Red Orchestra is a strange game; which fits into an odd niche of gaming. It fits in-between those who like EA’s Battlefield games, but want something more serious and realistic, though they don’t want to go the whole way to games like Arma. For that, Red Orchestra has fit the bill perfectly. However, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad had a terrible launch, terribly optimized, glitches everywhere and because of that, people who did pre-order it abandoned the game. It is a pretty dead game nowadays, with 1-2 servers full, if that. Now, it seems Tripwire want to take another stab at the series with Rising Storm.
This time it seems they managed to nail the launch of this game, even whilst in beta, it runs better than Red Orchestra 2. It’s optimised amazingly well, and the gameplay has been tweaked to work much better than the original. Set in World War 2, The Pacific War to be exact, you play as either the Japanese or the Americans fighting on Iwo Jima. From a historical point of view the game veers away from reality a bit, such as the Japanese/Americans having certain weapons that were not actually used by them in the war, but for history buffs, you won’t find much else to complain about.
One thing that may push some people away is that game is purely online only, there is no offline story or campaigns like in Red Orchestra 2. This may cause the game to die sooner than some people would want (think of the current player base of Red Orchestra 2). In the few matches I have managed to get into, the people playing are friendly and also help others into the game more. This does help, but I’m unsure if this is the nature of the people who enjoy this game, or just because these are the people who also pre order the game to get into the beta.
You will find two modes in Rising Storm beta, Realism and Classic. Both modes have different amount of damage and HUD currently on display, and both play very differently. Rising Storm still has the bleeding out aspect, where if you get shot somewhere that isn’t deadly, you can wrap it back up and continue fighting. But if you get shot somewhere vital such as the stomach or neck you won’t be able to, and you will slowly bleed out.
Graphically the game is just as lovely as the previous instalment, though they also seemed to have cut back on some needless things to help performance gain, something that was needed desperately in Red Orchestra 2. Draw distance is one thing that annoys me, as a lot of trees will pop in when aiming and zooming in to take a shot, it can be distracting and worrisome as some players on lower graphic settings may not be able to see as far as other players. Though this is just a worry and no way to know if it’s true.
When playing the game you pick from 6 different class types, most are standard to every game. The ones that stand out are the Squad leader, a player who is a walking re-spawner, allowing team mates to spawn near them, and closer to positions of interest. Commanders can call in artillery support to positions that have been marked out by others. The US also have the Flamethrower unit, a solider equipped with a high damage and high range flame thrower. On the other hand, the Japanese have access to mortar teams. Of the two, Flame Thrower units are much easier to use and get good kills with, but only one is allowed per team, whilst multiple mortar teams are allowed.
Though even though this is the third game of the Red Orchestra franchise, it is disappointing to see the same problems still occurring that affected the older games. The bleeding mechanic is a good example – if you are shot in the head or heart, that’s it you’re dead. Anywhere else you get a prompt telling you to press your bandage button and how many bandages you have left. It is incredibly frustrating to see this prompt, press it and have nothing happen, then to die, confused and annoyed at having to wait 30 seconds to respond when the game clearly said to bandage your wounds. Another is the prone/crouch system, if you’re sneaking along and want to get against a rock to hide, and you happen to press against the rock or enter a position the game determines that you shouldn’t be in prone, it will either force you into crouch or standing position, instantly revealing your position and usually getting you killed. There are other problems that have still not been fixed or addressed since older versions, and it’s a shame to see Red Orchestra not get the treatment it deserves by Tripwire, after seeing how well made Killing Floor is now.
Disclaimer: All Previews given are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.