Hands-on Preview – Red Solstice 2: Survivors

I’m not going to lie, I had no idea about the existence of the Red Solstice franchise prior to tackling this small Red Solstice 2 preview build, courtesy of Ironward and 505 Games. But I totally consider it a mistake on my end: who wouldn’t like to play a squad-based real-time tactics game clearly inspired by the Alien franchise? Then again, we’re not here to reminisce about the past. We’re here to talk about Red Solstice 2: Survivors and how this game, despite not particularly leaving my jaw dropping with this demo, is shaping up to become an enjoyable sci-fi experience. It is due to be released later this year.

Red Solstice 2 Overwatch

You can use the “overwatch mode” to automatically aim and shoot at everyone inside its predetermined radius…

Red Solstice 2: Survivors follows the same premise, being a mix between Rainbow Six‘s tactical approach to solving objectives (as well as being able to play with friends in a squad), the control scheme of Diablo and your average RTS, and the Alien-inspired sci-fi horror setting. This feels like a breath of fresh air for those who are still crying about the fact the Dead Space franchise is pretty much dead. This game is story-heavy and assumes you’ve played its predecessor. If you’re like me and haven’t played the first game, you won’t understand a damn thing about its plot. Thankfully, the act of killing alien zombies in a derelict setting is still entertaining enough for you to ignore this aspect.

Red Solstice 2‘s control scheme takes some time to get used to, given the amount of actions and key shortcuts at your disposal. However, I loved the natural and non-intrusive way the game introduced its tutorial mechanics during this demo mission. Not only do you have two weapons at your disposal at any given time, but you can also decided whether you want to attack enemies manually, with your traditional aiming reticule, or by triggering an “overwatch radius” which blasts anyone within range. Thanks to the game’s surprisingly helpful AI, using this method ended up being a breeze, but I would occasionally trigger manual mode so I could shoot nearby explosive barrels in order to kill tons of enemies at once.


… or you can just aim and shoot manually, and boy does it feel cathartic to cook these zombies with a flamethrower.

Fast-paced mission aside, I was surprised with how well the game runs, being able to handle a decent framerate with high-end settings even on weak hardware. Sure, this isn’t the most gorgeous or detailed game in the world, with a ton of its field of view being hidden behind pitch-black darkness, but I appreciated the quality of its shadows and lighting effects. The sound department wasn’t anything special, despite featuring tons of voicework. The AI voice following you was surprisingly decent, but the allied soldiers who would show up later on during the mission sounded very amateurish.

In short, this Red Solstice 2: Survivors preview build was interesting enough not only to make me look forward to the final product, but also good enough to make me want to play its predecessor in order to learn more about the franchise’s lore and setting, in order to be 100% for whatever comes my way the moment the final product is released. It wasn’t the most jaw-dropping of tactical games, but its combination of intuitive controls, tactical gameplay and sci-fi horror setting, coupled with surprisingly good visuals, was enough to pique my interest.