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Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad – Preview

Most First-Person Shooters are about feeding candy to the players, forgetting exactly how tense a real battlefield is, and what factors an individual soldier has to keep in his already anxious mind.

It’s true that we’ve had our share of World War 2 recreation games, particularly in the FPS genre, and to be honest most wouldn’t care if another game was released that followed the Nazi-slaying convention.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad perhaps could enough spice and taste to rejuvenate the interests of gamers in WWII titles. I say this because the game has a very different approach to the historic war.

Tripwire Interactive, the developers of RO2, are eager to enhance the realism of the individual experience of being a soldier in a tense-filled battlefield, and that is exactly where the game excels from other WWII titles.

RO2 focuses on the Nazi vs. Russians part of the war – the part that was the bloodiest and most violent. You’ll get to play as either a German or a Russian, and have drivable tanks to your disposal. But it’s not the story, setting, or vehicles that piqué the interest of a casual observer; it’s the tension in the battlefield, and how you fight as a troop.

Guns behave very differently in RO2, with bullet spin and drop taken into account. The game also lacks a traditional on-screen HUD, meaning no indication of how many precious bullets you have left in your magazine.

A realistic substitute for the HUD is a manual ‘weight-check’ of the magazine; you hold the R key to check the weight of your magazine, and an on-screen message tells if it feels heavy or light, and then you can ultimately decide whether you would like to reload.

In short, a reload isn’t recognized as a reflex in RO2, but a wise decision that you have to think about before taking. To add to the realism, the concept of blind-firing has been made quite literal in the game.

You scoop your weapon over the concrete block or what it is you’ve taken cover behind, and fire without raising your head to see where you’re spraying bullets. Speaking of cover, not everything gives you the same type of cover.

Lean behind a semi-circular concrete block and you’re arms and shoulders may be exposed to fire, take cover behind a piece of wood and curse yourself after being fired upon for forgetting that wood is penetrable.

Along with that, you can’t heal yourself either; the amount of health lost cannot be recovered, and all you can do is bandage your gunshot wounds to prevent your remaining precious health from draining through blood loss.

You may not necessarily have to be on-foot, sprinting from cover to cover and tensely reloading when you think you don’t have enough bullets.

Vehicles are fully featured in the game, but initially at the release only a few limited tanks will be available, with additional vehicles being available for free later on. This is because Tripwire is working hard on the vehicles, creating near-to-perfect replicas of the real-deals.

The developers state that recreating each vehicle takes around 2-3 months each, so we can expect some pretty sweet albeit claustrophobic rides. At the time of release, only two tanks will get featured in the game, the German Panzer and the Russian T-34.

The game’s multiplayer is purely hardcore, thanks to its realistic on-field restrictions and features. The maps are substantially large, but their largeness is good for both jam-packed squads and fights between a few soldiers, allowing for in-your-face fighting and some stealth.

Heavy machine guns and mountable guns are particularly useful for soldier-dense atmosphere. ThTripwire has taken a very aggressive approach to proactively deal with cheating, using the services of VAC, Punkbuster and PBbans, so hopefully we’ll be safe from cheaters of any sorts.

Red Orchestra 2 is a PC-exclusive shooter that should be in the collection of those who like to have a challenge and have always ached for a good, realistic war experience. Don’t forget to mark the release date for the game that is, 30th August for PC.