Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
The WW II shooter might just be the most popular gaming genre, so developers who want to step in better be prepared to deliver something original. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad tries to gain your attention by putting the focus on realism.
Forget blasting through a level like Duke Nukem: one good placed shot and it’s game over. Non-lethal shots can also be a problem: if they are not taken care of, you could die anyway and a wounded arm or leg isn’t good for your freedom of movement either. The shooting itself is not as simple as in the early days of shooter games: the bullet’s path is dependent on factors like wind and gravity and so hitting the enemy is not easy and takes a while to master. Next to that the game tries to give an idea of battle stress by the anxious callings of your team mates and the blurring of the screen when you’re under heavy fire.
To avoid spoiling the fun of gaming by overreaching the realism, some loopholes have been introduced. For example, non-lethal wounds can be cured by a simple bandage. And, when you die in singleplayer, you’re automatically transferred into the body of another still surviving teammate. The disadvantage of this is that you can end up in a very bad position or in a fight at a bad time, especially because the A.I. is rather stupid. Your teammates have the very bad habit of running around like headless chickens and are not capable of any kind of teamed attack or defense. The enemy A.I. is in that regard better organized, but not that much that you should be scared of them. The singleplayer actually feels like playing multiplayer with only bots. It’s obvious that Red Orchestra 2’s strong point is in the multiplayer, even though multiplayer isn’t that of a great deal either.
The idea of realism is not visible in the graphics: the soldiers might a times be rendered quite nice on the highest level, but the environments are empty and the buildings are without question below par. The graphics, sound and atmosphere of Red Orchestra just can’t compete with top shooting games. On top of that the game is full of bugs. Singleplayer as well as multiplayer are plagued with various glitches and errors. The game automatically updated many times, a sign that the problems are being taken care of, but actually it’s like trying to save a boat full of holes from sinking.
We can distinguish some good ideas in Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, but the execution is not up to par. The singleplayer has a long way to go yet: the campaigns are not exciting at all and the A.I. sucks. The potential of the multiplayer then, is killed by the many bugs. Perhaps Red Orchestra 3 will do better?