Review: Rise of the Triad (The new one.)

riseI want to start this off by saying that I grew up playing the original Rise of the Triad quite a bit, and the initial news of a ‘reboot’ was enough to send me off the deep end. Luckily the announcement was soon followed by some preliminary gameplay footage and my faith was restored. Rise of the Triad was the game I was looking forward to most in 2013.

The basic gist of Rise of the Triad is that it is onegreat homage to the early days of FPS games, before they were really referred to as FPS games. It’s a run-and-gun, good time shooter loaded with violence and a healthy dose of humor. Since the game doesn’t take itself very seriously, you’d think it’d suffer from it’s apparent lack of seriousness, but it thrives on that goofiness. In simple terms, it’s a straight-forward shooter game that pulls out all the stops and let’s you plunge headfirst with your guns blazing.

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The original game was quite…violent.

Rise of the Triad plays much like you would expect a classic FPS to play. You have your basic movement, firing, an open/use function and that is about it. Although it plays like a vintage shooter game, it has been updated to 2013 standards to bring it up to date. RoTT allows you to jump, use a fluid mouse aim and some weapons allow you to use their sights for more precise aiming. Since the game is so fast paced, you will not be using the gun sights as much as you’d think.

RoTT has 5 characters to choose from, each having their own attributes which are a tradeoff between agility and toughness. Some are faster but easier to kill, and some are the complete opposite. Regardless of which character to you choose, the game still operates rapidly. Since the game hearkens back to the heyday of shooters, modern conventions such as cutscenes or overblown stories aren’t present and map exploration and shooting is the primary focus. Granted there are a few cutscenes, they aren’t frequent and more like endings to the episodes.

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Living up to the hype.

Taking down the baddies in unique and sometimes disgusting ways is made possible with the vast arsenal available in the game. The primary bullet-type weapons (Pistol, Dual Pistols and MP-40) have infinite ammo, while the power weapons (Bazooka, Flame Wall, etc.) have limited ammo amounting to around 8 or so shots.

Along with the cache of weapons, you’ll get a few power-ups which come in a wide variety of types and insanity. One, found early on, is called God-Mode. This is a limited duration buff that allows you to basically shoot blue balls of death which instantly kills anything around it’s impact zone, like the BFG in Doom. Another power-up mimics the effects of a psychedelic drug trip, and another allows you to become a dog. Like I said previously, this game is loaded with humor.

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The levels are quite lovely, and an absolute joy to dismember baddies in.

The game is structured into 4 episodes, each with a few levels and a boss level. The bosses are tougher bad guys who will take some time and bullets to take down. The level designs are based on the classic game from what I can tell, but re-imagined as a cohesive environment instead of weird looking tile worlds you found in the original game. The levels have similar flows and layouts, so it’s definitely got that old school exploration design at work.

RoTT isn’t a big budget, blockbuster game, but that doesn’t mean it looks like a bargain bin budget title. The art direction really brings the world together to capture the essence of a weird military/paranormal castle/bunker/base on an island in the pacific. Character models look great, while mimicking the rigid stance of the original cast. The game is built on the Unreal 3 engine, which means you can expect great visual fidelity with a great deal of performance. There were only a few times when my machine would hiccup, and that was when there were about 20 dudes in my face shooting rockets at me.

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Don’t let these guys beg too long, they’ll get back up and ace your face.

The updated soundtrack is also a welcome addition to the reboot, bringing some hard-hitting metal jams updating the classic tunes. The Apogee intro alone is worth the $15 IMHO. Even though there is a stellar new soundtrack, you have the option to play the game with the original MIDI tunes. I played the first few levels with this option and it provided for one hell of a nostalgia trip. Along with the new soundtrack, we get a brand new set of sounds paying homage to the original game.

RoTT also comes with a very classicly-styled Multiplayer mode that is fast paced chaos. Since I haven’t really played a game this quick in a while, I was quite rusty trying to get some frags. You can choose from the standard 5 characters, as well as several enemies as playable characters in multiplayer. There are three modes to choose from at launch, with 5 multiplayer maps. Hopefully the community will do a great deal more to appease our thirst for new stomping grounds.

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This is how you promote a game.

Rise of the Triad has ticked every box on my wish list for a RoTT reboot. It’s fast, violent and funny. You can really tell it was a labor of love on behalf of Interceptor Studios, who I feel would have given this game away for free if the could have, just so you would play it. It’s non-stop fun from the second you pick it up, to the second it chimes 3 AM and you have to go to bed. For a $15 game, I really don’t see how you could go wrong in picking it up.

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