Red Solstice was a high-quality squad-based mouselook shooter set on Mars, in which the player controlled marines attempting to survive a monster apocalypse. They had to explore a fallen colony while teaming up with AI marines to battle zombies and mutants while securing technology and making good their escape. In addition to a stellar solo mode, it allowed up to four players to team up online in campaign or skirmish modes together. In developing Red Solstice 2, the developers have really dug in on the multiplayer aspect, refining the hybrid shooter/RTS.
When played alone, the player is put in charge of a squad made up of a specialist (the main character) and a team of three other space marines. They can fight on their own terms, or positioned in real-time, depending on the player’s preference.
In the mission I sampled, it reminded me of Starcraft missions where a team of soldiers had to work their way through enemy bases while setting up chokepoints to take on enemy swarms. It’s satisfying — the AI teammates are smart and effective once put in place, and watching zombies getting torn apart by futuristic firearms never gets old. I’m psyched to get some time with the actual multiplayer as well, since up to 8 players will be able to co-op missions to make harder difficulty levels more manageable.
Another big selling point for RS2 is the world map, from which the player’s campaign is planned. Taking a cue from classic XCOM, players are giving a diagram of Mars and presented with random events they can choose to intervene in. Sometimes they’re just a matter of a text box popping up and describing the resources players discovered, and sometimes they’re hordes of monsters which need to be destroyed. This map gives players a chance to see the alien infestation spread across Mars and choose the best way to fight back against it. Likewise, they’ll be asked to develop new tech and to train their soldiers to ensure that they’re constantly upping their fighting abilities as the story marches forward.
With a huge variety of character classes, weapon variants, and mission types, Red Solstice 2: Survivors has pushed the series fully into the strategy genre. While players will still be able to get that classic mouselook shooter action any time they want by jumping into the shoes of the main character on their own, the heart and soul of the experience is now building a fireteam, working out a strategic approach to a situation, and managing characters to make sure they’re fighting at the highest possible level. It’s going to be very interesting once the finished version is available!