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  • Red Orchestra 2 review

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ID:	8178Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad has been out for around about 12 hours now, and I've been stuck into multiplayer with a few Gamers-Underground.com forum goers during the evening. If you were waiting on another opinion or two before a purchase, read on; I've got one for you along with a review score for RO2's multiplayer.

    Despite having no expectations for this title, my first impression of the game wasn't good; a server browser that would crash me to desktop, and refused to refresh after a failed server connection. I gritted my teeth as I finally began loading into a local games.on.net server, and quickly crossed my fingers in the hope that the experience would improve once in-game.

    "You have to aim well from distance, or risk your life in a close combat quarters fire fight where a single shot is enough to kill - it can be very tense stuff."
    After making my way in I was greeted with what I whimsically referred to as "lolgraphics" - they're bad, real bad. But that's ok, graphics aren't everything, right? There have been plenty of recent titles with below average graphics that have proven fun to play, without argument. But to give you some perspective; the animations are reminiscent of Half-Life mods, as are the weapon models and blocky environments. It's borderline insulting. Whether RO2 turned out to be fun or not, the presentation just wasn't acceptable - perhaps a PlayStation Network or LIVE Arcade title at a far lower price - not for a $50 PC title (ed: in Australian retail stores).

    Without dwelling on that for too long, I got playing. Despite some grievances with the effectiveness of the SMG's, the gunplay felt good. The Axis rifle quickly became my weapon of choice - powerful and accurate, I was dropping enemies from range with a single shot. "How rewarding, how satisfying," I thought. Indeed it was, and it doesn't really begin to get any less so. You have to aim well from distance, or risk your life in a close combat quarters fire fight where a single shot is enough to kill - it can be very tense stuff.

    However what is almost always an 'instant-death' doesn't always create positive or enjoyable gameplay. You're often hit from across the map and prompted with a "bleed out" message, giving you the option to bandage up even though you're already dead, or a clouded black screen as you attempt to limp out of sight only to be shot again while virtually helpless.


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    Over time, everything that surrounds what was otherwise solid combat begins to become a severe downer. The problem isn't just the underwhelming aesthetics and environments, it's the flawed UI and cover system as well; the screen is a mess with poorly designed elements that are seemingly placed arbitrarily. While movement is mostly clean and trouble-free, the cover system is fundamentally flawed. You'll continually jitter in and out of cover-enabled fixtures, be button mashing to activate your cover, and generally become frustrated with putting it to any practical use in a firefight. The consensus with my play group was that it's better simply not to use it.

    Your remaining cover option while on the battlefield encourages camping and pixel hunting, inadvertently. The consequence of the actual cover system's poor implementation is that because you can't use cover like you might in a real battle, you're left leaning awkwardly, and you can't move while leaning. Inaction seems to be rewarded with people too often pitching tents and ignoring the objective.

    Ultimately the game is buggy, it's unpolished, and there are simply far too many issues to give the game anything but an embarrassing score. It's hard to believe that this is the excellent Unreal engine at times.

    RO2 falls short of a combat simulation, and it's far too stiff and restrictive to be arcade. What it winds up being is a poorly produced, frustrating clunk of an alpha-release WWII themed shooter. Gameplay mechanic choices are confused and lead to an end product that doesn't know what it wants to be - let alone deliver what works instead of what seemed like a good idea over pizza and beer.
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    • KidCynic
      KidCynic commented
      Editing a comment
      cool story bro, needs more dragons

    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm not here to discuss about the graphics or the bugs but the gameplay.
      For many years, RO has been the only game I was really interested in; I played something else too, but, in the end, that game gave me emotions no other game did in years. I started playing online with Quake 3 then all UT games,CS, DOD and so on...
      I don't know what TWI was thinking when they were makin this crap... Maybe "hey! Let's strike a balance between a realistic game and an arcade one, so everyone can enjoy this"
      All smgs lost too much recoil, they are way too accurate even for a long range shot.
      Snipers are not more effective like they were cause of map design...Now a normal rifleman is deadly exactly like a sniper with the only different that he can acquire targets faster; there's some excpetion but, in the end, every good player can notice.
      Players can heal themselves after getting shot, even by a short range rifle shot, but can be easily killed in melee combat with just one hit, even with binoculars ( thats ridiculous).
      Mg can shot without deploying, which happened also in Ostfront, but as i said, mgs dont have the same recoil problem they had, hipshooting with mgs has never been so easy, and disturbing.
      Tanks damage system seems to be a little random to me; sometimes you hit a specifici point 2 or 3 times without doing any real damage, sometimes you hit the same point and the tank will blow up.
      In some map, I can easily put arty near the enemy spawn, so close enough that it might be considered spawnkilling.
      In some map, I can even blindfire with MG in some specific direction (since some wall can be passed by bullets) and kill enemies in the spawn.
      I'm telling all this after about 250 hours playing this abomination... So, do I (and many other players) have to wait for 10 gigs update that might change this crap into a good game? I don't think TWI will listen to us.
      By the way, after months, the campaign mode is still not available. I paid 35 euros for an incomplete crap. Thanks TWI.

    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest commented
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      O_o game huh

      I want a fing refund! This crap is supposed to create some special vibe? Yeah glitches have always done that so no prize for that one. It is total crap, the challenge with this game lies with how well you can handle the rough controls and all the error that were published with this game. I was looking at articles and other reviews to see what is going on. I cam across a few that were talking about beta release and improvements taking place. I got excited thinking that they would polish the game...well to bad those articles were from 2011..guess the polishing has already taken place. I do not want to see what it was like before the polishing.
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