Rise of the Triad review

Aimed squarely at the They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To crowd, this remake of 90s shooter Rise of the Triad might have a somewhat harder time impressing folk who weren't raised on Doom and Duke Nukem.

ROTT is slavishly faithful to its predecessor, despite the addition of relatively modern (but far from universally attractive) graphics. That means huge enemy counts, a wanton disregard for any kind of architectural logic, preposterous weapons and secret areas galore.

In theory there's a story, about an international taskforce vs cultists who look an awful lot like Nazis (this is because the original Rise of the Triad was at one time going to be a sequel to that grandaddy of FPSses, Wolfenstein 3D), but in keeping with the spirit of the time it's a load of old paperthin bobbins that's there purely to facilitate lots and lots of shooting. It's extremely violent, but this is very much Itchy and Scratchy despite the abundant viscera.

Loving ROTT depends heavily on loving its ridiculous, overpowered weapons - dual rocket launchers, homing missiles, walls of flame, mystic fireballs, a baseball bat imbued with godly powers... None are powerful or frequently-appearing enough to bestow invulnerability, but rather they're there to offset any risk of attention deficit disorder. ROTT is madcap, high-speed carnage in where nothing is quite predictable, beyond the essential fact of there being enemies and guns.

The remake is successful in terms of being a riposte to today's shooters' preference for enclosed spaces, ponderous plots and glossy safeness. On the other hand, it feels infinitely shallow, lightweight and even irritating with it. Frankly, the original doesn't have the staying power of Doom or Duke Nukem 3D, and as such the need for a remake was always a little questionable.

Rise of the Triad

The recent likes of Painkiller or Hard Reset found more of a middleground in terms of fusing 90s shooter values with 21st century presentation: despite being clearly well-intentioned and entirely aware of its own silliness, ROTT 2013 is a much more confused-feeling affair. While the weapons are gigantic, firing them at the oddly weightless enemies lacks heft and satisfaction - instead, that has to be won from the constant, high-speed motion.

Even if it doesn't quite work all-told, the escalation of enemies and firepower holds a certain draw, as does what's tantamount to an encouragement to cheat. Activate Fly mode in the console and you can use it reach specially hidden areas as well as shortcut your way to the end of the level, while having infinite ammo for the more crazed weapons is a bit of a treat.

Sure, it deactivates Achievements and whatnot, as well as negating what can be a pretty stiff challenge, but hey, what a party it is when you've got unfettered access to all the toys.

Said toys also come to the fore in the multiplayer, which is a world away from the po-faced likes of Call of Duty. It's open carnage out there, as jump pads, magic missiles and floating buildings do their best to subvert familiar tactics. There's something of a shortage of maps at present, so it may not last you long, but the super-enthusiastic developers seem especially committed to supporting the game, so expect more before too long.

It's hard to recommend ROTT 2013 to anyone who didn't play the original - it's unlikely to make  much sense to them, and may well come across as dumb and dated.

On the other hand, at least it's not the hateful exercise in self-indulgence and narcissism that fellow 90s FPS recent do-over Duke Nukem Forever was. ROTT 2013 just wants to have a good time. To a certain extent, it's successful, but it doesn't really make its series seem any less of a dead end than it already was.

Rise of the Triad: Specs

  • OS:Windows XP or Vista 32-bit Processor:2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor or Better Memory:2 GB RAM Graphics:ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT DirectX®:9.0 Hard Drive:7 GB HD space Sound:DirectX Compatible Additional:Multiplayer requires the creation of an account on the ROTT Multiplayer network.
  • OS:Windows XP or Vista 32-bit Processor:2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor or Better Memory:2 GB RAM Graphics:ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT DirectX®:9.0 Hard Drive:7 GB HD space Sound:DirectX Compatible Additional:Multiplayer requires the creation of an account on the ROTT Multiplayer network.

OUR VERDICT

The graphics might be updated, but really Rise of the Triad 2013 is nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. If you're bored of today's grey-brown, navel gazing shooters it should raise a few smiles, however.

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