Ring of Red
Game Info
Playstation 2
Mech Strategy
ESRB Rating
Violence, Blood
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 support.

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.

The Bad
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.

- - kinderfeld

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