Rising Storm 2: Vietnam's new mode, launching this Tuesday, shrinks its battlefields to backyards and its soldiers to plastic toys: the ubiquitous Green Army Men who've spent decades fighting each other for control of carpets and lawns. There are four maps, one of which is the Christmas-themed map from last year's Army Men event, and the mode is free for all owners of Rising Storm 2.
There's one caveat, which is that the free version locks you to just the Rifleman class. Buying the Green Army Men DLC will unlock the other classes, and you'll also be supporting the modders, who receive a cut of the revenue. (Here's the original Green Army Men mod, made by a team of seven modders who've been working in their spare time.)
I tried the new maps last week while Tripwire VP Alan Wilson talked me through the mode, and they're pretty ridiculous, especially underwater.
Green Army Men is essentially 'Rising Storm-lite.' Guns are nerfed a bit, tracer ammo is on for most of them, there's no fall damage, and you'll rarely have to squint to make sure you're shooting at the right guy, as the teams are bright green and bright blue. (Although hiding against blue or green bits of the levels can be effective.)
The asymmetry of Rising Storm 2 is also gone. Both teams can spawn on squad leaders, and in levels which include helicopters, both teams have them. It's a way to take a break from the complexity and intensity of the typical Rising Storm 2 experience, Wilson suggests sometime before we plunge into a swimming pool to contest a point at the bottom.
Green Army Men's treatment of water is a good indication of what the whole thing is like: an answer to "wouldn't it be cool if..." without any worries about making sense outside the context of plastic dudes fighting pretend battles.
The Pool Party map's central feature is littered with inflatable toys, and diving past them into the deep end, you might land on a toy submarine making loops, or drift slowly to the bottom under moon gravity. You can't drown (you're made of plastic) or actually swim, and there's no change to ballistics when you're underwater. The way out of the pool, as well as a hot tub in the Backyard map, is via bubbling jets that propel the toy men up and into the air.
Back on the surface, players circle the pool with helicopters, which have simpler flight models and are useful as mobile spawn points given the lack of fall damage. Others snipe from atop umbrellas, or charge around with flamethrowers. (Those work underwater too, by the way.)
In the Beach Party map highlighted in the trailer at the top of this article, the water is shallow and so doesn't factor as much as it does in Pool Party and Backyard. It also changes up the mode. Where Pool Party and Backyard are played in Territory mode, where one attacking team attempts to capture points from a defending team, Beach Party is played in Supremacy mode.
In Supremacy, both teams can go after any and all objectives, but only earn points from a captured objective if it is connected to their home base by a chain of other captured objectives. (Essentially, this turns 'back-capping' into a way to deny the other team points rather than earn more for your own team, unless you control most or all objectives.) I prefer the Territory maps, but only having played one round on each map, I can't give anything close to a comprehensive criticism.
Some of the environmental sounds are too-loud and annoying—the ocean noises on Beach Party especially—and Pool Party is perhaps too cluttered with party flotsam, such that decoding the map is a bit strenuous. But I had a great time on all of them, and again if you own the game, you can try them out without buying the DLC.
Rising Storm 2 is currently pretty cheap on Steam, and will be free-to-play for a week following the DLC launch. Since we also had a good time during the original Army Men holiday event, we asked Tripwire if they'd set up a Green Army Men server for us, and they gave the thumbs up, so join us in the PC Gamer server if you want to give it a go during the free week.
Though I mostly played woefully during my preview session, I'll leave you with a gif of me picking a tiny green Wilson off of an umbrella. He got me back with a flamethrower more than once, but for some reason I didn't make any gifs of those moments.