War is one of the most common backdrops for the video game industry. It has been since the inception of games. There is just natural competitiveness that comes from two factions fighting for supremacy. Everything from medieval combat to modern firearm-based combat has been explored. For some reason, however, the days of muskets and cannons duking it out in the fields of Virginia have been underrepresented in the gaming sphere. And this is the hole that Rise of Liberty has valiantly stepped forward to fill.
The game is being developed and constantly updated by Sandstorm Studios. This company name, however, is almost a pseudonym as the company consists of one man, Jack Stallone. He single-handedly created and manages this game, an impressive feat to say the least.
Rise of Liberty puts the player in the position of a foot-soldier in some of the most famous battles from the revolutionary war. It also allows the player to be the commander of custom scenarios. If the player chooses a historical battle they are given the option of spectating the battle from the skies or switching to a foot-soldier by simply guiding the camera close enough to the intended soldier and pressing a button prompt. Once in the boots of a soldier the player controls switch to common FPS style. With musket and bayonet in hand, the player is able to charge into battle freely and fight the good fight.
Custom battles give the player a chance to create these skirmishes themselves. The number of soldiers spawned can be changed to create small guerilla style fights. Or if the player is feeling grand the number can be bumped up to create set-piece epics. Faction options are also available if the player would like to play as either the Americans or the British.
Different weapons can be acquired by neutralizing a certain number of enemies. While there is a fair share of different weapon types they operate similarly and all feel the same when it comes to gameplay. The weapon changes may not spice of gameplay but it does provide some nice visual variety. The soldier units are not highly diverse either but they do compliment each other well. Normal foot soldiers fight alongside cavalry but these are essentially just foot-soldiers that move faster.
The mechanics of this game are solid and creating fun and sometimes hectic scenarios can be great, however, where the game really falls short is the gameplay. While the attention to historical accuracy is appreciated it definitely dampens the experience. Guns from this era are notoriously inaccurate so this leads to countless missed shots. This would not be such a bother if it were not for the glaring hindrance of these guns, reload speed. The guns take tremendous time to load and the novelty quickly wears off. The foot-soldier movement is very slow as well. This can be remedied by getting on horseback but the horses are also very limited on where they can go often being stopped by blockades or trees. The game is painfully slow, and while this seems like this was an intentional choice it negatively affects gameplay, especially extended play sessions.
The art style of the game is simplistic and serviceable. Soldiers are amalgamations of squares and rectangles piled on one another. While it may not seem to visually impressive the simplicity helps the game run very smoothly. The game never once chugged even when there were a huge number of soldiers on the battlefield.
The music of the game is most certainly one of its best qualities. The game features a war flute soundtrack. The simple yet pleasing melodies really imbue the game with a cheerful attitude. There is something oddly satisfying about conducting grand-scale battles to the simple sounds of a flute.
Rise of Liberty is an accomplishment with shortcomings. The attention to historical accuracy is appreciated yet frustrating. Creating massive battles is always a ton of fun but playing them out starts exciting but quickly becomes a slog. While it is ridiculous to expect perfection from a game that is created by a single person these gripes should definitely be considered by anyone thinking about buying this game. If you are someone who enjoys fast past frenetic combat this game is not for you, intentionally so. However, history buffs looking to live out some of the revolutionary wars most prestigious battles and people just looking to create chaos will definitely get a kick out of it.
The game is available on Steam for both PC and Mac. Also, check out the creator’s Twitter to stay up to date on any changes coming to the game in the near future.