Red Orchestra 2 Review

By on October 17, 2011

A test to the dedication of battle.

Good: One of the most vicious WWII battles recreated realistically; rewarding multiplayer; innovative cover system; accurate hit detection; immersive sound design
Bad: Feels unpolished; performance issues; rubbish campaign
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First Impressions
My reaction is

FPS enthusiasts might recall a certain period where World War shooters dominated the industry and in some way, were the modern warfares of this generation. Though, they started to slightly fade away due to the genre’s deterioration from one side, and well, due to another inevitable fact; everyone was simply ready to move on into a different setting. Have you thought what could a World War-developed title offer on today’s standards? Of course, bearing in mind how the industry feels maxed to the core with first-person shooters. Tripwire’s Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, being a World War II-themed shooter – does it bring anything new to the setting itself, and the shooter genre in general?

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is a full-fledged follow-up to Red Orchestra: Osfront 41-45. It’s from Tripwire Interactive – the same team known for modding Unreal Tournament 2004 in their WWII IP debut. The game is a World War II first-person shooter which focuses on conveying realistic gun-play scenarios and vehicle combats, in an effort to recreate one of the most brutal World War II battles – that’s Battle of Stalingrad, in a completely fresh perspective.

Although Red Orchestra 2 is a multiplayer-focused shooter in essence, there’s a whole campaign mode featured inside. If you’re the type of gamer who prefers to play alone and wander across epic storylines, simply, this is not the game made for you. Frankly enough, the offline mode is a mere effort to serve as a training session in preparation to the vicious multiplayer.

The solo-play comprises of two distinctive campaigns. Your first go is with the Axis faction – yes you play as a Nazi in order to undertake Stalingrad from the Russian Allies. The story, told in a 2d-based cutscenes alongside some decent narration, is pretty basic at most. There are no extravagant dramatic moments. The premiere mission introduces you to the basic controls, followed with quite similar missions, and often interrupted tutors in-between. Taking over the enemy’s bases and expanding your reign over the map is one of the mission’s forms, while the other is as simple as defending your territory from crowds of attackers. There’s no memorable protagonist here; when your controlled-soldier dies, you simply hop into the shoes of another random one, from a different or similar class.

Even though the single-player’s purpose is mostly to function as a taster, it could have potentially thrived well to induce some decent fun moments. However, it’s sadly ruined by the extremely incompetent AI. For instance, your squad often acts like a bloc of drunken clowns – running in front of me while shooting at the enemy, and jumping outside and inside of a window for no reason was hilarious to say the least. Your squad isn’t really helpful. I can see where most of Tipwire’s effort has been decanted. They obviously haven’t given the solo-play much effort; it’s a rather crammed feature for the sake of adding an offline mode.

The campaign left somehow a bad taste in my mouth, while it still provided me with subtle info for RO2’s basic mechanics. Now the multiplayer is something should never be compared to the chaotic solo portion – although it’s based on similar modes and maps. Expect every moment to be perplexing, challenging and gratifying. Death is instant; you’ll have to be very cautious, and strategic; don’t worry though – there’s always someone on your side. The multiplayer is expansive, building on the variety of maps from the offline component, there’s support of up to 64-players, with 4 different game types, including tank only games, infantry or mixed.

One thing I liked about Red Orchestra 2 is the extensive class system. However, there’s a cap on the number of classes. For example, only four soldiers can step into the boot of a sniper class, or just two can be squad leaders. This ensures, however, the session doesn’t end up with an army of snipers or machine gunners at once. Commanders are granted to call for assistance such the ability to force respawns, request mortar strikes, while squad leaders, who are a step lower than commanders, can form spawn points to help dead teammates reach the correspondent point instantly.

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Other than his excessively biased enthusiasm toward gaming, and technology behind the whole industry, there's a huge fondness inside that drives him nuts to pick up his keyboard and start writing for the love of it.

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