Rise of the Triad is a reboot of the 90's first-person shooter Rise of the Triad: Dark War. It stays very close to the concept of the original game, but with modern graphics, completely different levels and entirely designed in the spirit of the first title. Defining features include very fast gameplay with a focus on explosions and twitch action rather than a tactical approach, huge traps such as spinning blades and spikes, launch pads to bounce and fly through the air, an extreme amount of blood and gore, and many ludicrous and very powerful weapons.
The game is set on San Nicholas Island near California, USA, where the United Nations has found proof that a rogue organization known as The Triad (a thinly veiled name for what look like Nazis) has set up a base of operations there. They sent in a paramilitary task force called HUNT (High risk United Nations Task force) to investigate. It consists of five people (the same of the original game: Taradino, Lorelei, Ian, Thi and Doug) and they arrive in with a small boat. When they are spotted, the boat is blown up and they need to find a way to get off the island. At the start of the game, one of the five characters can be chosen, with different attributes based on speed and endurance.
The game consists of four episodes with five levels each and several level bosses. Saving cannot be done manually, but a level is divided into three or more checkpoints. Once a checkpoint has been reached, a level can immediately be played from that point later on, with a different character or difficulty level. Progress is shown on a map of the island known as the Overworld. Weapons include a melee knife attack, a single or dual-wielded pistol and a submachine gun with unlimited ammo, a bazooka, heat seeker, flamewall, firebomb, split missile, drunk missile and more. The character can also turn into a dog (Dog mode) and attack with a bite or BarkBlast, a supersonic bark attack. Most of these weapons return from the original game, including the Excalibat as a baseball bat to lob exploding balls, a Dark Staff to launch magic, and the God mode where the character becomes invincible for a short time and vaporizes any opponent with its hand through a ranged attack. Other modes next to Dog and God are Elasto, Mercury and Shroom, often with effects that make the gameplay more hectic. Enemies are able to snatch a weapon from the character's hands and use it themselves. Some enemies can throw a net to capture and immobilize the character. It needs to be cut open with the knife before the regular guns can be used again. Levels are littered with secrets and the general score is determined by the playing style, time needed, remaining health and also returning: collecting giant tokens. Health does not regenerate and it is refilled by collecting Monk Crystal, or eating Monk Meal and Priest Porridge from bowls like in the original game. When they are on fire, they restore even more health. Other items are three types of keys to open doors and two types of armor. Several secret levels can be discovered in the game, often referencing the design and graphics of the initial game.
Multiplayer is available both online and offline in various game modes such as deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. The game includes an editor to design custom levels and the music is largely remixed from the original game. Optionally, the original soundtrack can be activated through the options. To play online, a serial key and an account are required. It is also used to compare statistics worldwide on leaderboards and save games for future synchronized use.