Ring of Red


Ring of Red

Infobox VG| title = Ring of Red


caption= North American box art
developer = Konami
publisher = Konami
designer =
engine =
released = vgrelease|JP=September, 2000vgrelease|NA=March 12, 2001vgrelease|EU=June 15, 2001
genre = Turn-based tactics
modes = Single player
ratings = CERO: 12 and Up
ESRB: Teen (T)
platforms = PlayStation 2
media = CD-ROM
requirements =
input = PlayStation 2 controller

"Ring of Red" is an alternate history turn-based strategy video game released by Konami for the PlayStation 2 console. It was one of the last PS2 games released in America as a PS2 CD-ROM.

Plot

"Ring of Red" is set in the 1960s in the aftermath of World War II. According to the alternate timeline, Japan did not surrender in 1945, and the United States of America did not deploy the atomic bomb, although it was still produced and the plans stolen by the USSR. Instead, Japan was captured after a daring invasion costing many lives on both sides in Operation Downfall by the Allied Forces. With the Cold War looming over the horizon, Hokkaidō was ceded to the Soviet Union, and north part of Japan was partitioned into Communist North Japan and Democratic South Japan, with both fighting each other in the Great Asian War. North Japan was supported by the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, while the United States supported the democratic South while Germany made engineering contributions to both sides.

In 1950, a terrible war occurred in Japan, which lasted three years and killed half the population when Soviet-backed North Japan invaded the South. The Japanese War ended with a strategic victory for South Japan and its Western allies.

A significant development in this timeline is the design and deployment of Armoured Fighting Walkers, or AFWs. AFWs are mechanised self-propelled artillery with high mobility and durability. They were used with negligible effect in the European theatre of war, but in the rugged Japanese terrain, AFWs were used with devastating effect, acting as the backbone of military forces of both sides.

The game begins in 1964, 14 years after the Japan War has ended, with players assuming control of the protagonist, half-Japanese, half-German pilot named Masami von Weizegger, as the leader of a team of AFW pilots in a mission to retrieve a prototype AFW, stolen by a North Japanese agent. As the game progresses, Weizegger and his team must overcome North Japanese reinforcements and deal with the possibility of all-out war as they try to prevent the cutting-edge AFW from falling into the wrong hands.

Plot differences

In the Japanese version, it is stated that Schreigen and Rodriguez are former members of the Nazi Party but evaded the punishment in return for information regarding AFWs and allowed to stay in South Japan. There are no references to this in the EU and US versions. Also, unlike what is written in the story of English versions, the United States did bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki and afterwards invaded Japan with Operation Downfall. In the EU and US versions, the game does not mention the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, although they still mention nuclear weapons. [cite web|title= Ring of Red for PlayStation 2|url= http://www.mobygames.com/game/ring-of-red/|accessdate= 2007-04-03]

Gameplay

Combat is split between a turn-based battlefield for moving units, and a real-time mode for combat. The latter includes the AFWs moving through their attack patterns and support troops that have their own abilities.

trategic map

In each mission, players deploy their units on a map. Each square contains terrain that provide movement and defense bonuses or penalties. The player and the enemy take turns in moving their units around the map in order to complete certain objectives, such as pursuing a unit, capturing a town or protecting a convoy. Some missions have branching objectives that give different bonuses.

Players can engage in combat by moving within distance of an enemy unit. The starting range in combat depends on the square from which the attack is made:
*Adjacent square: Short range
*Diagonal square: Medium range
*Two squares away: Long rangeIf players are successful in destroying the enemy AFW, the enemy unit is removed from the map and players gain experience points. If the enemy destroys a player AFW, the AFW is removed until the next mission.

In addition to combat, players can capture cities, which can provide more troops for recruitment and heal friendly troops, and can dedicate turns to repairing their units. Each mission has parameters which result in player defeat, such as not completing the mission within the time limit or losing Weizegger's AFW.

"Ring of Red" features a day/night cycle. Each move takes a certain amount of time, which influences how often units can be issued orders, which in turn affects what time of day combat takes place. In addition, there is simulated weather and natural disasters.

Combat

Combat takes place in a real-time environment. Players begin with their AFW standing in opposition to the enemy AFW. The objective of combat is to destroy the enemy AFW. If either AFW is destroyed, combat ends and the unit is removed from the strategic map. If neither AFW is destroyed within the prescribed time limit, the battle ends in a draw. Units can also end combat by escaping from the battlefield or by engaging in close combat, which automatically ends the match.

Combat consists of players moving and operating their AFW and issuing orders to accompanying infantry. AFWs must wait until their main weapon is loaded before they can attack, either against the enemy AFW itself or its infantry support. When aiming, players are given a first-person view from the AFW along with a hit probability percentage. The more time spent aiming, the more accurate the shot becomes and the more damage is done. Base accuracy is dependent on range and battle conditions, although the rate of increase of accuracy slows down as it increases.

Conditions on the strategic map strongly influence the battle conditions. Battles fought at night receive a penalty in base accuracy. Different types of terrain grant different bonuses and penalties to base accuracy. Furthermore, various terrains can also block attacks randomly, such as trees in forests.

Players also have access to Maximum Attacks, which are unique abilities that can only be used a certain amount of times in each mission. Maximum Attacks vary between pilots, but include techniques such as powerful shots, dodging, instant movement and instant loading. Some crews also provide special shells which can provide illumination or do devastating damage against AFWs or infantry.

Armoured Fighting Walkers

AFWs are mechas armed with weapons such as artillery and machine guns. Some have arms, allowing them to utilise melee combat. AFWs are the units that players directly control, and are supported by infantry and crew members. There are several types of AFW, each with their own properties and abilities. Some of the AFWs are depicted in videos both after turning the game on and during the game itself: such videos are actual World War II combat footage either with the AFWs overlaid on top of tanks in the video or completely recreated with computer graphics.

tandard AFW

Standard AFWs are bipedal mechas designed for all-round performance. Physically, a Standard AFW has a humanoid appearance, with legs, arms, and head. The right arm is usually replaced with a powerful cannon and a machine gun as secondary armament, while the left arm is protected by a shield that absorbs damage. The main character, Weizegger, drives a Standard AFW armed with an 88 mm cannon.

Standard AFWs have moderate speed in and out of battle, have a fair amount of hit points and possess high damage potential with their cannons. Additionally, Standard AFWs receive reduced damage with their shields, but lose the defensive bonus after the shield sustains too much damage. Being all-round designs, Standard AFWs are effective at all ranges. However, they are best at medium range, but can also perform well in short range and close combat.

Their Maximum Attacks reflect this general-purpose ability, with skills such as Quick Shot and some Close Combat skills. While not specialising in any one area, Standard AFWs are the backbone of the player's force and are potent stand-alone units.

Light AFW

Light AFWs are designed as light reconnaissance and scouting units. On the strategic map, Light AFWs have the most movement points and in battle they have very fast movement speeds. Light AFWs are usually armed with machine guns, although some are armed with light artillery to combat AFWs. In appearance, Light AFWs are bipedal platforms but lack arms and a head.

The strength of the Light AFW lies in their speed and deadly anti-infantry ability, making them good recon and fast-response units on the battle map. In combat, Light AFWs have the fastest reload times for their main weapons. However, Light AFWs are poorly armoured, and machine gun-armed Light AFWs do little damage to enemy AFWs. Furthermore, because of their light weight, Light AFWs can be knocked back very easily. They are best used at short range, but cannot engage in close combat, making it risky to attack Standard AFWs and Anti-AFWs. Light AFWs are not effective and are especially vulnerable at long range.

As a result, their Maximum Attacks focus on high-power anti-infantry attacks that gain bonuses from short range, and also feature the "Dodge Action" ability, allowing them to avoid an attack.

4-Leg AFW

4-Leg AFWs are heavy artillery platforms. 4-Leg AFWs are used as long-range artillery, possessing the highest damage per shot and the highest base accuracy at long range. Their main disadvantage is their slow speed, which renders them vulnerable to short-range and close combat attacks. 4-Leg AFWs have the slowest load times.

For Maximum Attacks, 4-Leg AFWs feature numerous bombardment abilities that can devastate infantry units and make more precise shots against AFWs. 4-Leg AFWs have the "Emergency Load" ability, which instantly loads a shell ready to fire, bypassing the usual long loading time - different from "Quick Shot" in that this also allows special shots and aim time, as well.

Anti-AFW

The newest development in AFW technology, Anti-AFWs are designed to engage enemy AFWs in close combat and destroy them with powerful melee attacks. Anti-AFWs are bipedal and have two large mechanical arms which they use as their primary weapon. However, they are also armed with a light cannon mounted on the top of the AFW.

As combat units, Anti-AFWs have the fastest movement speed, necessary for engaging in close combat, and the most powerful close combat attacks. Anti-AFWs sacrifice ranged ability, with their cannon being less powerful than the Standard AFW and only slightly more powerful than Light AFWs. Anti-AFWs also feature powerful shields, but have relatively small amounts of hit points after the shield is destroyed.

Their Maximum Attacks provide instant movement to close range and several very powerful melee attacks.

Infantry

In addition to AFWs, players can recruit and deploy infantry units to assist in combat. Each AFW can have up to three squads attached to it - one to serve as a support crew to load and fire the main weapon, and two more to provide combat support. On the strategic map, different infantry units provide different abilities, such as increased repair and healing rates. Each squad also comes with a number of special abilities, a Vanguard skill when they are called to the front line, a Rearguard skill when behind the AFW, and a number of specialty shells that can be used when acting as crew.

The infantry types are:
*Infantry - All-round anti-infantry units. Armed with rifles and hand grenades. Less effective against AFWs.
*Recon - Increase base accuracy of AFWs, can often snipe enemy infantry, and if on the ground, will allow the AFW to start at the best distance for the engagement range. Armed with pistols, they can use several support weapons such as flares or stun grenades.
*Medic - Provide defensive support bonuses and increased healing ratio to infantry. Armed with pistols. Can use many support weapons such as stun grenades, flares or white phosphorus. Can equip infantry with gas masks or give them pills that increase their defence.
*Shooter - Effective against AFWs but weak against infantry. Armed with rocket launchers and hand grenades. Can use many anti-armour weapons such as wire-guided missiles or crew weapons such as HEAT, APCR or APC.
*Mechanics - Provide AFW repair skills. Armed with anti-armour rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and different types of land mines. They can repair any damage an AFW sustains and clean up enemy traps. They occasionally carry crew anti-tank weapons.
*Supply - Has fastest loading times. In combat map, they increase the movement tange of AFWs. On the ground, they can often lay mines. Armed with anti-armour rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Like Shooters and Mechanics, they carry crew anti-armour weapons.

Infantry are classified as either Anti-AFW or Anti-Infantry, referring to their target priorities. Anti-Infantry troops will fire mainly on enemy troops in the Vanguard, only shooting at the AFW if there are no other targets available. Anti-AFW troops will only fire at the enemy AFW.

Reception

"Ring of Red" received a mainly positive response. Game Rankings lists it at 77%. [ [http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/334511.asp?q=ring%20of%20red] ] Metacritic lists it at 82/100. [ [http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/ringofred?q=ring%20of%20red] ] Gamespot gave "Ring of Red" 7.9/10, saying it "is easily the best strategy game out on the PS2 at this time." [ [http://uk.gamespot.com/ps2/strategy/ringofred/review.html] ] IGN criticised the dialogue and the overall translation, but praised the game as "a very satisfying strategy experience." [ [http://uk.ps2.ign.com/articles/164/164417p1.html] ] Gamestyle rated "Ring of Red" 8/10, criticising the translation but said the game was "essential for anyone who has a love for strategy war games...even with it's minor underlying faults." [ [http://www.gamestyle.net/articles/412] ] Game Revolution gave the game a B-, criticising the pace of the gameplay and the graphics, while praising its simplicity and depth. [ [http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/ps2/ring_of_red] ] Eurogamer rated the game 7/10, criticising the soundtrack, lack of voice acting and translation, but praised the graphics and gameplay, saying "People who enjoy involving battle strategy romps...will definitely find "Ring of Red" captivating." [ [http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=1709] ] GamePro called it "repetitive and sometimes even boring...yet it manages to be hypnotically fun.", rating it 3.5/5. [ [http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/12321/ring-of-red/] ]

References

External links

*moby game|id=/ring-of-red


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