Video Game / Red Orchestra

Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 is yet another First-Person Shooter that is based around World War II. However, there are two key differences: it focuses entirely on the Eastern Front with conflicts between the Germans and Soviets (a setting usually forgotten by WWII FPS, probably because of the usual America Won World War II portrayal); its focus is entirely on realism. There are no crosshairs, no health kits, and bullets follow the standard laws of physics (mostly).

It started out as a mod of Unreal Tournament 2003. As an infantryman, you have the choice of playing several different classes: an assault trooper with a sub-machine gun; a sniper with a scoped rifle (the rifle shakes like crazy unless you're bracing it against something, and you have to account for bullet-drop when firing a long distance); a machine gunner (depending on the type, the barrel can overheat and you will have to manually replace it with another barrel); a bolt-action rifleman (the only class which has unlimited slots); a semi-automatic rifleman; and the squad leader, who is basically just an assault trooper with smoke grenades. On maps where there are tanks, you also have the option of playing as a tank crewman, a tank commander (the only classes that can drive tanks), or an anti-tank trooper who starts out with a gun that can destroy tanks with one or two shots to less armored areas. Tanks are also handled realistically in that you either need at least two people to drive them (one to drive, one to fire and reload the gun), or one person who switches very fast between the two positions (which is an Acceptable Break from Reality, since waiting 30 seconds to switch from the driver's seat to the turret does not make for exciting gameplay).

Maps consist of either pure infantry battles, pure tank battles where everyone has to play a tank crewman/commander, and combined arms battles which use both infantry and tanks. Strategy revolves around capture points, where one side has to capture a certain amount of area in a given time and the defenders have to stop them. Each side is also assigned a number of 'reinforcements,' which indicate how many times a player can respawn after death. Once they reach zero, no one can respawn anymore. If any side is at 0% reinforcements and has all of their members killed, then they lose regardless of any other factor.

The game itself, as a mod, was released in the Editor's Choice Edition of Unreal Tournament 2004, (alongside Alien Swarm, itself another Ascended Fanfic) and sprang from an entry in a mod contest held by Epic Games, with first prize being a million dollars and free Unreal Engine 2 licenses. They won, and founded Tripwire Interactive on the spot. There are two mods for Red Orchestra called Darkest Hour, which focuses on the Western Front after D-day, and Mare Nostrum, which focuses on the battle in the Mediterranean and features Italian troops.

The sequel, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, was released in September 2011. Focusing on the infamously brutal Battle of Stalingrad and the surrounding area instead of spanning the entire Eastern Front, the sequel adds a first-person cover system and a leveling system that gives players weapon upgrades as they become more experienced.

The sequel's stand-alone expansion Rising Storm was released in May 2013, set in the Pacific and featuring much more asymmetrical gameplay between the American Allies and Japanese Axis factions - the former having generally more direct firepower in their weapons (such as the basic rifleman being able to equip themselves with a semi-automatic rifle as opposed to the bolt-action rifles every other faction's riflemen uses, and a flamethrower class) while the latter utilizes special grenade uses for Suicide Attacks or Booby Traps, a player-held mortar class (while all other factions have to mark locations for the team's commander to call in fire missions on the location) and Banzai charges.

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam has been announced. It is set in The Vietnam War, departing the World War II setting of the past games. It pits the American military, with later updates including the ARVN and Australian Army, against the North Vietnamese Army and National Liberation Front (Viet Cong). Expanding on the asymmetrical gameplay of the first Rising Storm, the Americans have access to several types of airstrikes, including napalm, along with helicopters of both attack and transport types, while the North Vietnam forces have several types of Booby Traps such as punji sticks and tripwire traps. Their squad leaders also have the ability to dig tunnels in open ground, allowing reinforcements to pour into areas away from the front lines.

The Red Orchestra series took its name from the Soviet Union's espionage network during the war, which was called the Red Orchestra by the Gestapo. This game otherwise has no connection to spying.

This video-game provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Mostly averted, but there are a number of examples when it comes to the firearms throughout the series.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad originally featured an anachronistic winter trigger guard upgrade for the Karabiner 98k before it was removed in a patch. The Gewehr 41(W) rifle has an unlockable 4x scope that was actually deployed after the Battle of Stalingrad as part of the package for its successor, the Gewehr 43. The Nagant M1895 revolver has an unlockable suppressor that is based on a post-war model, and the marksman version of the Mosin-Nagant rifle includes a 3.5x PU scope by default, which was first introduced during the Battle of Stalingrad and would have been a very rare sight in Stalingrad itself.
    • Rising Storm 2 has the M16A1 and AKM rifles, both of which count as examples as most of the game's battles are based on historical ones that occurred in 1967. While the M16A1 was introduced in early 1967, it is anachronistic in how it completely replaces the original M16 in the game's scenarios. The M16A1 is also modeled with an anachronistic A2-style rear sight aperture. The AKM is an interesting example in that it had been in production for a decade by 1967, but historical records indicate that the North Vietnamese Army did not have access to AKM rifles until 1972, instead using the Chinese-produced clone of the original AK, the Type 56—which is indeed the default version of the weapon you'll be equipped with unless you deliberately choose the AKM and play this trope straight.
  • And This Is for...: Characters in Red Orchestra 2 sometimes comment in this manner upon killing an enemy. From the base game:
    German: That was for my camarade.
    Russian: That one was for my brother!
    • Same for the American and Japanese sides in Rising Storm:
    That was for Pearl Harbor!
    Manila no fukushu ja! (Revenge for Manila!)
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Rising Storm 2's progression only gives you more options for your character's Non-Uniform Uniform, ranging from making your clothing more tattered, removing your shirt, and a variety of helmets, hats and tattoos.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI bots that play the combat engineers have a nasty habit of dropping their timed det packs in the middle of a group of friendlies.
    • Pretty much all AI bots in Red Orchestra 2 are pretty bad, especially in the single player campaign. Machine gunners will abandon their role entirely and fire their pistol at a horde of oncoming troops, Assaults will fire their gun into the ceiling while an enemy soldier clocks them in the face, soldiers will run around blindly while the point they're supposed to be defending gets taken, etc.
  • Artifact Title:
    • Inverted in regards to the "Orchestra" part at least. The maps originally had no music playing when the game was first released, a later update added music as an option.
    • Averted with Rising Storm, which is considered part of the franchise but doesn't have "Red Orchestra" in the title at all because it's set in the Pacific theater. Rising Storm 2 takes this further by abandoning World War II entirely.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: Small in early entries, larger in later ones.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad has the basic Soviet & German bolt-action rifles behave almost identically for balance reasons. Classes in Ho S are the same between the two factions, but there are minor differences in their equipment. Notably, the two factions have tanks which behave very differently.
    • Rising Storm has the American and Japanese factions receive different classes as well as weapons. Most notably, the Americans have unlimited access to semi-automatic M1 Garands as compared to the Japanese bolt-action Arisaka. The Americans also have exclusive access to the Flamethrower class. Japanese players in return have access to mobile 'knee mortars' and are greatly more effective when charging into melee.
    • Rising Storm 2 almost completely diversifies the factions. North and South both have different respawn methods and different forms of off-map support.
      • North respawns at tunnels, placed by squad leaders. South respawns on squad leaders directly, same as the older games.
      • South has access to helicopters. North has some anti-air.
      • South has access to destructive support abilities including napalm, gunship support, and artillery. North's abilities are mostly used to boost infantry spawns and reveal enemy positions.
  • Battle Cry: Holding down the melee attack button while sprinting can cause your character to elicit a battle-cry.
    Za Rodinuuuuuuuuu!
    • In Rising Storm this also gives buffs to the Japanese:
  • BFG: Treated realistically in Heroes of Stalingrad - machine gunners need to be prone or on cover to place their weapon down to fire it fully automatically. It may be fired from the hip, but very slowly. Anti-tank rifles in both games have an even stricter requirement by being impossible to fire when not set up.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Averted by default in Heroes of Stalingrad, using Translation Convention instead, but if you turn the native voices on, then it happens every line. Played straight by default in Rising Storm.
    • In Heroes of Stalingrad, even with the default English voices, the enemy will still speak their native language, though. Therefore, speaking German or Russian will be of much use.
    • Played completely straight in Rising Storm 2; there is no option to use exclusively English voices, and every line except the announcer is in native languages. This can cause problems for North Vietnamese commanders, as it will be impossible to tell if an order failed to go through unless you've studied or already know which voice line means what.
  • Boom, Headshot: A One-Hit Kill.
  • Break Meter: Heroes of Stalingrad onward has a a suppression meter shown for yourself. When it depletes, your screen greys out making it impossible to see (and therefore shoot) very much past twenty feet and prevents you from zooming in and focusing while using iron sights.
  • Bottomless Magazines: An interesting example - the fixed machine guns (for the Russians, a Maxim M1910, and an MG34 on a tripod for the Germans) need to be reloaded, but they have an infinite number of ammunition belts to do it with.
  • Character Class System: Present in its games.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad has these (limits may vary based on the given map):
      • Rifleman: Armed with a bolt-action rifle and anti-personnel grenades, this class is a filler one that always has a limit equal to the team's highest possible player count (in other words, really none). Serving as the Jack-of-All-Stats, they aid more specialized members with whatever is needed - accurate covering fire, guarding flanks, providing more bodies into a capture zone and the like. While their equipment isn't as impressive as other classes, a high-powered rifle bullet in one's torso will easily kill anyone, leaving them to still be feared regardless.
      • Elite Rifleman: A limited class, using a semi-automatic rifle and anti-personnel grenades, this is essentially strictly a superior version of the Rifleman class, with their higher fire-rate leaving them a more potent threat to more individuals at once and in closer combat.
      • Assault and Elite Assault: A limited class, using a handheld automatic weapon and anti-personnel grenades, the Assault class seeks to close with enemies to engage. Their weapons' high fire-rate and decently large magazines easily give them the advantage of shooting first in close-combat and killing multiple enemies in quick succession. Lacking accuracy at range, they rely on maneuvering and teamwork to get to the close distance they want to be at with the enemy. The Elite Assault is a specific variation of the Assault being capable of getting an automatic rifle instead of just a sub-machine gun as well.
      • Engineer: A very limited class containing some overlap with the Assault class due to also using a submachine gun, the Engineer's real unique advantage is the satchel charges they carry to destroy walls and defenses to aid their comrades' attacks, and their anti-tank grenades.
      • Marksman: A usually highly limited class, they use a bolt-action rifle with a scope (they can also use a semi-automatic rifle with a scope in some game modes) to shoot accurately from farther away, though they also have a pistol and anti-personnel grenades. Also strictly better than Rifleman, their long-range scopes combined with their limited numbers make them best deployed to strike at valuable targets (such as commanders, squad leaders and machine gunners) instead of aiding frontline offense or defense with much greater risk to the individual.
      • Anti-tank: A limited class only available on certain maps with tanks on them, they use a large-caliber anti-tank rifle and anti-tank grenades to destroy enemy tanks. While their rifle is perfectly usable against infantry, its requirement to be set up against ground or cover before firing makes the weapon a lot less easy to deploy compared to other rifles and an anti-tank rifleman getting their position exposed to die fruitlessly can cause enemy tanks to really tear through their team, making the class require a lot of discretion. They also have a pistol to defend themselves against closer enemies and while moving to a better position.
      • Machine gunner: A usually highly limited class, they use a heavy machine gun to serve as their team's larger source of static firepower. Machine guns can fire much more slowly while moving or standing still, but may fire much faster while set up against ground or cover. A well-chosen position while set-up lets them distribute death in copious amounts to enemy infantry in their sights, but they lack grenades and the necessity to set up causes them a certain predictability leaving them vulnerable to flanking or marksmen.
      • Squad leader: A limited class, these non-commissioned officer have command of squads to order them, have clearance to mark positions for fire support at the decision of their team's commander, count as extra inside objective zones, and squad members can elect to respawn at their position. While armed with anti-personnel grenades and another gun, their class' most valuable "weapon" is their smoke grenade which can be used to screen allies so they have clear routes with which to run by enemy positions and attack. They also have binoculars to aid in spotting enemies and finding desirable coordinates for indirect fire missions. Squad leaders can elect to use a sub-machine gun to aid in attacking with other Assaults or hang back with a semi-automatic rifle to provide covering fire (and more safely provide a spawn point closer to the front).
      • Commander: The most limited class in that your team always can only have one, these commissioned officers can command the team's squads and are the only ones with the clearance to use a radio to call in mortar, artillery or rocket fire support on positions. These require a mark on a coordinate set by the eyes/binoculars of the commander himself, or the team's squad leaders. The radio can also be used to call in aerial recon to report enemy positions to the entire team, or instantly respawn all allied players waiting on the queue at the cost of using up more reinforcements to do so. The radio's options all have cooldowns associated with them, requiring decisive and appropriate use to them - a commander must watch the battlefield and work with their team and vice-versa to ensure victory. While armed similarly as squad leaders (even having an extra smoke grenade) and also counting twice in objective zones, it is certainly risky for the team to be without the support sent by the radio should their commander be dead, and so commanders are better off staying alive in most cases to call in support for their team with the radio and laying down smoke rather than shooting at the enemy themselves.
      • Tanks: Operated by a commander and crewmen - a driver, a hull gunner, main gunner (commander and main gunner are overlapped by the Russians) and an AI to do the boring job of loading the main gun. Should any of the crew die, the survivors must cope by taking time to swap seats as necessary to perform the dead's duties.
    • Rising Storm also added a few classes:
      • Flamethrower: US only class. Equipped with a heavy flamethrower and pistol, he is slow and the flames he uses are very visible with limited range (this is somewhat alleviated with later ranks letting the class carry a carbine rifle instead of a pistol). Hard to use around anywhere open on account of this, but potentially incredibly effective on both offense and defense in close-quarters with his flamethrower bringing down his unfortunate enemies nigh instantly.
      • Mortar: Japanese only class. Rifleman loadout, but carries a knee mortar that can be used for direct and in-direct fire. Effective at medium-long ranges, bombarding enemies whose weapons usually make it difficult for his team from having any chance in a straight shoot-out.
      • Automatic Rifleman: US only, replacing Assault. This class is basically Elite Assault from the base game that use the Browning Automatic Rifle (a lighter, slower-firing machine gun with a smaller magazine that can fire automatically without being set-up) and a pistol, but lack the ability to choose an SMG (the Thompson, which can only be chosen if you're Squad Leader).
    • Rising Storm 2 makes a few changes as well:
      • Grunt: Essentially a historical upgrade to the previous Rifleman/Assault classes, with Americans/South Vietnamese forces getting M16s and North Vietnamese forces getting AKs alongside their standard grenades as well. North Vietnam grunts are also equipped to place traps as well as the standard gear. While it is possible to select a semi-auto rifle instead of an assault rifle, unsurprisingly the majority of players stick with the assault rifle option since you can quickly switch between semi-auto and full-auto options.
      • Grenadier: US-only, uses a grenade launcher to lob explosives at the enemy and is also able to switch to other grenades if they have them making them potentially very useful for assaults.
      • RPG: A North Vietnam-only class, special only in the sense they get RPGs as a secondary armament. Main duties are knocking out enemy helicopters and other hard targets.
      • Radioman: Acts as a mobile radio station for Commanders, allowing them to call in strikes and other types of support from the front lines. It requires players to stick to the commander and is essentially an upgrade from the static radio points of previous games, but isn't completely useless without a commander as it trades standard grenades for smoke, which is only otherwise available to Squad Leaders and, on the US side, grenadiers.
      • Pilot: USA-only, technically encompasses two separate classes that differ only in role (Attack or Transport). They spawn at a helicopter base instead of the front lines and are the only people permitted to fly the helicopters. All they have equipment-wise are pistols but they shouldn't need much else.
      • Squad-Leader: Interestingly the squad-leader role has been removed as a specific class and now acts as a 'bonus' on top of a player's chosen class. Becoming the SL is done by either being the first person to join a squad or have it given to you by the existing SL. The interesting fact about SLs this time is how they function; US leaders work like in previous RO titles (Squad members spawn on top of the SL, letting them act as a spawn point), whereas the Viet Cong SLs are given a pickaxe and may place a tunnel somewhere in the area for the squad to spawn from. Additionally squad leaders receive a pistol and binoculars on top of their class-specific weaponry.
  • Character Customization: Added in Rising Storm 2.
  • Charged Attack: Melee attacks in Heroes of Stalingrad onward can be swung fast to do some damage or have the button held down to ensure a kill with a hit.
    • Doing this while sprinting also causes the attack to cause some suppression. There are faction-specific benefits to doing this - Germans suppress more after having already killed enemies, Russians resist suppression and suppress more if done simultaneously with nearby allies, and the Japanese also suppress better if done simultaneously with nearby allies while letting the chargers ignore some damage that otherwise would kill them. Americans have no faction-specific benefit to charging.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted Trope in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm. The standard high-powered rifles easily pierce through the thin walls of houses or sheet metal to One-Hit Kill the poor bastard behind it. Think carefully about firing and potentially exposing your position... being unable to see and shoot at someone isn't necessarily mutual.
    • Anti-tank rifles are even capable of destroying some light obstacles or trees.
  • Death from Above: Commanders in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm can call in mortar, artillery and rocket fire missions on positions marked by themselves or allied squad leaders - proper use of these are vital to attacking and defending alike, obliterating enemies hit by them and strongly suppressing the survivors close by. The Japanese team in Rising Storm also has a Light Mortar class which includes a small mortar for the class to direct-fire or over an arc onto a location.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Rising Storm 2; while both sides are able to call in artilleryt, he United States/Southern Vietnam forces have access to everything from player-controlled attack helicopters to jungle-scorching napalm strikes, and let us not forget the AC-47 Spooky that flies above the operation area raining fire upon it's targets. Further enforced by the Bushranger update, adding the eponymous helicopter and the Canberra Bomber.
  • Determinator: In Rising Storm, enough Japanese players performing a Banzai Charge together render its participants more resistant to damage, which gets further enhanced with even more players.
  • Easter Egg: Statues of Stalin from Heroes of Stalingrad can be found hidden around maps in Rising Storm.
  • Excuse Plot: Don't buy Heroes of Stalingrad for it's singleplayer campaign unless you want to be very underwhelmed. Although that's still a step up from the first game: your only non-multiplayer option was practice mode, which was exactly the same as multiplayer except with bots instead of human players, and that was assuming you only wanted to play the base game and not either of its free mod/expansions.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Very, very much on the realistic end.
  • Friend or Foe: The games' sides have different uniforms and sprint in noticeably different manners (Axis hold their weapon with just their right hand while Allies hold it with both) but the uniforms are of a fairly dull palette and you can die really fast should you be mistaken that an individual is an ally - some game modes allow you to see your allies on your map but this may require pressing a button first to check which a player may not want to take the time to utilize in a tense battle. Shooting your own side is so common there is a simple mechanic in Heroes of Stalingrad onward for forgiving an ally who has killed you by typing "np" in chat to give them back the points they've lost from killing you - players would be best to try to not take such incidents too seriously.
    • In Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, in addition to the sprinting differences, South Vietnamese troops have backpacks while the North Vietnamese do not. Additionally, while some Vietnamese soldiers can be vaguely brown, only Americans or Australians can be black (or red-skinned in the case of the one Australian Aborigine character model), and the uniform differences are much more substantial, thanks in part to the character customization feature.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Americans of Rising Storm have a class called "Flamethrower", which predictably uses a flamethrower as its main weapon. Also an option for the South Vietnam engineer class in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The suppression mechanic is reaaaalllly bugged. As an example, allied fire can cause it if you're too close to them, rendering your screen blurry and and cause your weapon to shake around the screen like you're in a bouncy castle from a teammate shooting his sub-machine gun at enemies down range while next to you.
    • Penetration for shots depends on the material shot through first for the firing player and basically ignore any other materials that may be between the first one and the target, potentially letting them shoot through some thick walls and hit enemies on the other side if they shoot through flimsy metal sheets or wood planks first.
  • Game Mod: Began life as one, and won one of the "Make Something Unreal" contests. The retail version has two mods itself - Darkest Hour and Mare Nostrum.
    • And the developers hired the Darkest Hour team to create an expansion for Heroes of Stalingrad set in the Pacific with the American and Japanese armies. Apart from this, the developers already released the SDK to several modders so they could create mods early: there is a Vietnam War mod and a WW1 mod. This all before the game even released.
      • The remaining Darkest Hour developers formed Jackboot Games and are now working on their own standalone WWII game: Festung Europa.
    • Most of the mod development for RO 2 stopped. In Country: Vietnam and the official mod, Rising Storm are the ones in production.
    • Heroes of The West is a community-made mod for Red Orchestra 2 / Rising Storm that takes the action into the Western European theater, pitting the US forces against the German Wehrmacht. It also introduces a new faction, the British.
  • Groin Attack: A killing shot to the groin has the unique kill-icon of an acorn lying on its side, cracked all the way through it.
  • Hitscan: Averted. Ballistics need to be taken into account for every ranged weapon.
  • HUD: There is one, but it provides neither crosshair nor exact bullet count, unlike most other FPSs.
    • Realism mode in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm limits the HUD to the sprint and suppression meters without holding down the tactical display button.
  • Instant Death Bullet: An Averted Trope in Heroes of Stalingrad onward - if you are fatally wounded, you may conk out instantly (likely from a Boom, Headshot), but occasionally instead you may still survive some seconds more to continue firing before your character blacks out. As well, being non-fatally wounded requires your character to bandage themselves before they bleed to death (you get two). The kill messages appearing on the top right also coordinate with this, taking a bit longer after a kill is scored as opposed to instantly.
  • I Want My Mommy!: In Heroes of Stalingrad onward, many soldiers will cry out for their mothers as they lie dying on the ground, usually terrified and sometimes crying. It's very much played as a Tear Jerker.
  • Jungle Warfare: Both Rising Storm and Rising Storm 2 have maps set in jungle environments. And fighting in these places is close-quarter, no-holes barred, and brutal.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Officers of the Japanese in Rising Storm have a katana they can use as a melee weapon - to give the trope what it expects, it has the bonus of better inspiring the participants of a Banzai Charge to resist more damage and intimidating enemies to suppress them more severely.
  • Meaningful Name: In addition to the above about the name "Red Orchestra", Ostfront is German for "eastern front".
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in the sequel, where there is a single-player campaign for both the Russians and the Germans.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. In fact, you don't even HAVE an exact bullet count on the HUD - just the number of remaining clips or magazines and some text describing the weight of the current mag after a reload. Kind of like Jurassic Park: Trespasser, but without the voices. In Heroes of Stalingrad, characters will reload box magazines on weapons that use them and toss out the last clip, but will insert rounds one by one into rifles, unless the rifle is totally empty, in which they will insert a full magazine via stripper clips. With the telescopic scope getting in way for the Marksman class' rifles, they always insert rounds one by one for reloading.
    • Classes with Magazines keep half empty magazines on them instead of tossing them, and you can also swap those mags out again if you feel you need more ammo. Always make sure to check your ammo before attacking, or you might run into the enemy with two rounds left in the mag.
  • One-Hit Kill: Very likely, though not always. Along with Boom, Headshot being a One-Hit Kill common with other games, a shot to the heart is also guaranteed to be fatal, and both headshots and heartshots have a special kill-icon specific to them, independent of weaponry.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The Germans call their enemies Bolsheviks and Ivan. The Russians reciprocate with fascists and Fritz.
  • Nintendo Hard: To be expected with all the focus on realism.
  • Rare Guns: Mostly averted or used in proper historical context, but there are a few exceptions.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad features the MKB 42(H), an early prototype of the StG44 assault rifle. While it is not impossible for a few to have been issued in Stalingrad in field trials, there is currently no evidence that any were.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad also features the MP 40/I, a MP-40 with two side-by-side magazine holders and can manually switch between the two, doubling the gun's capacity. This experimental variant proved unreliable and unpopular.
    • Rising Storm gives the Japanese the Nambu Type 100 sub-machine gun as a common weapon to the Assault class, despite the fact that only a small amount were produced or put into service (mostly used by officers and special forces in real life). In the latter's case this was likely done for game balance, as otherwise the Japanese would have no answer to the American sub-machine guns.
  • Poirot Speak: Used by both Germans and Russians, but there is an option to allow all vocalizations to be made in the native language. Averted in Rising Storm and it's sequel, where the non-English side only speaks Japanese/Vietnamese, except for the announcer who speaks English with a heavy accent.
  • Shout-Out: The achievements of Rising Storm 2 contain a gaggle of references to media taking place in or tied to the Vietnam War. "The Smell of Napalm in the Morning", "First Blood", "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed!!", "Lead Farmer", "Get Some!", "What a Thrill.", "Purple Haze", "Run Through The Jungle", among others. Other references include "Welcome To The Rice Fields", "The Value of Not Being Seen", and "Surprise, Mother…!".
    • One of the American head options in Rising Storm 2 is very similar to Col. Kurtz
  • Shown Their Work: The second game's contents are very authentically portrayed. Weapons have their sights very faithfully reproduced (such as rifles being capable of dialing their iron sights for over 1000 meters despite how the actual gameplay renders being able to even see enemies that far probably impossible), and tanks have some very complex calculations behind anti-tank rifle shots penetrating their armour.
  • Smoke Out: Proper use of squad leaders' smoke grenades onto enemy positions to cover your flanks is vital for attacking. Poor use is likely to just blind yourself and your own allies.
  • Sprint Meter: In both games. When it's low, it also becomes difficult to aim steadily. You can also hold the sprint button while standing still to hold your breath, steadying your aim, and in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm provides a slight zoom.
    • Gone in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, though sprinting too long will still throw off your aim.
  • Suicide Attack: A game mechanic for the Japanese of Rising Storm - being killed by your own grenade will not cause your team to lose a ticket as long as the grenade killed at least one enemy.
  • Translation Convention: In Heroes of Stalingrad, after the Bilingual Bonus from the original. There is an option for you to hear all combatants speak in their native languages again, however.
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted. Not only do you need to be a tank commander to drive a tank, tanks need multiple crewmen to function efficiently.
    • However, a player going it alone can drive, then switch seats to the gunner position when needed. Many players do this almost exclusively. Solo tankers can use the movement keys from the gunner/commander positions to direct their driver, though there's naturally a delay between pressing the key and the driver responding, unlike controlling the driver directly. Of course, driving-by-order from the gunner/commander position also makes it hell to navigate unless you take the very risky measure of popping your head out the top hatch and subsequently having every sniper in the area trying to see who can hit closest to your nose.
    • Similarly, there is only one commander on each team in Heroes of Stalingrad, and only they have the clearance to call in support with the radio.
    • In Rising Storm 2, the pilots are split between Combat and Transport duties and cannot access the pilot spots of specific helicopters if they do not have the proper class for them. Naturally, regular soldiers can only fly in the passenger seats.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Averted Trope by the one of Rising Storm - while its short-range is a certainly noticeable drawback and it only carries one tank of ammunition, the weapon is nearly unstoppable within that range by nigh-instantly killing any targets hit by its flames, the flames' area of effect allows success with less precise shooting than other weapons to give the user an easier time shooting first before enemies, and the fuel tank is fairly deep considering its impressive killing power which will make it unlikely you'll run out in a desperate close-up fight with careful bursts. There is simply no better weapon to be used on an enemy's flank in close-quarters, clearing a tight room... or stopping a Banzai charge cold (or rather not very cold at all).
  • War Is Hell: Opting for a Show, Don't Tell approach instead of outright saying it, this series never flinches from the fact that combat was often short, terrifying and brutal. While the first game "merely" had soldiers being dismembered or reduced to gibs from explosions, 2 and the Rising Storm series go further with soldiers often twitching or writhing in pain from mortal wounds, and the screams, whimpers and gurgles of dying men's last moments echoing through the battlefield.
    • A peculiar zig-zag of this appears in Rising Storm 2: Get shot in the leg or the chest, and your character will start bleeding or blacking out. Get shot in the head, and everything instantly goes black and silent, to the point that it could be mistaken for a game crash if the respawn menu didn't show up a second later.

Alternative Title(s): Rising Storm