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Video Game / Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

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Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is the sequel to the 2006 video game Red Orchestra. It was released in September 2011. Like it's predecessor, it is a tactical First-Person Shooter set during World War II's Eastern Front. Unlike it's predecessor, it focuses almost exclusively on the Battle of Stalingrad, as well as a number of other skirmishes around the same time period. New features include both a single player and multiplayer campaign for both the Germans and the Soviets, cover system, blind-firing around corners and walls, and an Equipment Upgrade system for weapons.

Received a standalone Expansion Pack called Rising Storm, set in the Pacific Theater of World War II, released in May 2013.


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This video game provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: The German campaign ends with the Wehrmacht succeeding in holding of the Red Army late into the Battle of Stalingrad, and winning the battle.
  • Anachronism Stew: The game 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.
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  • An Asskicking Christmas: The map Commissar's House takes place during Christmas day. Appropriately, the achievement earned for successfully capturing a point on this map as the Soviets is called "Fighting The War On Christmas".
  • And This Is for...: Characters sometimes comment in this manner upon killing an enemy.
    German: That was for my camarade.
    Russian: That one was for my brother!
  • Anti-Armor: Anti-tank rifles and anti-tank grenades, which are provided only to specialized limited classes.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: Downplayed here compared to Rising Storm. The basic Soviet & German bolt-action rifles behave almost identically for balance reasons. Classes in HoS 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.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: An update implemented one for both the Soviets and the Germans, with the former getting a Lend-Lease Universal Carrier from the British, while the latter get the Sd Kfz 251 Ausf. C. Both can be driven by regular soldiers, carry up to half a dozen other soldiers, and carry mounted machine-guns that can be used.
  • Battle Epic: The single-player campaigns for both the Germans and the Soviets are depicted this way, complete with rousing speeches and epic music.
  • Bayonet Ya: All German and Soviet semi-automatic, fully automatic, and bolt-action rifles receive bayonet attachments upon being sufficiently leveled.
  • 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 have an even stricter requirement by being impossible to fire when not set up.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Averted by default, using Translation Convention instead, but if you turn the native voices on, then it happens every line.
    • 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.
  • Break Meter: This game introduces 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.
  • Character Class System: Present here, as with it's predecessor.
    • For Heroes of Stalingrad, these include (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.
  • 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.
  • Commissar Cap: German officers, as well as Soviet Squad Leaders and officers, wear styled officer's caps as opposed to helmets.
  • Crew of One: Averted for tanks, which require at least 2 players to both move and use the turret.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted Trope here. 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 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.
  • Dirty Communists: The Germans in their single-player campaign certainly believe this is the case, as they describe communism as a "red plague" that threatens all of Europe.
  • Doomed by Canon: Subverted with the German campaign, as while the Sixth Army does get surrounded by the Soviets, they manage to succeed in holding them off and regaining the initiative despite being outnumbered and outgunned, and eventually manage to win the battle despite the odds.
  • Epic Tank-on-Tank Action: Some of the larger maps, such as Rakowice and Red October Factory, allow both the Soviets and Germans access to tanks, and consequently, they can both duel one another.
  • Excuse Plot: Don't buy this game 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.
  • 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.
  • Instant Death Bullet: An Averted Trope introduced here - 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.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. The Germans get their own single player campaign alongside the Soviets, albeit a short one with an Excuse Plot.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted compared to the first title, where the focus is entirely on the Battles happening just before, during, or around the same time as the ones taking place in Stalingrad, rather than the Eastern Front as a whole.
  • Tank Goodness: Some of the larger, more open maps allow both factions access to tanks, with the Germans getting the Panzer IV and Panzer III, while the Soviets get the T-34 and T-70.
  • The Siege: Naturally, since most of the maps depicted are set during the Battle of Stalingrad. Interestingly, both the Germans and Soviets get their equal share of having to repel attacks by the other, with the Soviets usually defending on maps set during the summer or autumn, while the Germans defend in the freezing winter conditions.
  • Smoke Out: Squad Leaders and Commanders get access to smoke grenades, which are useful for covering advances or retreats, especially against heavily fortified positions.
  • Translation Convention: Played straight and subverted. Initially, the Germans and Soviets spoke in English when amongst their own teammates, with the enemy they're fighting talking in their own language. A patch later gave players the option to enable their native tongues to be spoken by default.
  • Urban Warfare: Most maps are centered fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the largest and most famous cases of this during World War II. These can range from locations inside Stalingrad itself, which cover several blocks, to smaller villages and towns on the outskirts of the city.
  • War Is Hell: In keeping with the previous title, this game chooses to depict this rather subtly, with things like soldiers bleeding to death in agony, limbs being torn off from explosions, and blood splatter being really messy.
  • Winter Warfare: At least one-third of the in-game maps take place during the midst of the Russian winter.
 
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Soviet Campaign Intro

In the Soviet campaign, the player's main objective to hold Stalingrad for as long as possible, at any cost. This would deprive the German Sixth Army's combat capability until Soviet reinforcements can launch a counteroffensive and crush the invaders.

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