It's a huge game that will easily consume a good deal of your time, and fortunately, its systems remain fresh throughout.
The supporting troops accompanying your walker into battle have a significant effect on the outcome as well. Three groups of soldiers make up every unit--one group serves as the walker's crew, loading and reloading its weapons, while the other two serve as ground troops. During battles, you can order to troops to stand behind the walker, where they'll take less damage but also deal out less, or have them take the vanguard, where they'll be most effective offensively and in the most danger. There are a good deal of troop types, each with primary functions and secondary skills. Shooters, for example, are armed with rocket launchers that continually pick at enemy walkers, while supply troops are adept at walker maintenance, lessening the time it takes you to reload. Most ground troops will also have a set of secondary skills, which offer everything from special attacks to quick repairs on leg damage sustained by your walker. Troops are acquired by occupying settlements on the map, and if they're lost in battle, they're gone for good.
Sadly, the assigning of troop types to your squad is the extent of Ring of Red's customization options. Walker designs can't be altered in any way, and the only manner in which you'll gain special attacks is by leveling up your individual pilots. Arguably, much of the fun in mech games is in conceiving your own designs and tweaking the hulls and armaments of the machines at your disposal. This sort of feature is sorely absent in Ring of Red. Instead, the game forces you to use the stock AFWs and like them. While this is a relatively minor gripe when the quality of the game as a whole is taken into consideration, it is something that Konami should definitely consider putting into a sequel.
Ring of Red's overall production may not turn heads, but it's certainly competent and well conceived. The real-time environments look quite solid, and, despite the flurry that often characterizes them, there aren't any instances of slowdown or other performance dips. Most of the machines look just as you'd expect them to--like a cross between one of the robots from Bezerk and a Sherman tank. Some of the four-legged walker designs look like they were inspired by construction equipment, while some of the lighter models have a certain AT-ST quality to them. The textures on the walkers look remarkably great, too. Everything in the game sounds great, especially in combat. Gears grind, limbs shift, and hulls explode, all inspiringly and convincingly. The musical score is for the most part uninspired, though--it's made up of your standard-issue orchestral movements.
Ring of Red is easily the best strategy game out on the PS2 at this time, not to mention one of the more inventive to ever grace a console. It should be a no-brainer for fans of the sorely underrepresented genre. It's a huge game that will easily consume a good deal of your time, and fortunately, its systems remain fresh throughout.