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Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Beta Impressions
Posted on September 11, 2011 by Joel

After playing the hell out of Call of Duty Black Ops, I have to admit I was a bit burned out on the FPS genre. I took a break for awhile, sticking with games like Starcraft 2 because I felt that I had my fill of shooting people in the face. So when I first heard about the imminent release of  Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, I wasn’t impressed; surely a game like that couldn’t possibly compete with the big guns out there like Modern Warfare and Battlefield?

For me, it looks like it is going to, because RO2 offers something a little different; a more realistic and gritty experience with the fast pace of other games in the genre.

Red Orchestra 2 combines the frantic action of games like Day of Defeat with huge maps and a level of realism that is not present in most current FPS games. We are talking one shot kills, firing at muzzle flashes, no apparent enemy identifiers, and a distinct and frightening lack of grenade indicators. RO2 takes no prisoners, and new players will immediately feel overwhelmed by the sense of utter mortality in the game, and the tendency to shoot your own teammates early on in the chaos and confusion.

In between my RO2 sessions I was watching the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, and noted how remarkably similar the feeling of tension was. Right now the beta is multiplayer only, with new maps cycling in as the weeks progress, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are multiple game types, but the main focus seems to be Territory, a sort of domination mode that has one force pushing out taking zones of influence and expanding their own available territory and spawn points.

A game like RO2 needs structure of this kind; working as a team is important, and playing your role even more so. A rifleman in close quarters combat is about as useful as Queen without Freddie Mercury, and a machine gunner in a long range firefight is just asking for a sniper shot to the face. Much like games like Team Fortress or Enemy Territory, RO2 places a heavy emphasis on character classes, and for a game that is attempting to simulate battles in World War II, this is entirely necessary.

So far the beta is shaping up very nicely. The game will be accompanied by a full blown single player campaign when it is released on September 13th, and the six maps I have been able to play so far are both diverse and massive in scale, so there will be quite a lot to do when the game finally ships.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad has been a blast so far, and if you are interested in getting in on the action early, pre-ordering the deluxe edition of the game will get you immediate beta access. I’d recommend checking it out if you are looking for a challenge, and if mindless firefights aren’t really your thing.

Joel - Staff Writer | all author's articles

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