Play Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad like any other shooter and your rotting corpse will be propping up a makeshift bomb shelter before you can say Achtung baby. This grueling FPS is designed to accurately portray WWII combat, and we're pretty sure that the rocket jump wasn't part of standard Wermacht training. Fear not though; it's really not that difficult once you start using the same tactics as today's finest soldiers. With the help of the team behind the game we've put together this very quick Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Combat Field Manual, to help ease those Day 1 blues
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Combat Field Manual
Lesson #1: Boot Camp
While RO2's singleplayer game isn't the most compelling experience (thankfully the multiplayer more than makes up for it), we highly recommend playing the very first mission before hitting the online warzone. It's a short tutorial that teaches you the complexities of the weapon firing, grenade throwing and movement system, and is your first step to becoming more than just another target on the battlefield.
Lesson #2: Squad the Frak Up!
You've joined your first game, and you're wondering where to start. It's better to die surrounded by friends than all on your lonesome, so use the squad selection option before spawning to join a squad (unfortunately it's not visible if you force ant-aliasing via your graphic card's control panel). Fighting in a squad has a couple of benefits -- for starters you'll now be able to spawn on your squad leader, much closer to all the explosions and dismembered limbs, provided your squad leader hasn't gotten themselves killed or they're in an enemy zone. Secondly, you'll probably have a few friendly guys nearby when you spawn, so when you inevitably run into trouble you'll have their guns pointing in the same direction as yours. It's easy to spot your team mates thanks to the bright green name tag they display at close range.
When the VOIP starts working properly (which won't be long given Tripwire's stellar reputation for post-launch support), plug in your microphone so you can work even more closely with your team mates. Use your squad to your advantage - have one player suppress with the machine gun, while another couple use their rifles to pick off defenders stupid enough to pop out of cover. While the enemy is saying its prayers, blinded by the suppression effect, send in your squad's assault troops to get up close and personal, sending the dug-in defenders an impromptu SMG surprise.
Lesson #3: Thunder? Lightning! *Cricket* *Cricket*
One of the hardest things about RO2 is identifying friend from foe. The game doesn't endow each player with a magical floating name tag unless they're in your face, and the first few days has seen more blue on blue action than a Smurf porno. According to Alan Wilson, Vice President at Tripwire, there's an easy way to tell who's who, "If you are Axis, shoot the guys in the brownish uniforms; if you are Allies, shoot the guys in the greyish uniforms." Other things to look for are the way characters run; those naughty Nazi soldiers carry their weapons in one hand while sprinting. There's also the shape of each side's helmets, with the Germans wearing iconic Stalhelm helmets. Finally, think about where your target is running from, and the direction they're facing. If they're aiming towards your front lines, there's a good chance they're not doing it to wave hello.
Lesson #4: Leave Run and Gunning to the CoD Kids
Unlike other shooters, running into battle all guns blazing is a fantastic way to end up with a bullet in the neck. If you have to storm an objective (hold down T to see where it is), use the crouched run to get there, and always run from one piece of cover to the next. According to Alan, you should ".... be prepared to pause at corners to regain stamina so you can rush across a street. Straight lines are NOT good. The obvious converse of course: a defensive position overlooking suitable open ground can do wonders for your kill rates." If you've got a squad leader, remind him that he's packing one of the game's deadliest weapons; the humble smoke grenade can turn an impassible bullet highway into a safe haven for your advance.
Lesson #5: Rangers Lead the Way!
Once you've spent a day or two learning the ropes, it's time to step into a leadership role, as this game needs a few good men to lead the way. As a squad leader, try to get close to the front line but not right into the meat grinder -- your goal is to stay alive as long as possible so your squaddies can spawn on you, sending a steady stream of combatants to the objective. You're also the only one armed with a smoke grenade, so bloody well use it! Those binoculars you're packing are fantastic for marking artillery targets - simply look through them, make sure your target is under the center mark, and right click. This will mark the target for your commander to rain down righteous fury. Finally, when you see plenty of your guys on the objective, move in to help, as your presence makes it tick down faster.
For those who want the ultimate strategic challenge, why not try being the commander? You won't score many points, but it surely is satisfying. You can do several things that will turn the tide of battle, and each ability is limited by a timer system. The recon plane will launch a small plane over the battlefield, spotting enemies for your squads to see when they hold T. Best of all is the artillery system, allowing you to launch mortars, artillery and rockets. Use one of the many radios that litter your rear lines, and call up the map - you'll then be able to see the various arty request marks of the squad leaders. Click one and then click the type of artillery you'd like to activate, then sit back and listen to the sweet, sweet sound of hell raining from the skies (if you want to get more hands-on, you can also mark targets with your binoculars). You can even set orders for your squads... but, ummm, well, we haven't figured out how to do that yet!
Ignore these lessons at your peril -- doing so will reward you with a frustrating experience, where you're continually killed. Bear all of these tactics to bear on the bloody battlefield of Stalingrad and it will transform your experience, and it won't be long before you realize why coordinated team work is infinitely more enjoyable than playing as a lone wolf. And if you do decide to go it alone, there's always the marksman class to keep you happy, in which case focus your attention on the other team's sniper, Enemy at the Gates style!