Combining strategy with real-time action, The Red Solstice has proved to be popular with PC gamers since its 2015 release.
Developer Ironward hopes that its follow up, Red Solstice 2: Survivors will strike an even greater chord when it launches next month. Having spent a little hands-on time with it, it’s clear that it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, Red Solstice 2: Survivors is simply shaping up to bigger and better while also placing a little more emphasis on strategy. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
In Red Solstice 2: Survivors, you take the role of the Executor. And as your name suggests, it’s up to you to get things done. Leading Cell, a secret taskforce set up to combat the STROL mutant invasion, you’ll take command of your squad and fight grotesque mutants across a variety of environments. Alongside completing objectives, of course.
Jumping into Red Solstice 2: Survivors‘ campaign, a handy tutorial will get you up to speed, but there’s much more to learn if you wish to master the game. Played from an isometric viewpoint, you move your character around like you would in a CRPG – by pointing and clicking. Picking up items, interacting with objects, and making use of your skills is also instigated in a similar manner. It’s when horrifying mutants appear, eager to inflict pain upon you, that you’re left to make a choice that greatly changes how the game plays out.
With the press of a button, you can place your character in Overwatch – a mode that strategy gamers are likely to know very well – allowing them to automatically shoot at any enemies that move into range. This allows players to offload some of the pressure of combat, instead allowing them to focus on their positioning and other gameplay elements. It’s not mandatory, however. Players can also choose to fire directly, aiming with their mouse and doing bonus damage to boot. It’s all a matter of choice.
After completing the tutorial, players are introduced to the world map, where all the preparation occurs between missions. Here, resources can be spent on research, opening up new items for development as well as upgrades. Your character’s equipment and skills can also be played around with, tweaking them to your liking. And then, when you’re all ready for action, you can scan your current area for new missions.
In the few early campaign missions I’ve played through, I’ve been tasked with saving fellow soldiers and powering up terminals, all the while bombarded by hordes of mutant monstrosities. They attack in numbers – the weakest go down easily, but larger, more formidable mutants are resilient, putting the pressure on as they inch ever closer to your position. Alongside the grim and often very dark environments, Red Solstice 2: Survivors piles on the atmosphere. Especially considering the visuals are very nice indeed.
While Red Solstice 2: Survivors is perfectly serviceable as a single-player game, like its predecessor, it’ll likely shine when played in co-op. Up to eight players can squad up, tackling the game’s missions as one co-ordinated unit. With multiple difficulties to choose from, they can make the experience as demanding as they like too. Of course, the best squad will have a mix of the six available classes in the game, and will work to each of their strengths.
When Red Solstice 2: Survivors launches it will feature over 15 main missions and more than 20 side missions, each with a focus on either exploration, stealth or survival to allow for some gameplay variety. And once players are done with those, there’s also a skirmish mode that allows for even more hair-raising scenarios. What we’ve played so far gives us promise that real-time strategy fans will be in for a treat when the game launches, especially if they’re also fond of some co-op action.
Red Solstice 2: Survivors launches on PC on 17th June. Wishlist it on Steam now.