Red Orchestra 2: Heroes Of Stalingrad

World War II has always been a rather popular subject matter for video games, I think we can all agree on that. I’m also bold enough to state that we all agree that first person shooters are a genre of video game that tend to be developed often. Therefore, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad could very easily be victimised for grabbing for the low hanging fruit, but wait! It’s also a PC exclusive WWI first person shooter. This may change the game entirely and rise it to the air and out of perdition! Or not…

Yeah, that’s the one, not. I will kick things off with a congratulatory pat on the back to Red Orchestra 2 because it is definitely one of the most realistic World War II first person shooters I’ve ever experienced. The gun sounds are magnificent, and I truly mean they are some of the best I’ve ever heard, bar none, and the atmosphere the game creates really does get the adrenaline pumping when you want to be able to push that extra couple of metres into enemy territory for your country and the proud men who stand alongside you. Not to mention that the attention to level design must have been painstaking because every brick, house, bush and piece of artillery look absolutely stunning for the Unreal 3 Engine. The problem is that from there on out the overall experience slowly gets whittled down piece by piece of small, yet notable, annoyances and glitches.

The first, and for me the most glaring, point to make is that this is a multiplayer game. STOP! Do not read the back of the box or the stats on Steam because I know it says that its got single player as well, but it is the most half arsed attempt that I’m not going to allow it. It’s singleplayer the way Brink was singleplayer. They shove you into a multiplayer mode with a group of AI controlled teammates and enemies and leave you to scream at them glitching into a fence for thirty odd minutes. If you want to play with bots then yes the singleplayer will cater to that and tie a very loose plot around it, but I’m from the age when having bots was part of the multiplayer so I’m labelling this as a multiplayer only game with some mildly misleading marketing.

The multiplayer in itself, ignoring the glitches of course, is a highly detailed (let me stress that again: HIGHLY. DETAILED) experience with enough command keys, strategies and voice commands to make any standard Call of Duty player weep tears of blood in fear. I played as much of this game as I possibly could prior to reviewing, even completing the ‘singleplayer’ experience before going online, and I am still clueless as to what at least half the command keys do. Please leave your purse by the front door because unless you know what you’re stepping into you will not walk out with 10 fingers by the end of it. You can command squadmates, form strategies, drop precision strikes, specify objectives in certain missions, target fire specific targets and about 50 other options I couldn’t even begin to get my head around. I still label this level of detail as a huge plus for the game’s side, because that’s the game that Red Orchestra 2 is trying to be, but I will still throw a casual caution to the wind that you need to know the number of hours you’ll need to put in to even understand all the controls. Noobs best steer clear unless you’re into the gaming equivalent of  S&M.

The biggest fault in the game as it stands right now is the glitches. The matchmaking threw me around for ages before locking me into a game, the ping rates were extortionate to the point my ping bordered on Facebook money levels, and graphical glitches plagued almost every game I stepped into online. Some nowhere near as dangerous as others. Often it would be something as simple as a bush inside of a wall or a corpse lying down in mid-air, small cosmetic stuff, but it went as far as some enemies flashing through walls, invisible vehicles and in one very rare instance I even fell through the floor into oblivion during a heavy lag period when it claimed my ping was high.

I’m sure that Triptech will fix these issues, they’re very good to their PC user base, and that the multiplayer will smooth itself out a few weeks from now – but I can only review what I have in front of me. Assuming that you read somewhere that they have a patch released, feel free to throw an extra mark onto the overall score and make it a very solid 8. The current score is still based on the experience I had being both fun and satisfying. Unlike most first person shooters I felt genuinely proud to have got a kill or captured an objective, which really bumped up the game from glitchy and mediocre to quite good… and glitchy.







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