations and maintain them in order to unlock the next set of targets (and their portion of the map). Nothing new, but in a historical setting like this, and with all the tactical mechanics of the game, every game achieves a really impressive thematic taste and realism.
Speaking of tactical mechanics, RS2V uses them widely based on its entire gameplay. Each team consists of seven players and has a captain who dictates the orders and passes the coordinates for any support actions (artillery for example). The captain also functions as a spawn point for the entire team and as a bonus provider for the players around him. By collaborating with another class, the radioman, the commander can also request artillery support or napalm bombardment. It's a key mechanic for game development because, the way the game is built, goal-taking (especially in Territories mode) is complex, and the defending team always has a strong positional advantage.
Here comes all the tactical and asymmetrical flavor of RS2V: Defending a territorial objective is always easier than assaulting it. For the simple reason why shooting from a standstill on a target that comes to us (perhaps from an advantage position) is clearly simpler than the other way around. Heroes don't work in RS2V! Μuch easier, however, is to organize with smoke grenades or artillery supports to confuse the enemy as you advance and thus arrive at short-range clashes in which the surprise factor cancels out the advantage of the defender. This is how they work (or should work) most fights in RS2V, and the whole thing has a very strong realistic flavor; basically you really feel on a battlefield and you find yourself thinking and acting like, presumably, the professionals would do in the real situation.
Another very interesting tactical mechanic (and new to the series) is suppression fire. Shooting in the immediate vicinity of an enemy (one or two meters radius, approximately), even without hitting it, produces a confusing state in the target that results in disturbed vision (blur effect) and reduced combat abilities. The target is in short forced to leave the position (to cancel the effect) or stay in place in a confused state. This mechanic, in addition to giving value to a particular class (the machine gunner), rewards encirclement and concentration of fire (so teams that move in a cohesive manner).
All these features of RS2V make the game, and the fun it gets, directly dependent on the type of players you meet. While games like Battlefield 1 produce a 'light' collaboration that doesn't need special coordination to deliver a certain level of performance, titles like RS2V require teams where communication is plentiful and relevant. In short, having dedicated players who do what they have to do and who know all the 'nuances' of the classes they play is a must to get the most out of it, both in terms of fun and in terms of performance.
Technically RS2V has lights and shadows. While the scenery in general is well crafted and offers stunning views even on not-so-latest generation machines (minimum requirements are surprisingly low for a modern FPS), some textures are repetitive and not very detailed. The special effects have the same mix of greatness (napalm bomb explosions are incredible) and disappointments (effects of suppression fire bullets). But in general, if you don't dwell too much on the details, RS2V, though far from the current state of the art, is an aesthetically pleasant title full of atmosphere. The soundtrack (the classic mix of 70s hits) and special effects (except for the decidedly overly stereotypical speech) also contribute to the atmosphere.
Special mention for the functional multiplayer interface that offers the right options for a PC game: server browsing and the ability to access the information they publish -the community is already flourishing with different types of servers, and game styles, available.
Ultimately RS2V is an excellent tactical FPS that offers a precise blend of realistic and highly thematic action recreating Vietnam's battlefields with sometimes surprising precision. With due patience (to learn and search for like-minded players) it is a title that can offer many hours of fun at very high levels.
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
Processor: Intel Core i3 @ 2.5GHz or AMD Phenom @ 2.5GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 5850
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 60 GB available space