There is no safety net in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam (RS2:V), you will die, and you will die a lot. With 32 enemy players out to kill you at all times, the jungle really is dark and full of terrors. Whether it’s a sniper that is an ungodly distance away, a stray grenade, or just getting rushed by enemy infantry with a bayonet, RS2:V has no shortage of ways to show you that individually players are powerless. In order to succeed in jungle combat, players have to coordinate, communicate, and work as a team in a way that isn’t seen in most games. Even when that communication involves a series of expletives and mentions of a player’s mother, it’s still quite a bit of fun.
Gameplay is simple, the usual modes are there, conquest, domination, assault, but the difference is the immediacy of death and the coordination required to move forward. All of RS2:V’s game modes can be boiled down to attacking a series of points and trying to eliminate enemy forces, but the trick is in how players approach these objectives. At the beginning of each match, players select a squad, which much like the Battlefield series has a leader that can give orders. Players also pick from a variety of roles that use different weaponry and varied equipment. Unlike other shooters, each role is limited to a certain number of players per game. This prevents an entire team from going snipers and helps keep the matches feeling balanced/realistic. It can also lead to frustration though, as most of the interesting roles get taken up quick, meaning that for the majority of matches, players will be grunts.
Luckily, even within the simplest class there is variation. Players can choose from a variety of weapons, and each of them has variants depending on their desired playstyle. Each class feels powerful, regardless of their role. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grunt or a sniper, one or two shots, and your enemy is going down. Unfortunately, this also applies to teammates, and in the heat of battle, with blurred vision from suppression and smoke everywhere, it is really easy to accidentally shoot a teammate. Luckily, most players are forgiving and won’t try to ban because of how common it is, but it means that in addition to twitch reflexes, players also need to have twitch judgment. That being said, in my time with RS2:V, I experienced quite a few blue-on-blue moments that were frustrating.
Where this can be especially difficult to manage is in the role of the commander. Each team only has one commander, and they are responsible for coordinating squad movement, calling down airstrikes, and use various abilities to buff their team. What’s tough is when one rogue squad is attacking the point at a prime time for a napalm strike. There were more than a few times when a commander called down artillery right on my position, decimating my squad for the greater good. Having a good commander is the cornerstone to winning the match. For that reason, I recommend running through some of the tutorials as practice before jumping into this role live. A bad commander is sure to lose the match and earn the ire of their more vocal teammates. The commander also has to know the map layout, which can change strategies drastically.
Each map in RS2:V feels unique in the sense that it presses different styles of combat. In the city maps, 64 players can feel cramped and a lot of times it comes down to which team can bum rush into position the fastest. On the larger, more open maps, victory requires coordination of squads often attacking from different angles. Without proper teamwork, this leads to quick deaths, and a long run back to where the action is. The long distance from spawn to action is one of my few gripes with the game. It can be incredibly unsatisfying to run around the map for five minutes trying to get into flanking position, just to get picked off by a sniper. In the end it leads to more careful planning of movement and attack, but even then, death can still come swiftly.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time with RS2:V. It’s reminiscent of the older Battlefield games, feels streamlined, and is mechanically easy to jump into. The game wastes no time getting players into the action, and also champions the idea that one soldier alone does not win a battle. This is refreshing when a lot of shooters promote lone-wolf gameplay. In matches where there is a good commander, and lots of people are communicating, RS2:V provides very fun, tactical gameplay, but even when no one is talking, it’s still great. Ultimately, I’d recommend it for fans of older shooters, but caution players new to the genre who might be frustrated by the game’s difficulty.