The Red Solstice is a tactical co-op game that has you and 7 other players trying to survive on large maps, with many classes and equipment to choose from, as well as a single player campaign mode which helps explain the story behind the game.
There are many classes that can be customized with weapons, boosters, abilities, and even ammo types. Playing the survival mode will earn experience towards your overall and class ranks, which grant passive bonuses to your attributes, and allows you to play as different classes and increase the number of ways you can customize them. Some of the classes include the medic that has various healing and supportive abilities, hellfire that specializes in various ways of using fire, demolition that amplifies explosives used, and the marksman who can decimate enemies with guns.
Survival mode is the main part of the game, where you will spend around an hour exploring a large map collecting various things and completing missions, while killing enemies trying to attack you. This mode can be done on a variety of maps, difficulty modes, and can have many modifiers turned on or off that can drastically change how it is played, such as more enemies, what kind of missions you want to appear, or making it so staying outside is hazardous. It can be played alone, with 3 AI, or up to 7 other players. Other than differing layouts of buildings and outside areas, each map may also affect the stats of enemies and how much experience you earn. As time goes on, enemies start getting stronger and more of them will start appearing from all over, and there will be unique enemies that will appear at times. While roaming around the map finding supplies and killing enemies, missions will appear somewhere on the map which will either progress along the story or also grant bonuses.
Single player campaign mode consists of playing through 10 levels that focus on giving you the background story of the game. There is some customization to your characters just like in survival mode, where you can choose which attributes to increase, characters only have one class available to them, and other customization options must be first unlocked by finding items during levels. The maps during these levels are the same as survival maps except most areas have been blocked off so you can’t explore everywhere. Gameplay is pretty much the same, except you have waypoints to get to instead of free roam survival, and it is vital to explore outside of the objective to find upgrades to use later.
There is a lot to learn, but since there are many classes and you will be playing with 7 other people most of the time, you should easily be able to still enjoy the game. There is probably no way for people looking for a quick game to enjoy The Red Solstice, since completing a round of survival can take around an hour to do. The main campaign does go faster, but the levels still last a good amount of time and if you’re trying to find everything on each level, they will take even longer to complete.
There is a lot to learn about the game, from game mechanics to knowing how to put classes together, though there isn’t much actual skill involved. The main campaign has two harder modes that will penalize you when characters die, and the hardest will even force you to start over if everyone dies. Survival mode has many maps to play on that have complex layouts and grant enemies bonuses, difficulty settings that pretty much require a group of maxed out players, and you can even try to beat the game by yourself. There is more than enough reasons for hardcore players to enjoy the game. The only issue with playing the game on harder modes is that even if you have a high rank and lots of experience playing the game, you need a group that is just experienced as you are, so you will usually be playing on easier difficulties even though you should be playing on harder ones.
The main campaign has ten levels and they don’t take too long to complete, but you can easily spend a long time on each one since you have no idea where upgrades are located and are forced to pretty much search every corner of each level in case you miss one. Survival mode though can last an hour each time you do it, and if you plan on playing the game for a long time and leveling up your rank, you can expect the game to last you hundreds of hours.
The game will probably be seeing a lot of future polish in all areas, but you can also expect a longer campaign and even additional classes, such as an engineer. There are a good amount of options to change, including all of the expected volume and graphical settings. The most important part of the options menu is what you want to see on your interface in the game, as lots of information can be turned on or off about enemies, objects, and players in game, depending on how cluttered you want the screen to be.
The graphics and texture quality isn’t the best, but this isn’t a problem at all because the game is almost always in dark locations, the camera is high in the air, and since the map is large and loaded all at once, better graphics would just slow the game down. Even so, the game already doesn’t run perfectly when maxed out and there are even stutters at random moments during play.
There isn’t much variety in sound whether it be voices, music, or sound affects. Different songs play depending on what menu you are in and while playing, but most of the time there is no music while playing the game and only starts when a large wave of enemies are coming towards you. Sound effects in the game are useful since large enemies will announce their arrival by a unique screech or roar so you know what is coming. There is voice acting during the main campaign and missions during survival, but your characters tend to say the same thing over and over when moving.
The game in general feels unpolished in almost every area, but there aren’t really any actual major bugs to worry about. One thing that is noticeable and annoying is that auto fire doesn’t always have the best detection, as enemies can walk down a hallway or get stuck on a corner and attack you while your character can’t “detect” them.
It may not be the prettiest/best sounding/polished game out there, but it is still one of my favorite games that I have played for the site and will most likely continue playing it for some time. Most games these days lack depth, difficulty, and other elements that exist in The Red Solstice, which is what I’m looking for in games.
While the survival mode of the game is fun to play over and over, the single player story mode campaign needs some work. As I played through it, it felt like the developers kept getting lazier and lazier with the level designs, and it didn’t help that it was comprised of repurposed survival mode maps. The main thing that I didn’t like was that most levels had equipment and weapons hidden in areas that would unlock them for future missions, and while looking for and finding them were fun, the design of maps didn’t work well for this. Many maps were too big and, while most areas were zoned off so you couldn’t explore the entirety of large maps, some weren’t blocked off so I didn’t know if it was a mistake or I should waste hours going around and searching every single building since there might be something in one of them. There are no indicators of whether you’ve found everything in a map, so you either have to look it up online somewhere or search every mission over and over until you find everything.
Another thing that I would like to see getting some polish is making the AI characters do more than just follow you around. It is nice to completely control them, but at the same time they need to be able to do more on their own than just follow you and shoot. Sometimes they won’t even shoot at enemies, especially when you tell them to go pick up and item or do something else.
The Red Solstice costs 25 dollars. If you’re a hardcore gamer and are looking for a long lasting game with lots of depth, customization, and difficulty, The Red Solstice is definitely worth playing. Even if you’re somewhat of a casual gamer, the game just requires knowledge and not much actual skill and you will always be playing with a bunch of people.