It’s extremely rare you ever see a shooter cover the Vietnam War. As one of the bloodiest engagements of modern warfare, the conflict in Vietnam signaled one of the first and most brutal examples of limited warfare ever seen in the late 20th century. Never afraid to take on authenticity and bring us the most deeply accurate of shooters, Tripwire Interactive and Antimatter Games of Red Orchestra fame have turned their attention to this controversial conflict and are diving into the pale with Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. At PAX South, we caught up to Tripwire to have a peek at Antimatter’s take on the jungle and guerrilla warfare that defined this war and walked away feeling like this might be the most proficient shooter to approach the subject of Vietnam yet.
Our demo put us on the side of the U.S. Armed Forces in Skirmish Mode. Skirmish Mode is a small 16-player engagement of eight vs. eight which plays out similar to conquest or domination modes in other shooters. There are three control points on the map and players must work to gain control of all three points in order to gain dominance. Where it differs is with the addition of a counter. Players can respawn until their respective team’s counter runs out of time. The only way to gain more time and by extension, gain respawns is to capture control points. If you die and your team’s counter is at zero, you must wait for your team to capture a point in order to get back into the fight. If a side can be kept from gaining control points and restoring their counter, they can be cut off from reinforcements and snuffed out. It was an interesting new twist on an otherwise traditional mode that allowed for a little more strategic consideration when cooperating with your team and considering which points to attack.
Cover is crucial in Rising Storm 2. Fight out in the open at your own risk.
The map we played on contained a vast network of trenches with small outposts in between and a few clearings to traverse at your own risk. Staying low and navigating the relative safety of the trenches felt tense as we carefully worked our way toward our objectives. Antimatter and Tripwire have always been dedicated to delivering environmental authenticity and years of experience in this matter came through in stellar fashion in both presenting open and close-quarters engagements, as well as the usual standard of deteriorating cover that comes with a foolish enemy trying to hide behind wood or cloth for too long. In proper Antimatter Games fashion, you won’t be a bullet sponge in this game. Get caught out without your finger on the trigger and you’ll be down and out before you know what hit you.
Various team roles offered a grand display of the gear as well. Many limited roles are offered such as sniper and heavy machine gun, but if you can’t get into one of these roles, or the one you want isn’t available, you can always pick up the role of a grunt with standard weaponry on either side. Returning from previous Antimatter titles is the squad function as well and both squad and communication functions have been upgraded from previous showings. If you want to group up with your buddies to do some specific coordinating on any given game, the possibility is there and looks fairly easy to use.
Rising Storm 2 will feature over 30 weapons historically accurate to both sides of the Vietnam conflict.
As for weaponry, the US Forces get their hands on the likes of the Grease Gun, M14 rifle, the M79 grenade launcher, M60 Machine Gun, and of course the new yet far from perfected M16 assault rifle. Meanwhile, on the Vietcong side, we saw use of the Type 56 (Chinese version of the AK-47 rifle), MAT 49 submachine gun, and SKS Carbine. Small arms seemed far more balanced for Rising Storm 2: Vietnam in comparison to the far superior US military firepower over Japan featured in the first Rising Storm, but the historical accuracy of each of the weapons akin to their actual performance and appearance seemed well done and intact for what we saw during our time with the game. Many applicable weapons also feature an affixable bayonet to get in close and nasty if you need to.
Fair play is a big part of the experience for Rising Storm 2 Vietnam. What that means is you won’t be building experience from levels in order to unlock the gear that will put you on tier with your fellow players. In our demo, it was refreshing to see that we could get our hands on most of the equipment available with only limitations of specialized roles keeping us from playing with a particular gun. Instead, experience will go towards cosmetic upgrades that can be used to customize the look of your US or Vietnamese soldiers. Special uniforms, badges, tattoos, and more have been confirmed and will be the true indicator of a seasoned player versus a relative newcomer instead of better weaponry.
Do well and you can customize your soldier with quite a few cosmetic options.
Though we didn’t see it in the demo, Supremacy comes in as the large-scale combat offering we’ve come to expect from Antimatter. This is the 64 player large-scale combat mode. Within it, you can expect to see the heavier armaments and trickier tactics of both the US and Vietcong forces. Napalm strikes, artillery barrages, surface-to-air missile strikes, traps, ambushes, Vietcong tunnels, and US helicopters can expect to be seen on the chaotic battlefields of a Supremacy map, meant to expose players to both the full extent of guerilla warfare and the brutal and frenetic sides of the conflict.
We didn’t know what to expect walking into a shooter based around the Vietnam War, but the pedigree of Antimatter and Tripwire and their dedication to realism is on full-display here. The weapons feel perfectly proper, the map was exciting and varied, and the tools for team communication, role placement, and squad formation look easy as can be. Skirmish was a fantastic teaser and though it’s a mode we’ll go back to again and again for those small and cozy matches, but what we’ve tasted has us hungry for the main course we expect to see in Supremacy and other modes when Rising Storm 2: Vietnam comes out.
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is expected to arrive sometime in late spring or early summer of 2017.