Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad – Review

Platform | Release Date
PC | September 13, 2011

Developed by Tripwire Interactive
Published by Tripwire Interactive/1C Company

The Pitch:

Heroes of Stalingrad will take the award winning Red Orchestra franchise into the next generation of gaming. Cutting edge graphics and audio built on Unreal Engine 3, inventive features and streamlined realism will deliver an unrivaled WWII experience. Focusing on the Battle of Stalingrad and the surrounding operations, both German and Russian, from July 1942 to February 1943 the game allows the player to experience one of the most brutal battles in all of human history.

Not too long ago World War theatres were the predominant setting for some of the largest FPS franchises in both the PC and console market. The shift towards a more modern era was gradual, but today it has established itself as the time period of choice for these popular franchises. These titles all have evolved in their own way and Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is no different. For the first time an entire single player campaign paired with the stellar multiplayer modes and continued support by Tripwire Interactive will provide a multitude of content for those interested in a more intimate and realistic experience.

There is a definite divide between titles that provide a more realistic experience and those of their twitch based brethren. Some lean towards a more action orientated experience, while others are more interested in realistic gameplay mechanics. I am much more interested in a more true-to-life experience having played through the plethora of twitch shooters from the 90’s and 2000’s. Being a reliable component of a group effort to win is much more rewarding for me than a higher kill count on an online rankings list.

One quote from our interview with Tripwire Interactive sums up why RO2 is so compelling to me and I suspect why many others feel the same way:

“The realism isn’t about making people press the right 7 buttons in sequence to reload, it is about making people feel they just might have been in a real battle – not in a pre-scripted movie about a battle.” –Alan Wilson, VP Tripwire Interactive

And RO2 does just that. Tripwire has accomplished what many studios strive for: A simulation of an actual wartime event that is realistic and rewarding while making you feel like you were there, rather than just playing the part. Day of Defeat, at one point in time, was what I wanted in a multiplayer World War II inspired shooter. With the lack of support for DoD though, moving to the Red Orchestra franchise was a given and I couldn’t be happier with that choice. For many, the past ten years have diluted the interest in WW titles with so many variations on the same theme being released year after year. You can only have so much of one thing before people find it just “more of the same”. Many people have had enough of World War era titles from the overflowing market in recent years. Eventually, it will come back like any fad right? RIGHT?

The weapons are WWII specific with mechanics that will be familiar to fans of the series. Many of the staples of RO are back, including adjusting your aim because of your breathing rhythm – a personal favorite of mine. Weapon ammunition checks, suppressive fire, morale, bandaging, and tank warfare are back with other mechanics that lend to a much more intimate and worthwhile experience. Many of the great parts of RO2 revolve around the multiplayer experience. The single player campaign provides a less exciting take on RO2’s objective-based modes with bots that may not be up to snuff for some people’s tastes though. Jumping out of windows and questionable shooting practices at times will provide you with a hit or miss affair but is still worth checking out since the series has been strictly multi-player until now.

64-player matches with two committed forces working against each other to achieve their objectives is a sight to behold. I was immersed in a war with realism evident in the finest details, and whether we succeeded or failed there was always the feeling like I was integral to each outcome. You want to matter don’t you? Go get Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad.

As Tripwire comes into its own, their releases look on par with some larger developers on a much smaller budget. RO2 is obviously a labor of love and their commitment to supporting it is readily apparent with their constant updates following a far-from-bug-free initial release. There is still some work to be done on some issues, but many of the warranted complaints from day one have been addressed. The Red Orchestra community is thriving and support by Tripwire Interactive is steady so one does not need to jump off the Ostfront wagon for Heroes of Stalingrad, you can enjoy both. With a co-op campaign, new vehicles and official expansion packs upcoming, any fan of the series would be doing an injustice by not taking a serious look at RO2: HoS.

About @artayd2

@artayd2 can be found traversing hills of toddler entrails while searching for the last pint of unicorn blood to quench his ever present thirst.
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