Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad [Review]

Jarret Redding
Executive Editor
September 19th, 2011

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

We meet again, brethren.  A few weeks ago I presented you with a preview of the Red Orchestra 2 multiplayer.  I highly suggest you read through that before continuing here.  While I will be touching on many of the same items, I will not be going as in-depth as I did on the preview in many areas since I’ve already discussed them and I don’t want to bore those who have already read it.

This time I will start with an area that I didn’t get to try out during the multiplayer beta; the single player.  This is going to be short because the single player is basically training for the multiplayer.  You play the same maps and scenarios that you would in multiplayer except you have to do it with AI instead of humans.  Usually I skip single player campaigns that just serve as multiplayer training ground. However, in this case I would urge all players to at least go through it once.  The training you get at the beginning of each chapter teaches you valuable information regarding your weapons, vehicles, and commands and how to use them.  Without these tutorials, there are several items I wouldn’t have known about such as holding the reload key to check your ammo or how to use artillery strikes.

Playing through the levels after the training will give you good practice with the skills you just learned.  The AI, while not super intuitive, isn’t dumb either.  If enemies spot you they will try to kill you…  aggressively.  The biggest problem with the single player is that RO2 is a very team oriented game and obviously your allies aren’t going to be all that supportive.  Once you learn to give commands it helps, but not really that much.  Because of this the single player can prove to be a bit frustrating at times, but nothing that a decent player should have trouble with.

A lot of thought and detail were put into the weapons of Red Orchestra 2.  Not just in the look and sound but also in terms of functionality.  On every gun you can adjust the iron sights.  RO2 utilizes ballistic drop, so properly dialing your iron sights is imperative for longer range shots.  While machine guns can shoot enough bullets to turn a squad into swiss cheese, holding that trigger down for too long will result in overheating.  Although this isn’t a new concept, in this game you have to go as far as replacing the overheated barrel.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

In most shooters you play the sniper rifle only has one application: long range.  In RO2 you can switch from the scope to iron sights if you need to do combat at a closer range.  Something like this would kind of make the sniper rifle overpowered since it gives you a definitive advantage over your average rifleman.  That would be the case if you didn’t have the big, honking scope in the way of your field of vision while using the iron sights.  This makes a huge difference since you can really only see what’s directly in front of you; leaving you open to get plugged from the sides.

Even when throwing grenades you have options.  Besides cooking a grenade, you can also throw it either over or underhand.  Overhand throws are for long distances, while underhand throws allow you to roll the grenades right to the enemy’s toes.  It may not sound like a big deal, but it makes a huge difference.  I’ve seen some people try to overhand throw a grenade inside, only to have it bounce back at them and send them into the future.

The meat of Red Orchestra 2 is in the multiplayer, and here you are presented with a few options on how you want to play.  There are three game types to choose from; Territory, Firefight, and Countdown.  In Territory you are either attacking or defending the two points open on the map.  Attackers must capture both points in order to open the next two points.  If only one of the points are captured, the defenders can take back the one captured point, so you will definitely need to use team work to make sure point A is defended while some of your team try to take point B.  Firefight is pretty much your standard team deathmatch.  The team with the most kills at the end of the round wins.

Countdown is similar to Territory, however there is only one objective to take at a time.  Once that objective is taken all the players are moved to the next location where defenders will rush to get in defensive positions and attackers will rush to get the jump on them.  In Countdown, once you die you have to wait for the reinforcement wave to respawn.  The number of respawn waves are limited and if you die after the last respawn wave, you’re out for that round.  There is also a campaign game type, but when I filtered for that game type it always came up blank.

Besides the game types, there are different modes you can play.  You can play with infantry only, tanks only, or combined tank and infantry.  Finding tank only matches didn’t happen, but both infantry only and combined arms had a variety of servers available.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Tripwire Interactive
The visuals are fantastic. They definitely pull you into WW2 Russia and show how truly destructive the war was. Character models, weapons, and vehicles look great as well.
If MTB had awards, RO2 would definitely win best sound design. The orchestrated music, weapon sounds, and sounds of the soldiers are perfect.
Typically, FPS controls are extremely simple because there aren't many functions. However, with as many functions you an perform in RO2, controls are still extremely accessible and help smooth the gameplay.
Game Play
Red Orchestra 2 is one of the deepest shooters I've ever played. So many things to watch out for when moving about the levels, so many things to consider when your trying to place a good shot. Fast reactions and calculated accuracy are rewarded with success. Bad decisions are rewarded with death.
Besides TF2, this is one of the most fun games I've played. Even when I got killed, I couldn't get too upset because I know more than likely that was a well placed shot. The game makes you think as opposed to just react and gives you a deep feeling of satisfaction when you're successful.


Jarret is Editor-in-Chief as well as one of the founding members of Mash Those Buttons. He's been playing games since before he could read and that's turned into a love of all things game related. His favorite genres include FPS, RTS, racing, and action-adventure platforming. He is currently spending way too much time playing Starcraft II followed by Team Fortress 2.

Specialty: FPS