Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Red Orchestra 2 Beta Hands On

The Red Orchestra 2 Beta has been going for a short while and I finally decided to join in on the WWII Russian versus German action. Red Orchestra 2 is developed by Tripwire Interactive and it is the successor to Red Orchestra 1. Red Orchestra 2 takes the same setting and realistic combat from RO1, except now they've added all kinds of improvements. One of the major improvements is a cover system, a new squad system and a new engine. They also have new stat tracking which has you unlocking weapons, leveling up weapons, earning honor (rank) and leveling up classes, but in the beta none of the stat tracking works, which could be on purpose or it's just not done yet. If it is unclear, Red Orchestra is a first person World War II shooter, with infantry and tank combat. For more background information check out my preview post for RO2 that I made back in June.
The three maps in the beta in rotation right now are: the Grain Elevator, a large grain facility that towers into the sky and provides some great infantry combat; the Red October Factory, this is the one map that includes tanks and it is a large night time map that showcases bombed out factories and trains overrun by winter; the last map is Barracks, a purely infantry map that is mostly building to building combat. Of the three maps, Grain Elevator may be my favorite, but Red October Factory is very fun as well. Both of those two maps have a lot of flanking options for infantry and boast some great environments. On the other hand, Barracks seems less substantial the other two maps, for one it is a smaller map, but the building to building combat is pretty tough and chaotic on anyone new to the game. In Red October Factory you get to see tanks, usually two tanks per team, and each tank has five spots or so; a commander, cannon gunner, machine gunner, driver and one other spot (might be a loader, not sure). Tanks are a little buggy at the moment and difficult to use without instruction, but they still seem quite powerful and useful. There are anti-tank infantry (shown in the video below) and engineers, who have satchel charges, both classes be deadly to enemy tank as long as they can surprise them. I've yet to see a fully manned tank, most I've seen is three spots on the tank taken, but I imagine that a fully manned tank would be quite deadly.

Red Orchestra 2 Beta Gameplay VG (watch in HD!)

Most of the maps and servers boast sixty-four players, which tends to make combat sound and feel grand. There is nothing like rushing towards a building with your comrades all around you and when you finally get to the building you take cover only to turn around and see that so few made it, you were one of the lucky ones. Sound in RO2 is quite phenomenal, just like in RO1. Battle sounds are excellent, for example machine guns echo loudly across the battlefield, explosions deafen you (and leave you helpless because of suppression) and almost all of the sfx seem to have been really well done, even soldiers don't sound awful when yelling various phrases. Without the sound the experience would suffer.

The new cover system works well most of the time. I can't think of anything to relate it specifically, but it's pretty similar to most cover systems; you walk up to any wall, or object, and press left control to take cover. The difference between just crouching behind something and taking cover is that if you use the cover system you can easily pop out to take shots and then duck back down. The squad system doesn't seem to be done, but in the beta it mainly is used to show you were your squad mates are, restrict classes and it lets you spawn on your team leader. Squads do provide plenty of options, for the squad leader, for artillery and orders, but they don't seem to be very effective right now, except artillery is quite devastating.
The main classes in the beta, other than the two anti-tank ones, are: Rifleman, Assault, Machine Gunner, Sniper, Squad Leader and Advanced Rifleman. Most of them are pretty much what you would think, but Squad Leaders get smoke while the rest of the classes just have regular grenades. Thankfully, even in the beta, the classes seem pretty balanced. The more unique classes have restrictions based on squad limitations, usually there can only be a few Snipers, Machine Gunners and Advanced Rifleman. While there are always a lot of spots for Rifleman, quite a few for Assault and a Squad Leader for however many squads each team has. Most of the classes are subject to server restriction as well, I've seen several servers that have no advanced rifleman or snipers. Machine Gunners are really fun to use, but very hard to use if your team is attacking an objective, not just defending, with defense they are excellent. Machine guns, like the Mg42, can only be used if you are on some kind of cover or laying down and your only other weapon is a pistol (and grenades). If you find a really great spot as a Machine Gunner you can also request ammunition and any assault class can bring you ammunition.
So far the Beta feels like a beta, but even then it works pretty well, it seems to be fairly stable for most people and it already provides a unique experience. Tripwire definitely has a lot of work cut out for them in the future, especially with the release coming so soon on September 13th, but I have a really good feeling that RO2 will be in a good state by then. As far as I know RO2 is a steam exclusive, but you can purchase it from places like Green Man Gaming for cheaper than Steam currently has it. For more, feel free to check out the main website or the steam page. Thanks for reading and maybe I'll see some of you out there.
Main Website:
Steam Page:

-Written by Sean Cargle


Post a Comment