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Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #18 in PC Games


Pros: Great levels of realism/authenticity, no silly arcade features, not casual, teamwork emphasis

Cons: Single player campaign hardly exists, but that's a given

Red Orchestra 2 is an amazing sequel, and represents where PvP war-based shooters should have gone. Instead they've gone backwards, becoming more messy and more casual (while fooling their playerbase into believing otherwise, often without even trying). This is very obvious if you compare this game to another game of the same genre that came out around the same time, Battlefield 3.

The realism and authenticity bring intensity levels above and beyond all other PvP shooters. It's not an all-out simulator like ArmA, and you'll find that game modes aren't too much different than what you see in games like Battlefield. RO2 features large, carefully planned out levels for balanced strategic gameplay (something Battlefield lacks), and features ground vehicles with excellent realism and control. The driver no longer drives the vehicles and controls all of the weapons, so even the task of driving and operating a vehicle becomes a test of teamwork.

On realism mode, RO2 also restricts the amount of players you can have in every class, for a realistic and balanced team. Remember how you'd find like 20 snipers on your team in Battlefield? That won't be a problem here.

Shooting mechanics are some of the best out there. The ballistic system is wonderful, it does a good job feeling authentic unlike Battlefield (which tries and fails miserably). This combined with the aiming deadzone, excellent sound effects, range adjustment, usable bi-pods, and crisp emulation of recoil, make shooting people more satisfying than just about any other shooter. Unlike ArmA 2, mouse movement and support is perfect with no forced mouse smoothing.

If you like PvP shooters, definitely pick up RO2. The playerbase is much smaller than mainstream games, but is still large enough to find fully occupied servers easily. The game supports 64-players, and does so better than BF3 (with much better hit detection as well). And unlike many modern, mainstream PvP shooters, RO2 features a complete in-game server browser. It really hits the mark, and has very few flaws as a PvP shooter.

Full review here


Pros: Unforgiving Shooter heavily reliant on team play to win a match. Excellent graphics, visuals, and sounds.

Cons: Limited servers, can have some lag issues, not as detailed as the original.

Initial impressions

First off, this is a multiplayer game. The single player is useful as to teach you how to play but otherwise think of it more as a scenario multiplayer match with bots. While still fun do not expect a grand campaign with theatrical events and cut-scenes.

To play this game at the highest settings does take some heavier hardware. Originally when it came out a GTX470 could play at 1920x1080 with Ultra settings and measure about 40 FPS, which was pretty good. Through driver updates and some texture changes Today you can expect the same settings to see 60 FPS more often then not. There is a definite difference between the settings. Ultra gives you very good detail on objects and players. A heavy firefight at Ultra settings is of the highest level of eye-candy.
With that said the Lowest settings removes shadows, textures, objects, and turns the game into a 4 color shade block adventure.

Community support is pretty good. There are a number of custom maps in rotation now, at least for the couple of servers I play on. Most of the maps are a lot of fun to play.


If you like WW2 shooters this is your new home. Understand that hit detection is server based, not client based. This means that when you shoot someone you have to hit them. It also means that there is usually a slight delay as the bullet hit must be tracked by the server. While some may hate this understand that this means that you will never get magically shot after you run three feet past that iron clad corner of invincibility. Adjusting to the aim times, or leading the target, is easy to grasp and comes with practice.

The weapons feel authentic, with great textures, animations, and sounds. Each weapon has its own sound signature and you know when that Axis MG starts blasting from a balcony that you need to find cover fast.

Hitting an enemy feels heavy. You hear the thuck of a bullet making contact or the Ping of a shot to the helmet. When you stick someone with your bayonet you feel it. Artillery blasts you can your friends into tiny chunks. The air screams as bullets fly over your head.

There is an RPG element now to the game. You will level up weapons and classes. As you level up your character becomes dirtier, grittier, with smudges on your face and discolored jackets. Your hat changes too! When you see that new recruit firing blindly next to you he looks like a fresh peice of meat ready to distract that MG for you!

Classes. Yes there are several classes letting you take different roles. Riflemen, Assault, Machinegun, Engineer, Anti-Tank, Squad Leader, Commander, and Sniper. Each class comes with their own set of weapons, tools, and abilities. Now would be a good time to play the Single Player to learn these roles!

A Note on Shooting

The only game which attempts to add true sight to a Shooter. In real life you can easily see a target 250 meters. You can see facial features, differences in clothing, and see a hand waving in the sky. In PC games you never see more than ~150 meters at best compared to real life, yet it looks like you can see miles away. That sniper shooting at you from across the map Looks far away because you only see a couple of Pixels, but really he isn't far at all. RO2 attempts to rectify this by adding Zoom to all weapons. Now before you go raging Hax, this is to replicate True sight so that you can In Game shoot someone truly at 350 meters away! What this does is greatly expand the distance of maps and engagement ranges. So now as a sniper you can actually play your role! It is not a huge amount of Zoom either so don't let that be a turn off.

Team Play

If you are not playing as a team you will lose, simple as that. Each class has items and abilities which if used correctly will greatly aid in taking objectives. Smoke is a critical tool in helping your team assault an objective. An easy to access voice and movement panel (wheel display) helps you quickly send messages or give commands. As a Leader you can set Artillery points or give way points with Defend or Attack commands. There is no medic or field revive so you need to rely on your comrades!


Some of the original gameplay elements are lost, such as body damage affecting performance. If you get shot in the arm you can still aim like a fresh recruit out of training. Tank combat is fun but not to the original scale and you only have two tank choices, one for each side.

Overall Impression of an Average Match

You start off in the backfield surrounded by your comrades. A great shout echoes around you as the charge begins and players hurry forward to find key contention points, setup arcs of fire, and rush for objectives. The next thing you know bullets are filling the sky and your buddies are falling all around you. As you take cover in the crater next to that mash of gore that was once your buddy or behind a broken wall holding up the lifeless corpses of the first assault you hear the distinctive thump of heavy rounds launching into the sky. It isn't for you to judge the next few moments as the earth is raised all around you but to only curl up against whatever cover you can find and hope to live. If you survive the artillery only then can figure out how to get past the newly positioned MG now raking fire above you. If you fail this, good news, you get to try again!

Gameplay is brutal. You will die often and from everything. However the victories are great and glorious!
If you like WW2 shooters this is the top of the pile.


Pros: Graphics and sound quality, Realism mode.

Cons: Some bugs, confusing controls.

Red Orchestra 2 is a World war 2 first person Shooter from Tripwire interactive. It is available on steam as a game of the year edition for as low as $5 on sale.

The gameplay itself is the fairly common first person shooter experience, go around and shoot the enemy, capture or defend areas and try not perish. The single player is decent and fairly long, and is very challenging set to hard. The online multiplayer is brilliant and I found it very enjoyable chiefly set to realism mode. Starting a game in multiplayer there are limited classes each with unique abilities and weapons for you to use, such a commander, sharpshooter and rifleman. You have two teams to choose from, the Russian allies or Nazi axis each using weapons from their own countries.

The graphics are very good and movement actions are top notch, depending on how much ammunition you have left in your weapon, there are different reloading actions. Watching other players run, crouch, crawl, sprint and jump over fences and trenches we see very realistic life like movements. Sound quality is a definite strong point in this game. Hearing gun shots and explosions in the distance, alarming you to where the firefight and possibly hostile players are.

Once we have the game set to realism, we have no hud. You cannot be sure of your health or where you are on the map, with the only way to know how much ammunition you have left in your weapon is to physically check. I enjoyed playing on realism more than any other mode for the way it limits your information and overall makes it more difficult to play.

There are a ton of controls maybe even too many, and setting them all out on even a keyboard is hard. I'm using almost every key on my keyboard for the controls in this game. I would liked to have seen the controls set out better and easier to use but it isn't too much hassle. Changing weapons can also be frustrating at times and doesn't always work when you want it too getting you killed.

There were a few bugs I've come across, but nothing that really ruins the experience. Controls work, hit detection is fine and I experienced no kind of frame rate drop off.

I think Red Orchestra 2 is one of those great games, that is just underrated and unknown. It is a fantastic example of what a world war era shooter can be. If you like these kind of games, consider grabbing a copy the next time it's on sale.

File source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Orchestra_Heroes_of_Stalingrad_cover.jpg

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Focusing on the Battle of Stalingrad and the surrounding operations, both German and Russian, from July 1942 to February 1943 the game allows the player to experience one of the most brutal battles in all of human history.

BrandTripwire Interactive
ESRB Age RatingRating Pending
FeatureCommand fire teams on the battlefield using an easy to use first person interface
Hardware PlatformPc
Weight0.3 pounds
LabelTripwire Interactive
List Price$39.99
ManufacturerTripwire Interactive
Operating SystemWindows 7
PlatformWindows XP
Product GroupVideo Games
PublisherTripwire Interactive
Release Date2011-09-13
StudioTripwire Interactive
TitleRed Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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