For the past two weeks I have been participating in the beta for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad on the PC which launches today, September 13th..All those who pre-ordered RO2's Digital Deluxe edition, which includes a few in-game unlocks, were allowed to play. Being a veteran of the Eastern Front through Red Orchestra Ostfront 41-45, I was eager to strap on my boots, grab my Mosin Nagant, and go protect the Motherland from the Fascists. In short, I have not been disappointed.
Being a veteran of the series, I was quickly familiar with the formula. Like its predecessor, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is a realistic first person shooter set on the Eastern Front which puts players in the boots of The Wehrmacht or Red Army in objective based maps with a mixture of infantry and tank fighting. Unlike it's predecessor, Heroes of Stalingrad focuses solely on the Battle of Stalingrad. This emphasis shifts the combat from the plains and trenches of the Russian countryside to the bombed out urban wasteland that is Stalingrad.
Every element of the gameplay has been tweaked to accommodate this new setting. Characters no longer get stuck on everything in the environment and movement feels very natural. All of the weapons have seen some major tweaking as well. All weapons are no longer as bulky or heavy as before, automatic rifles do not have the excessive kick as in the previous game, and LMGs still can rain death down onto the enemy as long as they are set up properly. Iron sites are a must as there is no crosshairs on the screen and there is a "deadzone" where the gun freely flows across the screen making firing from the hip utterly impossible. One may argue that the weapons have be tweaked a bit to much and now feel a bit to light compared to the previous title, but the weapons are far more accessible than they were before and their learning curve is not as steep.
|Be very very quiet. I'm hunting Fritz.|
To make things even more interesting the game now features a commander role and squad leader roles. The commander role can issue out orders to everybody as well as call in reinforcements during certain times of the game and call for artillery strikes. I haven't played as a commander yet, but it's a unique feature that adds a bit of strategy to the overall game. The squad leader role allows players in a fire team to spawn on the squad leader, like in Battlefield 2. The squad leaders and commander all are equipped with smoke grenades which are extremely effective in concealing movement and are vital for success.
|I advise against being on the receiving end of that...|
While there are tanks in the game, I have not yet had the chance to pilot one of the steel beasts. From bullet ridden corpses I have left behind after encountering a tank, I can tell you that they are a force to be reckoned with and can have a dramatic impact on the battlefield.
|FOR MOTHER RUSSIA COMRADES|
Since the game launched today the initial reaction to the public will be marred by these obvious flaws. I predict a very rocky launch for Red Orchestra 2. That said, all of my time with the beta has been enjoyable, nagging bugs aside. It's a must have for fans of the series and anybody who is sick of the same old FPS formula that has stagnated the genre since 2007 and CoD 4. Expect a full review of the game in the coming weeks on at www.gufuyourself.com. Yes, a bit of shameless self promotion for our new gaming community.