The horror of war – Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Who hasn’t played as a kid of cops and robbers, of soldiers or simply hasn’t hold a riffle toy “shooting” and shouting at his fellow friends: ” Boom, you’re killed!”, “No, you were killed first, I fired just a moment before you!”… Most dreamed of becoming soldiers, fighter pilots, cops, holding a gun, shooting the bad guys. Growing up, for some it still seemed appealing some of them  fulfilled their dreams joining the army to be respected, to prove themselves, you can name the reason.


 But have you eventually met someone of this group who actually was at war or survived a shootout? I personally haven’t, but I bet all of them are not any longer the same persons they were before. The faces of doom, death and destruction lurk about every corner, the fear, the loss and pain – their closest friends.


Thinking today about war I personally see it as one of worst faces of the evil nature of men. The idea of causing pain, suffering, destruction and death are monstrous, but unfortunately war and men will walk hand to hand for still the long times to come.


There is a plethora of war games out there – fast paced 1st and 3rd person shooters, strategies, RPGs, quests – name it, probably out of every game genre there is a game about war – about the war in the past, the present or the war in the future and how its authors think it will look like. Probably it will always be the same, just the instruments of it which the people will hold will differ.


Last week there was a nice offer on Humblebundle for Red orchestra franchise for as much as you like to pay, starting from $1. Basically for just $1 you get 2 games, expansions, add ons and soundtracks. Rado and I decided that this price is so appealing just to try out some coop games and it is totally worth it. I’ve decided to install only Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad and before our 1st coop try I’ve played through the training campaign and first single player mission. And from these 30 minutes I found out that this 1st person shooter is not like any others I’ve tried before. Because this game kicks ass. And it knows how to do it well and painfully. It is a super realistic and brutal mirror of what war looks and feels like representing the most bloody and dire conflict the mankind knows so far – the World War II and particularly – the gruesome battle at Stalingrad. Expect nice graphics (game is really demanding and needs a good PC to handle it), bullets flying all over the place, soldiers dying all around you and oneshot kills from god knows where. Actually just after my combat training on the single player campaign I was thrown to attack with my squad the village of Spartnovka just in the outskirts of the city named after the leader of USSR of that time. Hundred meters after our initials charge, just when I was entering a bomb hole to take a brief cover I was shot and died instantly. I looked at the monitor blinking – “What?!” The game spawns you into the body of the next member of your squad. I’ve made couple of more steps just to be shot in the stomach and bled to death unable to bandage myself so fast – “What the HELL!?!?”. With the 3rd spawn I managed to get myself to the church and got stabbed in the back. By the time I was definitely going to throw my monitor out of the balcony. I took a small brake and gave it another go and managed it pass the church with only 2 deaths but couldn’t complete the 1st mission as all of my squad members and reinforcements were dead.


On the next day I managed better. Going slower, thinking tactically in advance, checking every window for a sniper, covering my back and made it through. Bad thing is – the single player is actually the game on the multiplayer maps with bots. And these bots are stupid, but shoot like Vasily Zaytsev. It happened that I died and couldn’t respawn as all of the squad were dead because they were running on the streets like mindless sheep. So have this in mind if you are going after the campaign. It is however really well done, missions are interesting, briefings and ingame cinematics are cool.


Eventually Rado and I managed to play for couple of hours on the multyplayer. All the same as warnings goes also about it beside that you play against real people on huge maps and you can spawn as long as your team has tickets. But be careful, try to think like if you are really there and what you would do. No, deserting is not an option and you will be shot at sight! Do not try to go solo, you are not Rambo and you will be greeted with lead from the enemy. And if they do not – you can always be killed by a really good shooting team member thinking you are an enemy. Yes, it happens really often – on close combat the uniforms are pretty distinct but on greater range Russians and Germans look the same. So, double check at what you are shooting. Rado’s very first kill was a team mate and I almost died laughing just to do same mistake couple of minutes later. And such actions are neither welcomed by your team not rewarding you. Soon you will start to crouch in the rubble, checking through your iron sights every inch of ground where the enemy could be.

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The longer I played the more I enjoyed the game in comparison to Rado who seemed as he got a bit stressed and didn’t like the whole concept of realism. After he quit I played War thunder for a while but couldn’t resist the urge and started Red Orchestra again. Played straight for 3 battles and decided to check what time it was. 4:50, Sunday morning. “What the HELL?!” I’ve sprinted for my bed. This haven’t happened for a really long time with me.


The thumbs go up for:

Realism – you want to try real war at home – this is your chance without risking your skin. If you are a WW2 facts fanboy – this is your game. Vehicles, weapons, locations – everything is like it was. (set the languages to their real, instead of listening to Germans/Russians speaking English with a bad accent)


Gore/Brutality – if you are into it in games, this is your heaven. I won’t be descriptive, but it is like acting in a war movie.


Challenge – you like the idea of outthinking your enemy? You like the idea of playing dirty? Or you want to prove yourself and take the shot with a bolt rifle from over 250m meters in the windy factory yard? You will find here every challenge you could possibly think of.


Atmosphere – I cannot describe it really. But this game has it – it really has a soul and shows brutally the real face of war and its consequences.


The thumbs go down for:

Bots  – they are also added some times when people are not enough on some servers. They are stupid, they suck and they shoot sharp.


However if you are a Call of duty fan and like fast paced actions, please avoid this game at all costs! I really couldn’t advise you any better in order to spare your PC, it doesn’t deserve such fate! But if you would risk to take the challenge I am sure you will be rewarded.


My final verdict for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad: 9 out of 10.

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