by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
New Scope System
One of the more interesting aspects of the original Red Orchestra was that it used a completely different scope system then other games at the time. Most of them added a layer of black over the screen with a hole in the middle which contained a cross. Then they zoomed in on the area where the cross was pointing towards. That was their idea of a scope. Tripwire had a completely different idea of what a scope should look like. They added a 3D scope that the character put up to the camera and looked through. This meant that the view was focused through a dynamic scope and his peripheral vision was still there. It was very blurry, but if there was something going on around him, he'd know. Tripwire's team of designers have managed to improve this design even further by adding a few more elements into the mix. The player can now dial down the range causing the crosshair to lower in the scope. In most games where the bullet drops over a distance, the player will have to aim a little bit above his target in order to hit it. In Red Orchestra 2, you can match the distance to the target with the dial of your scope and let one fly straight at him. This is actually true for the iron sights of all the other weapons as well.
This is not the only added feature to the sniper rifles, as they've now been given the ability to change from aiming down the scope to aiming down the iron sight. This means that if they get caught in a close quarters fight, they won't have to slowly lift the rifle up and wait for the scope to settle. Instead, they can just aim down the sight and take an active part in the fight. The 3D scope looks a lot better this time around and with the addition of a movement shadow system, which causes a shadow to form in the scope when you swing the rifle from left to right. It's hard to imagine what they can add next time around to make it any more realistic.
Focus on Realism
The addition of a cover snap system will probably make some gamers worried about giving campers an added advantage. The system is very good and players can freely move from side to side while attached to the cover they are behind. Players can also blindfire over or to the side of the cover, but that shouldn't give them any more power, because Tripwire have also implemented a bullet penetration system, where thin wooden walls and floorboards will only give you a limited amount of cover.
The amount of detailed research that has been put into making this game is astounding. When you play this game, you'll notice that the Russian soldiers run holding their weapons with both arms while the Germans run with their guns in their right arm. This not only helps players distinguish between friend and foe at greater distance, but is in fact historically accurate. According to Tripwire's anal retentive researchers the German soldiers were taught to run with their weapon in one hand because then they wouldn't land on their weapon if they were to throw themselves to the ground. The Russians were, on the other hand, taught to hold it with both hands so as not to accidentally drop their weapon in the middle of a fight.
The Sound of Despair
1C Company, the game's publisher, recently announced that Sam Hulick, the award winning composer behind the soundtrack of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, will be composing the soundtrack for Red Orchestra 2. The game will feature a dynamic soundtrack that will change to fit the morale of your team. If the team is doing well, a victorious soundtrack will be played in the background and if your team is losing, a desperate tune will sound to emphasise the hopelessness of your situation. The soundtracks will be completely different between the sides and Mr. Hulick has done a fantastic job at bringing forth the feelings of despair and defiance that the soldiers must have felt during that time.
A Tough Hill to Climb
You will be able to earn yourself medals and improve your abilities as you progress up the ladder in the game's rank system. The ultimate goal is of course the Hero status. Once a player has reached Hero status, he will inspire his team mates and demoralize his enemies.
This is a game that has a solid background and a very loyal fanbase and is sure to be a hit with the players already playing the original. Whether or not it will attract more players to the series is unclear, as this is not the simplest first-person shooter out there. It looks great and the amount of effort that has gone into making this one of the most realistic combat experiences out there is simply staggering. I for one will definitely give it a try as soon as it comes out, but being a console gamer, I'm sure it'll take a lot of getting used to.