“You want a war?! You got a war!!” This single quote has been embedded in my head after spending nearly 120 hours with Toy Soldiers: Cold War. That’s right. One hundred and twenty hours, and damn proud. After a very long wait, Signal Studios has finally released two expansion packs for the game. It’s pretty clear the developer has been listening to fans with “Evil Empire.“ This time around, you’re playing as the Soviets and viewing the battlefield from a different angle. “Napalm“ expands your career as the Americans, but isn’t just a simple add-on either. Each pack contains quite a bit of content.
Signal Studios really knows how to deliver downloadable content at a reasonable price. “Evil Empire“ adds three new campaign levels, one survival map with a new game mode, one versus map, one mini-game and a brand new barrage. The “Napalm“ expansion is just as jam-packed. The developers also released a “Free Content” pack for users who didn’t purchase all or any of the DLC, that way they can still play with their friends who did. Both these expansion packs intertwine with the original game and can also be played in split-screen and Xbox LIVE. This is content done right and at its finest.
Being able to play as the Soviets this time around in “Evil Empire“ is a great change of a pace. Actually using their entire arsenal and seeing how it is different from the Americans’ is quite enjoyable. Each of the three new campaign missions will last you a good 20-30 minutes depending on your skill level. Taking charge on a Cuban beach and defending the Russian city of Volgograd provides one hell of an experience. Doing so with a friend makes everything one hundred precent more enjoyable, and after completing level 2, you’ll unlock a new Orbital Laser barrage. For you’re enjoyment, I won’t spoil the surprise. It’s pretty damn awesome.
The new survival map “Ironfisted,” along with its accompanying game mode, “Trauma,” is where things really start getting interesting. Every turret you place during your survival will cost you a single ticket from your toy box. Planning is crucial if you want to survive. The great part is, this game mode can also be played on the game’s original maps, giving users a chance to increase their total score on the leaderboards. As previously stated, this map and mode is playable in split-screen and Xbox LIVE.
If you’ve ever played “Wack-a-Mole” at the arcade, “Evil Empire’s“ new mini-game “Pop-a-Pig” will come naturally, but with a twist. Instead of using the anti-tank turret to shoot every pig that pops its head up, you’ll have to watch out for Matryoshka dolls that will cut your time if destroyed. There are also clocks that will occasionally pop up expanding your playing time, so be swift and accurate to reach that high score.
“Napalm,“ on the other hand, enhances the American side of the playing field. You’ll still be using all the weaponry from the original, along with a few new toys. I found the new campaign missions to be slightly less exciting than the ones in “Evil Empire,” but that’s not the developers’ fault. These missions are actually really damn good, but playing from a different point of view after so many hours felt refreshing. That aside, “Napalm“ packs the most impressive new game modes and versus map, and the new Napalm barrage is easily a welcomed addition, especially for pyromaniacs.
The new survival mode, “One Man Army,” is simply a gift to fans. It’s as if Signal Studios whispered in my ear, “Here, go have fun and blow shit up.” It’s you and a friend, if you choose, playing as only a commando (aka Rambo) and surviving as long as possible. You have unlimited ammo and rockets, so you’ll never lift a finger off the trigger as you cause mass destruction. You will have fun. And if you don’t, something is wrong with you. Seriously. You can also go back to the original maps and Rambo it up, as well. There is a ton of fun to be had with this simple, yet exciting game mode.
The developers switched it up a little bit in “Napalm” with their new mini-game, “Hang Time”. This time around you won’t be slaughtering everything or defending toy boxes. Instead, you fly a U.S rescue helicopter that is out to retrieve stranded POW’s near specific landing zones. Your goal is recuse as many prisoners as possible while evading enemy AA emplacements. You have the choice of shooting them down, but this will cost you time and health, which can only be obtained through rescuing the POW’s.
“Evil Empire“ and “Napalm“ may not come packaged together, but they feel as if they should have. Both expand the original, while at the same time offering all content through split-screen and Xbox LIVE. There is simply not a better way to release DLC. With new and exciting campaign missions, fans will be spending hours on multiple difficulties trying to beat their friends’ high scores. Add in some new versus and survival maps, along with some crazy new game modes, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a package.
There comes a time where expansion packs are actually expansive. This is one of them. Signal Studios have undoubtably listened to their fans, giving us what we wanted. For so much content at an asking price of $5 each, you simply can’t go wrong with either. The only mistake you’ll make purchasing this, is if you get one and not the other. Do yourself a favor, pick up 800 MS points and get your ass on the battlefield, soldier!
Here’s the Rundown:
+ Expansive single player campaign from the Soviets POV
+ Amazing new survival maps and game modes
+ New game modes can all be played on previous maps
+ Rambo is still as badass as ever
+ ALL of this can be played in single player, split-screen and on Xbox LIVE
– Rambo occasionally having Soviet voice overs is a big WTF moment
– Soviet arsenal not viewable in the “War Room”
– Having to take the time to make two purchases instead of a one
9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of the genre, a game that defines what that genre should be about. These scores are for games that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War Evil Empire and Napalm Expansion Packs were developed by Signal Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. They were released on April 25th, 2012 at the MSRP of $4.99 (400 MSP) each. Copies were provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.