Red Orchestra 2 Heroes of Stalingrad Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2011-10-06
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Red Orchestra 2 is a WW2 FPS. Now'a days it almost feels like modern war games have the same stigma that WW2 games were having just a couple years ago, in that the market seems saturated with modern time period war games. I for one don't really mind what time period these war games are set in, ,so long as they\\\'re good. That being said, RO2 feels almost like a throwback, due in part to the WW2 setting and also because of the mission structures. At times it feels like its treading in well worn territory and at other times it seems to be striking out in new directions. Whatever the case, RO2 shines in areas other FPS's don't, has it where it counts and makes war seem more warier than the average. It also seems to lack in areas that other FPS's really have it, specifically the campaign. Though the battles can get rather intense, it never feels like more than a sort of tutorial and you don't have any characters to speak of. RO2 seems hell bent on focusing on the war, neglecting to flesh out the people involved.
First the campaign. Surprisingly, you'll start off playing as the Germans. It is a little eerie playing for the team which have been for the most part shooting targets for every other WW2 game made, but as it is essentially the learning period for RO2, and if you\\\'re new to Red Orchestra, you'll be sure to die often. Which leads me to my first point on RO2's willingness to approach the WW2 FPS genre differently. Instead of semi scripted missions where you as the player are basically Rambo and your death results in the end of the world, you've got a sort of open environment where your main task is to capture points with your team. If you die you take control of a squad mate. This means a couple different things. Initially, your actions don't seem as important as in other games. Your A.I. Team mates take pretty good care of themselves and you might even succeed in a mission even if your not really helping out much. The points of capture are simple enough that you'll mostly be aware of your goals, however the way you wish to complete them seems a little looser than the more popular FPS games today.
After some time you gain control of your squad, giving you more responsibility over the action and gaining more control over how the battles play out. It can get a little hectic trying to figure out how best to make use of your troop with bullets cruising by your head, but if you don't boss them around they\\\'ll generally take care of business alright.
The weapons all serve their different purposes and are highly detailed. Adding to the standard iron sights, you have the option to adjust your sights based on distance quickly via the scroll wheel. These sorts of touches abound and really add to the realism that RO2 seems to strive for. Heavy machine guns can be set up against cover or while lying down, reloaded while still behind cover and often have to be serviced via replacement barrels when you've put enough lead through it to cut down a decent sized forest. That brings me to the next thing, the cover system.
Success in RO2 usually depends on being cautious and accurate. Poke your head out for too long in the wrong place and its libel to become so much strawberry jam. Cover works out simple enough. Pressing Ctrl pins you to whatever wall or cover or what-have-you and from there you've got a couple things you can do. Pressing forward lets you peek and also duck back down quickly if the bullets start to fly. Left clicking lets you blind fire where you can even aim to some extent. Right clicking brings up your rifle or if your packing serious heat, mounts your machine gun for stable fire. With all the options you might think it'd be complicated controlling what you do but it all falls into place simply and intuitively and the first person cover mechanics end up feeling like second nature.
Another interesting mechanic is the suppress feature. After a couple bullets whiz by your head or tear through the thin picket fence you've barricaded yourself behind, the screen will blur and your movements will become more difficult. Think of it as a simulation of what people do in life threatening situations, i.e. poo and pee themselves in absolute, petrified terror. I really like the idea behind it because it essentially means if you pin a sniper down with automatic fire they're less likely to stick their neck out and land a cheap shot on you. All in all the suppress feature makes the battlefields feel that much more dangerous and causes you to be much more cautious, something many FPS fans may not really appreciate. Online matches tend to have a lot of "camping" going on, but brandishing an automatic rifle can get you places if you manage to get in close to the enemy or let off a couple controlled bursts from a distance.
Online play is definitely where the team put most of their eggs, and for the most part battles are intense. At some points, the competition can feel brutal, especially when you're up against a team of 32 other players. Getting a kill feels well deserved, especially if you're one of the unfortuante masses that has to use a basic bolt action rifle instead of a semi automatic. Don't get me wrong, the bolt action can pack a serious punch, but for those used to auto or semi auto weapons, the time it takes to load a second round can make one sweat bullets.
RO2 definitely has a different pace from other FPS\\\'s out there, and it might take some to to get acclimated to it, but if your looking for an FPS where you really have to watch your hide and play it safe, RO2 might be up your alley. It does lack a really focused campaign, but the feeling of battle in RO2 is something not really offered in other games. If realism is your thing RO2 is worth checking out.