5 (More) Reasons for Running with Rifles
Back in January, I talked a bit about my experiences with the still-unfinished Running with Rifles from Modulaatio Games. Three months later I’m still a faithful player—after all, it’s a rare game that elicits fond reminiscences of the social introversion of my youth.
These days, the game that’s helping me reconcile with my solitary memories is even better. For exactly five reasons. Let me clue you in, and in the process heal the lingering demons of your childhood.
I don’t know how weird of a kid you were, but if you were like me then roughly half of your childhood playtime was spent justifying the rigor vitae of your soldiers. Crawling Man could never walk because he was wounded in the foot. Grenade-Tossing Man had a satchel of infinite grenades. Aiming Crouching Man could never burst into song because the horror, the horror. And the very lame Binoculars Man would never join the fray because he was, well, a coward.
Until very recently, I had to make similar justifications for my soldiers in Running with Rifles, who could lie prone on the ground but would have to stand back up to move. Maybe their uniforms ride up when they crawl, I’d think, or maybe their nipples chafe easily. Thank goodness I don’t have to invent reasons anymore. Soldiers can now crawl to their heart’s delight, making it much smoother to use the game’s machinegun (which can only be fired lying down or from cover) or to advance under enemy fire.
Swimming also provides an alternate way of getting around, though enemy squads of swimmers blundering into each other will result in hilarious watery knife-fights, so be careful about where you’re going.
A game with guns doesn’t really count until it has a shotgun in it, and I’m happy to say that Running with Rifles is now a bona fide gun game. Unlike most gun games, it’s also smart enough to avoid the usual shotgun stereotyping by making them actually somewhat useful beyond a range of five meters. In addition, the other new weapon is great at thinning out waves of enemies at longer ranges:
With these two additions, the game feels much more rounded out. The weapons aren’t totally balanced, but they do all occupy useful niches. So while the machinegun is still your best bet when holding out against a numerically superior force, the normal rifles are going to be your most versatile option. And though the sniper rifle can kill from an absurd range, you aren’t going to want to be lugging it into a shotguns-and-grenades firefight.
3. It’s Better than Being a Kid…
It really is. The number of combatants is limited to the hundreds, not to how many army dudes your mom was willing to shell out for. And since you’ve got so many of them (and you’ll never be told to clean up), the game is now willing to let you decide how many fallen soldiers will litter the field, giving you a great way to instruct your own kids about the grim awesomeness of battle.
Trust me, the first time you stealth a squad into an enemy encampment by night and you’re terrified that one of those corpses is an enemy lying in wait, you’ll realize that you’ve stepped through some sort of timewarp and you’re nine years old and quite shockingly bloodthirsty for your age according to your parents.
4. … Except You Have Friends
Multiplayer is in, and it finally works superbly. If all of this sounds great, just imagine it with a group of people you like. Perhaps your spouse or employer?
Which brings us to the last reason that Running with Rifles is even better than ever before:
Okay, yes, fine, mortars aren’t new. But they’re still some of the most satisfying explosive ordnance yet seen in gaming. So satisfying, in fact, that I’ve put together a little montage.
So basically, Running with Rifles is the same game it was three months ago, just much better. Sort of like how this grown-up version of you is the same person, but taller.
Childhood cured. I could be a psychologist.