| The Good
Excellent, deep strategy
Involving and innovative battle scheme
You feel like you're in an actual war
| The Bad
LONG battles (1 to 4 hours a piece)
Music is lackluster
If main character dies, you lose the battle
Konami's Ring of Red is THE GAME for strategy fans.
Set in the 1960's, ROR takes an alternate history in which
Japan didn't submit after the bombings during WWII and is
subsequently defeated when taken over by the allied forces.
After this occurs, Japan is divided into three separate countries,
each of which has a different type of government and exists
in a bitter peace. In this alternate history, the Germans
have developed walking tanks, or AFW's, which have been developed
in the on-again, off-again conflicts between the three parts
of what was once Japan.
Because Ring of Red involves mechs and strategy, a number
of people have lumped it in with the likes of the Front Mission
series. While the basic concepts are the same, there are huge
differences between the two. Unlike the quick attack/counterattack
action of FM, ROR battles are deep and involving. Each conflict
consists of 90 seconds of battle, in which AFWs are loaded,
aimed at the opponent and then fired. All the while, two squads
of ground troops can be ordered to attack the enemy or provide
ROR has a deep gameplay system which slowly becomes more apparent
the longer you play. Everything that goes on has an effect
on the combat, between the terrain to the distance between
the two combatants. If your AFW is having difficulty in certain
areas, you can switch your squads with other ones to improve
your response. Customizability is a great aspect to the gameplay.
Graphics While Ring of Red may not win any awards for it's
looks, it does deliver on the overall package. The graphics
don't push what the PS2 can do, but they're not ugly. The
details of both the backgrounds and mechs are excellent. ROR
doesn't have the glossy detail of an Armored Core, but the
smoke and fire effects are still above par and the backgrounds
and human characters are fairly well detailed.
Musically, Ring of Red is nothing to write home about. To
be honest, I found the music non-descript and for the most
part unavailble, or just forgettable. When it comes to sound
effects, though, the game excells. Explosions and ammo fire
sound real. Aurally, you feel like you're on a battlefield.
What really is impressive about this game is the overall experience.
The battles are carried out in such a fashion as to make you
feel like you're in a real skirmish. Each stage involves some
depth of strategy and planning. A novice who tends to rush
into a battle might lose often. Taking note of what each AFW
is good at and using that to your benefit will help most gamers.
With so mush that works for Ring of Red, there are a few sore
points that just can't be avoided. First of all, the graphics,
while not bad, still don't push the envelope of what the PS2
can do. If a little more development had been done in this
part, it would have gone a long way to making this the perfect
strategy game. Another point of note is the length of overall
battles. Most combat sessions will last the average gamer
anywhere from 1 to 4 hours! Without a save option in the combat
sessions, most gamers will have to make the time to play.
You can't just pick this game up and play for a half hour.
Ring of Red is a great strategy game and will keep fans of
this genre busy for weeks on end. Equal parts Front Mission
and Panzer General, ROR really goes a long way to encompass
the feeling of actual combat while letting the player figure
out the best way to win.