About Red Solstice 2: Survivors
Save Humanity, No Matter the Sacrifice
Red Solstice 2: Survivors is the sequel to The Red Solstice. Play alone or with up to seven other players online in real-time gameplay to counter the mutant invasion threatening what remains of the human colonies on Mars. RS2:S was developed by Ironward and published by 505 Games. It was released on June 17, 2021, and is currently available for PC on Windows.
XCOM, But Make It Multiplayer
Tharsis has been swarmed by mutant zombies. Playing as a genetically-engineered cyborg, you lead a team of soldiers to stop the spreading virus that threatens to destroy the remaining human colonies on Mars.
The story of Red Solstice 2: Survivors is told mainly through documents and overheard NPC conversations. While the overall atmosphere of RS2:S is appropriately serious, it never goes into grimdark territory, leaving space for some comedy and fun.
Ironward has made the ambitious decision to make RS2:S an experience for both single-player and online co-op, allowing players to switch between the two modes at will. Maps can be played alone, with AI filling out the rest of the squad, or with up to eight people.
Regarding visuals, mechanics, game loops, and more, the similarity to XCOM is unmistakable. Where Red Solstice 2: Survivors largely differs is being a real-time tactics game that offers multiplayer.
Concept Rating: 3/5
Bring Out The Combat Suits
As should be expected, Red Solstice 2: Survivors has improved from its predecessor when it comes to audio and visuals.
The voice acting is excellent, but is handed out to forgettable characters, which is a missed opportunity. Occasionally, the ambience will fade to near non-existence, leaving the map feeling unfinished, but this doesn’t happen too frequently. The sound effects for guns do a great job to help you feel the weight of combat, helping to ground the experience.
The visuals are similarly improved. The textures are smoother, with more detail. Combat suits look fantastic, but the animations of characters in-game are nothing special.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 3/5
Meant For Multiplayer
A unique feature of RS2:S is its strategy and twin-stick hybrid gameplay. You can choose to set your player on “overwatch”, meaning they’ll automatically shoot at oncoming enemies that approach you. At any time, you can switch to manual aiming and firing, but being in overwatch can free you up to throw grenades, set up traps and turrets, and heal teammates. Red Solstice 2: Survivors does a good job to steer clear of feeling too much like a MOBA when it comes to spamming abilities, keeping the focus on the action as it happens.
While the game prides itself on seamless integration between single-player to multiplayer, it’s evident that the single-player aspect got the short end of the stick during development. It’s poorly balanced, with level design and AI companions resulting in an inconsistent game experience. Maps can feel empty without other players to coordinate with, and any AI that fill up your squad have trouble pathfinding.
Multiplayer offers a much better gameplay experience. The coordination and teamwork required to fend off waves of enemies pushes the player to come up with creative solutions on the spot, resulting in a much more rewarding experience.
Still, RS2:S can be inconsistent when it comes to multiplayer, too. Loading into a squad with randoms can be a big hit or miss, especially with its minimalistic chat system and complete lack of voice chat.
Gameplay Rating: 3/5
Middle Of The Line
Red Solstice 2: Survivors draws heavy inspiration from XCOM, but differs in its real-time gameplay and offers online co-op integrated with single-player campaigns. Still, multiplayer offers the best experience. RS2:S isn’t innovative when it comes to story, visuals, audio, or gameplay, but is a bold attempt at combining solo and multiplayer campaigns.
Replayability Rating: 3/5
Red Solstice 2: Survivors is best played in multiplayer, sure to be enjoyed by fans of XCOM and real-time strategy games.