What is there to say about The Red Solstice...
It's an early access, kickstarter game, birthed from Starcraft and Warcraft mods, NOTD or Night Of The Dead. It's a top down, action based, strategy, horror, survival game, where you control a single soldier, in a group of 1-8 players fighting against waves of monstrous AI controlled enemies. It's being built by a small team in Croatia who are working diligently towards their project over the past few years. A month or so ago, the game's “early access” beta release was made public and was met with mixed reviews. The game was extremely buggy, crashing frequently, lacked content and was poorly balanced. Over the past month of playing some of these issues have been fixed, making it a reasonably playable game. That being said, this game is far from perfect and still needs a lot of work.
As of the time of this review, some-to-most of the bugs have been smoothed out. It's been a long and tedious road of waiting out the fixes, but the game seems to crash much less frequently lately. Though the developer was quoted in saying “the net-code is perfect,” disconnects and crashes still happen from time to time, often at teeth grinding moments. These crashes come at a loss of precious experience, which following many 'balancing changes' has become more difficult to accumulate.
The game balancing has been getting tweaked every week to make it increasingly difficult for the average player. Without a solid team, with each player having individually invested over 100+ hours, the chance of survival is very low. The learning curve in the game is already steep, developing 'run away skills' and learning from tactical errors (death), it's hard to not believe that the developers want this game to be as difficult as possible. As of official patch 1.94 the news release title is “Now Dying Has Just Become Even More Fun,” which though it sounds like an oxymoron, describes the way the developers want the game to be played. The difficulty rankings have four stages from an easy mode for new players and the soldier mode for everyone else, to bleeding edge veteran and unplayable hard mode. (The last patch raised the difficulty on soldier, so I can't say just how reasonable the veteran mode is.) Other small tweaks have also been continuously implemented such as making followers too slow to keep up when the heat of battle is on, preventing anyone but leadership characters from using several key items, upgrading health and damage of enemies while decreasing damage output of players, and many others. These tweaks gear the player towards a singular path of gameplay that the development team have in mind, which begins to limit feasible gameplay options.
The amount of content in the game so far is extremely limited, but with a lot of potential. So far there is no single-player mode outside of a Tutorial, so the majority of gameplay is multi-player focused. There are other game options that are not available at this time, like single player and mission mode, but there is little information about them and they are far from being released. This being said, there are only two game modes available right now on two maps: defend the bunker, and survival mode. There are options to add lengthy primary and miniature secondary missions, fast mode that speeds up waves, nightmare mode that brings in bosses every round and others. Each of which change the game mechanics slightly and offer potentially greater rewards per option choice. There are also a hand full of characters including a grunt like assault class, a sniper marksman, medic, demolition and others. They are all unique and have their own perks and uses, though some of the perks are broken, missing, or just completely useless. Many players will kick you out of their game lobbies if they find that your build isn't what they want, or you might find yourself being ridiculed in game for a small mistake made, whether you knew what you were doing was wrong or not. This mentality of “my house, my rules” has created a small player base, and has limited game type availability.
I really do mean the player base is small. Following many patches that made the game more difficult and the amount of frustrating and game-breaking bugs, the majority of the player base have either moved on or decided that they will wait for the game to come closer towards a fully realized project. What is left has been described as an unruly class system of elite veteran players who stuck out the storm and are worn around the edges, and newer players who the elites seem to clash with. This isn't to say that a new player can't find supportive team mates, but there is a lot of discrimination, misinformation, poor sports and 'know-it-all' types that start verbal confrontations on both forums and in-game. It's a mixed bag of chips, but nothing that an experienced game-player wouldn't expect. This being said, because the community is so small at 60-150 players online at a time, be ready to run into the same people over and over again. That obnoxious guy that you fought with in the forums will inevitably end up in one of your games, and he has explosives in his inventory, so be aware!
Though this game lacks much needed fluidity and polish, I personally enjoy the game. I've put in over 200 hours at the time of this review and plan on putting in more. I can't say that I will dedicate as much time though, as the game's content has run dry for me and I find myself at times fearing retribution from the developers from writing a disagreeing statement in the Steam forums and for this sour review. As a new player, online guides are available, and there are helpful players but I wouldn't bother putting in the time if you don't already know all of the frustrations of what an early access game with an disgruntled community is. I would love to recommend this game to my friends and get them engaged. It would be great to bring in new players and breathe some new life into this game. It would be great... but I can't do that. Not at 20 dollars. Not with the community as angry as it is at the questionable changes being made. Not with the lack of content. This game has promise, let's wait and see what happens.
Due to some of the comments left here, RESPECTFULLY, please don't comment here if you intend to start a flame war, slander me, or if you haven't fully read the review and have nothing constructive to say. This is a review from the perspective of myself and the people that I play with. This review was carefully written and I stand by everything I've put in the review. That being said, obviously it doesn't represent the developers or friends of the developers, so please keep that in mind. If you don't agree with what I've said here, that's perfectly fine! I'm glad that you have a differing opinion! Feel free to play the game yourself and write your own review and feel free to state whatever you like! If you don't think what I've said here is accurate and is misleading, feel free to also check the 'unhelpful button,' if it doesn't help you! This review was written because The people I've played with selected me to voice the state of the game.
Please, lets not continue the negative and often pointless banter that has been so prevalent on the forums here.