The Red Solstice was one of those hidden co-op indie games we adored a few years back, so it's great to see it getting a proper sequel. The Red Solstice 2: Survivors takes place in the year 117 after Earth when corporations rush to secure dominance over the last remnants of humanity. Like it's predecessor, players team up with up to eight friends in online co-op as they work strategically to lead operatives, research new technologies and counter a mutant invasion taking over the red planet.
Similar to the first game, Red Solstice 2 utilizes real-time squad combat with different classes (for now, we only have access to Assault and Medic but six more will be available) as you make your way across a map completing various objectives and fighting off the hordes of STROL mutants. You'll have to manage ammo consumption, health, and time spent going to each objective as the number and difficulty of enemies ticks up as you play. You earn profile experience as you play and earn skill points that you can apply to a skill tree to unlock universal benefits, and between missions you can change your class loadout, including weapons and abilities. So if you enjoyed the overall gameplay of the first game (which we did), then Red Solstice 2 isn't a departure. In fact, it feels like more of a refinement than anything.
Here are just a few noticeable differences between Red Solstice 2 and the first game:
- Campaign supports 8 player online co-op - previously it was a single-player only affair with A.I. teammates, which you can still use if you only have a few folks with whom to play. The campaign also has gotten an overhaul that feels like it has gotten a little X-Com mixed in where you're scanning for missions, managing the overall STROL infection, and doing research to get new gear/abilities.
- "Run and gun" thanks to new "Overwatch" ability - one of the best QOL improvements, you can now reserve a portion of your energy (which is used to activate your class abilities) in order to go into "overwatch," i.e., automatically shoot at things as they get within a defined radius. No more stopping to shoot, just do it while you move/explore. You can turn it off to manually aim and boost your chance at getting critical hits and get that energy back.
- Better graphics on level 4 - the game now uses the Unreal Engine and the visual improvements are noticeable.
The handful of times we played Red Solstice, we enjoyed our time overall and "just wished this thing was different or better." The sequel seems to directly address a number of those areas so we're all eager to check out the full release when it arrives next month.