As you may know Tripwire Interactive recently released Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad.
This is a game that’s going to be controversial among the gaming community as it caters to a niche, the realism crowd and history buffs. It’s set in World War 2 Stalingrad and the villages surrounding it. You may be thinking “Oh, just another World War 2 shooter”, but you’d be very wrong.
So what sets the game apart from the flock? First of all the setting is not the usual Western-European one and second and most importantly it’s focused much more on realism. That means bolt-action rifles, no crosshairs and no running over an open area (If you value your life). It also features advanced mechanics such as weapon ranging, bullet drop, morale and suppression mechanics. All of these affect your shooting and the action on the field. There are very tense moments where I found myself afraid of even peeking around a corner as I could see and hear the bullets around me leaving me cowering and hoping that one of my teammates helps me out.
This doesn’t mean that they’ve completely strayed from the path of a 2011 military shooter as it is still a class-based game with a permanent leveling system. Every class has it’s own level with unlocks, but you also level up yourself via the Honor-system. On top of that you also level up with the weapons themselves. I honestly don’t know what the effect is of leveling the weapons, but leveling up in Honor will at least change your appearance from a private with your new outfit to a more torn-down veteran outfit while leveling up a class will grant you weapons, scopes and other equipment.
Among the classes are tank commanders, squad leaders and an overall commander and general infantry such as an Assault, Rifleman, Machinegunner, Engineer, Anti-Tank and a Marksman. What sets the Squad leader apart for example is the fact that he can give orders (Not 100% sure) and throw smoke grenades. This makes him a very tactical player as the smoke is perfect for crossing open areas or in preparation of rushing a spot. The commander is the only person on that side who has access to artillery. But it’s on a cooldown and not too accurate, but it’s good to keep the enemy pinned down or in cover so the rest can move up.
There are several gametypes in the game the favorite of which I find to be Territory where you fight for areas on the map. Because of this you’ll have one team defend a position which means they’ll be behind cover and dug in well, while the attackers have to get close enough or distract them so another squad may flank the position. Machine Guns especially are dreaded by attackers as they’ll tear you to pieces and keep you pinned down. You’ll often see a line of players on your team standing behind walls as the fights really do go from cover to cover which again is something I’ve not seen before.
Speaking of the territory gametype; here is some gameplay from 3 rounds I played where I edited 50% of it out so I think it gives you a pretty decent idea on what this game is.
All in all I’ve fallen in love with this game and it’s setting. It currently has some minor bugs and crashes (I’ve had 3 in 8 hours) but they’re just launch-woes and Tripwire’s actively patching the game to fix these. Red Orchestra 2 therefore is a marvelous game overall catering to a specific group of people who pretty much directly oppose the likes of Modern Warfare and Battlefield. The game also has a very bright future as the developers are known to support their games with patches and content for years after release. I for one can’t urge you enough to give this game a lengthy try, which you probably need to do as it’s not easy to get started for the first couple of hours.