Hello and welcome to this series of posts entitled “Recommended Play”.  Here we’ll take a look and games I personally feel should be played and talked about more.  Games will range from average to great, indie to AAA, but all will at least be interesting.

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First up, we’ll be taking a look at Ring of Red.  A Playstation 2 game from Konami released in 2001.  The game features turn-based-strategy with semi-real-time combat mixed in.  Story-wise, the game is set in an alternate history Cold War era Japan in which the U.S. and Russia split the country into North and South, similar to Korea.

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Players take command of AFW(Armored Fighting Walkers) pilots in a series of missions.  Each machine is also supported by three unique groups of soldiers.  Each pilot and squad of soldiers has their own unique abilities that can be use in combat.Each pilot takes a turn to move around the battlefield on a square grid system.  Once two pilots from opposing sides initiate combat, the game switches to semi-real-time.  During these combat phases, players are given 90 seconds in which they can perform various actions, though the action is paused while the player is making decisions.

In between missions, players can organize their combat groups.  Each pilot and soldier squad  have unique stats and attributes.  Pilots and their machines are affected in many different ways depending on what squads they favor working with.For example, a mechanic squad can increase repairs while an assault squad can more easily kill enemy infantry.

I love how the game mixes turn-based and real-time mechanics.  Experimenting with combat group compositions in between missions feels like a puzzle with infinite numbers of solutions.  The story and character developments are just okay overall, though I do feel each pilot is a really good match with their machines.  The soldier squads add a lot to the gameplay.  Getting a new soldier squad can be really exciting.

Ring of Red can be found in the Playstation 3 store under the “PS2 Classics” category or you can find a physical copy on Amazon or in used game stores.  No news on any HD re-release or ports.

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