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Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is a WWII themed first-person shooter video game developed and published by Tripwire Interactive. It is a sequel to Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45. The title focuses heavily on the Battle of Stalingrad.The game was released on 13 September 2011. The developers have stated that the game is a PC exclusive and have no plans to bring it to the consoles. The game contains many new features including a new first person cover system combined with blind firing, first person collision detection as well as an entire new system of statistics tracking and enabling player development.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Red Orchestra Heroes of Stalingrad cover.jpg
Developer(s) Tripwire Interactive
Publisher(s) Tripwire Interactive
1C Company
Distributor(s) Valve Corporation
Composer(s) Sam Hulick
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) 13 September 2011
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Who says PC Gaming is dead? Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is the follow up to 2006’s Red Orchestra, which achieved critical acclaim for the level of realism in the game. Its successor lives up to its impressive pedigree. It does so by using the Unreal 3 engine to render the game’s impressive graphic system – it's certainly at least on par with current generation shooters like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Battlefield 2.
Realism and attention to detail are the name of the game here – the example that may seem small to some: the interiors of the tanks were painstakingly replicated, to the point where the developers only had time to include 2 in the game. Developer Tripwire not only recreated World War 2 Stalingrad, but they filled it with menace and foreboding, every step echoing off buildings, the crunch of snow under foot sending shivers up your spine. 

Red Orchestra 2 is a realistic first-person shooter. Guns behave realistically, with bullet drop and spin taken into account. The game also takes away with elements of a traditional HUD like an ammo counter, forcing players to remember, or manually check, the approximate amount of rounds are left in the gun's magazine. When reloading a weapon, the character will check the weight of the new magazine and determine if it's heavy (full or close to full) or light (empty or close to empty).The game's first person cover system allows players to hide behind all objects in the world to avoid gunfire. While in cover players can peek out to take more accurate shots or fire blindly. However the shape, size and composition of the object will change its effectiveness at protecting the player. Smaller objects may not cover the player's entire body and some may not stop bullets. Health does not regenerate over time or by use of medical equipment, but non fatal wounds must still be bandaged so no more health is lost through blood loss.
There are Tanks in Red Orchestra 2, with more vehicles added in after the game's launch. The interiors of each tank are fully recreated with either human or AI controlled characters manning each station. The level of detail was described by Tripwire's president John Gibson as rival or exceeding tank simulation games. Because of the extensive work required to recreate each vehicle, which Tripwire estimates to take three months each, the game will launch with two tanks. The German Panzer IV and Soviet T-34. Two more tanks and two troop carriers are in production and will be added to the game for free shortly after launch.

This game is brutally real – there’s no health system to speak of and no ammo indicators, so you need to manually check your ammunition before each fight. One hit to a vital organ and you’re dead. Minor wounds can be bandaged, but leave those unchecked for too long and you’re done, as well. Even the simplest tasks require patience and attention to detail – this is no run and gun game like Call of Duty or even Battlefield. While this may sound slow and fussy to some – Red Orchestra 2 is immensely rewarding when you do your job correctly.
The game also emphasizes teamwork – from vehicles to out in the field. It is imperative that you work together with your team. They need to not only watch your back in every situation, but be your eyes and ears as well. Vehicles in particular take a massive amount of skill to pilot effectively, but doing so has a massive payoff, as they can very easily turn the tide in a battle. This is so true that various servers either emphasize tank combat or infantry with very little middle ground – so we recommend either getting proficient with the vehicles or steering clear altogether. 

Character progression, unlike Call of Duty, feels largely irrelevant. New perks and gear have virtually no impact on the battle. While this does combat the feeling that long time players feel like super soldiers on the field, it’s not very satisfying that a newcomer to the game can pick it up and one shot a long time veteran. Though, many players may find this to be a plus – this is largely a judgment call you’re going to have to make for yourself.
All of that being said, Red Orchestra 2 is massively unforgiving to new players because of the level of realism in this game. Until you learn that, no, you can’t just go charging down a main choke point of a battlefield, you’re going to be eating dirt. A lot. Once you learn this vital lesson, you’ll be sniping newbies who decide to stick their head around the corner for a few extra seconds in no time.
The one shortcoming this game does have is the campaign. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, there’s just nothing here to write home about. If you’re new to the Red Orchestra series, the campaign is a great primer to the realism of the combat. Otherwise, assume the campaign showcases exactly how hard fought the battle for Stalingrad was, but stick to the rather intense multiplayer. 
Overall Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, while having a steep learning curve, is a game that will have you on the edge of your seat every second that you play. It’s one of those games that gets you so absorbed in the action that you’ll find yourself straining your ears trying to hear approaching enemies, flinching at rounds flying overhead, and celebrating every minor, yet hard-earned victory in a match. If you ignore the rather forgettable campaign, this is one of the best shooters of 2011. In a sea of yearly Call of Duty games, Red Orchestra 2 is a breath of fresh air. Don’t skip out on this one, folks.

Watch  Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad game trailer for more details.


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