Hands On With Rising Storm’s Island Assault

Tripwire is set to release a new free content pack for Rising Storm – the Pacific Theatre cousin of Red Orchestra 2 – and it’s called Island Assault. The name implies much. I had a play with it over the weekend, and I’ll tell you about that experience, below. (There’s a trailer, too!)

Red Orchestra 2 (and subsequently Rising Storm) represent some of the toughest and most rewarding multiplayer FPS combat available on the PC right now. The historic battles are tough as nails, on meticulously crafted maps, and players are challenged with realistic, tricky weapon handling, and brutal, rapid death. As such it’s a fine game for a committed multiplayer FPS player, even if it did mean that I got completely stomped by Rising Storm veterans in the first couple of rounds of my hands-on with Island Assault.

So yes, details: the core of this update is a campaign thinger that reminds me of the dynamic campaign mod for Men Of War. Basically it allows the two sides to play through a series of maps, making for a larger contest over time. The winning teams vote on which territory to attack, and territories give resources, which count towards overall victory. It’s a minor strategic flourish, but it adds to a story level that the game lacked. This feature was apparently always intended for RO2 itself, but got cut before release. The side-effect of this mode is that the historically accurate situations on the maps can now be reversed, and the Japanese can find themselves attacking in what would have previously been an American assault.

This new mode means that players can settle into a full afternoon’s worth of a campaign, lasting up to about seven hours. I can see a few hardcore folks doing this, but it’s equally possible for this to run on public servers and for folks to drop in and out.

There’s a new map in this bunch, based on the island of Betio. This, historically, was the scene of horrible conflict during the battle of Tarawa. The US forces have to attack to knock out key defences on the island. I had a play of this and found the brutal, devastated terrain to be tough going indeed.

Stuff like Island Assault makes me wish I had more time for multiplayer shooters. It reminds me just how much cool content gets crafted for these games, content that it best appreciated by really settling in and getting good at the game. There’s a bunch of refinements coming in this update that will be best appreciated by long-term RO2 and RS players, too, such as new weapons, as well as changes to movement, recoil, and other nods to realism – stuff that sets these games apart from even the likes of Arma. That sim might seem realistic and brutal, but the experience of playing through an evening of RS knocks the breath out of you. That’s the hard stuff.

Anyway, here’s a trailer:


  1. Prolar Bear says:

    I’m on the fence about this. Does anybody know if RO2 will get a discount for this update?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      This update is free.

      • HybridHalo says:

        I think Prolar Bear is inquiring as to whether there will be a discount/free weekend period surrounding the updates release. Ro2 used to have reasonably frequent free weekends where the entry fee was lowered to attract newcomers – which appeared to be a success, as my little groups ratio of success escalated during and after these periods.

        The last one was in April alongside the new maps update and accompanied an 85% discount.

        Anyway, Prolar Bear – Jump in on a free weekend if you’re really unsure. It’s great, though – Rising Storm is grim as anything, and it’s fantastic.

      • Prolar Bear says:

        Thanks folks! Exactly, I think I’ll wait for the update and hope for a discount.

    • Bweahns says:

      Gamers are morons for not wanting to play the game with a 250 ping because the only populated server is overseas somewhere?

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Looks like it’s a Steam weekend deal this weekend. Rising Storm for £3.74 (which I think includes the base game for free)

  2. Dezztroy says:

    The dynamic campaign mode has been in RO2 since forever. It’s not anything special, really.

    • Synesthesia says:

      This. I’ve been playing dynamic campaigns iwth the russian/german maps forever. Whats this nonsense about it being new?

      • CoryHalavan says:

        It was added a few months or over a year not sure after launch so anyone who played before could have easily missed its release.

      • rammjaeger says:

        An incomplete version of Multiplayer Campaign mode was discovered by some enterprising community members that figured out how to enable it some months ago. This version was incomplete and missing a lot of functionality. Additionally, it only featured the Stalingrad campaign. What is being released today is the actual official (i.e. not leaked) complete version of Multiplayer Campaign with a Pacific Campaign as well as the Stalingrad Campaign.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      It’s a pacific campaign that’s new. I have been playing on a server with a pacific campaign but it uses the eastern front map overview.

  3. JaffaTheCake says:

    I just noticed that I have the Rising Storm Beta on Steam. When did that happen?

    • Monkeh says:

      Red Orchestra 2 = Rising Storm

      They should’ve deleted the beta from our library after it was done, but I guess they haven;t.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Tripwire use the beta to test new builds of the game and run exclusive community events. It’s utterly useless for anyone not interested in counting the number of glitches that can be encountered during a test game of Red Orchestra 2.

  4. airtekh says:

    It’s nice that the update is free, especially the maps, I’d like to see more multiplayer games do this. I think it’s a silly idea when maps are sold as DLC, it fractures the community.

    As for the game, I do own Rising Storm, but it never really sucked me in like I thought it would. It’s good, but I think it’s mainly the setting that doesn’t do anything for me.

    Natural Selection 2 still reigns supreme as my multiplayer game of choice.

    • Arona Daal says:

      Yeah ,imho RO2 is a pretty overhyped Run of the Mill Realism Shooter.

      I for my Part bought it mainly because i heard the Tanks are modeled on the inside (you can shoot inside through the openings etc.).
      Sadly i have never seen *any* Vehicles in Game so far.
      Are the Servers only running Infantry Maps or am i missing something?

      I truly cannot see what this has on more open WW2 Shooters like Forgotten Hope 2 or even Heroes and Generals .

      • Scumbag says:

        When did you play it last? From release till about three quarters of a year later a lot of servers turned off the tanks because of the horrid AI programing that the tank hull gunners had. All you needed to do was park the tank about 100m away from the front line with a nice clear angle before you where the enemy would have to run by and the Hull gunner would almost instantly head shot you as soon as you entered line for sight for fire.
        They did fix that issue eventually, but a lot of servers still have tanks turned off.

      • shagohad says:

        overhyped? Not sure what it is hyped for… but its really not a “Realism” shooter, there are lots of pretty gamey mechanics but it is a hell of a lot of fun. As for the tank interiors, there are no tanks in RS yet, however they are planned (I believe) but there are in Heroes of Stalingrad which you get when you buy RS. I would recommend checking that out too, switching between the two theaters is nice.

        edit: also in comparison to other WW2 shooters it is an incredible smooth and detailed game, its hard to describe but once you start playing it the fluidity of movement and shooting is really quite nice and tips more towards positioning/flanking more than just ability to shoot noobs in the head from distances

  5. Scumbag says:

    Really like the map support Tripwire give their games. While on release most of their games usually seem to lack content, stuff like RO2 and Killing Floor usually bulk out their maps and gun count a great deal over time.
    I think they have a second map contest going on for RS, plus some very nice looking RO2 ones also moving up, but time will tell on how they turn out.
    I still want to see more tanks and the proposed troop transports, but with these updates I’m happy enough.

    Well, despite I have a compulsion to grind and there will soon be another SMG, but hey!

  6. Isometric says:

    I have so much love for this game, everything about it is just so wonderful. Can’t wait to get stuck into this.

  7. Fiesta1 says:

    Showing Stalingrad footage with the Japanese Pacific music perfectly shows how TWI failed on the concept.

    And the map seems nice, but all the maps in Rising Storm have proven way too small for 64 players. One big, senseless meatgrinder.