Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 - game review

Author: eJay
Date: 2006-08-25 09:57:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Imagine this situation. You are playing your favorite game. After 2 months, you notice that via the editor it can be improved even further. The spirit of the programmer awakens in you, you create new maps, character skins, vehicles that the creators of the original did not even dream of. Together with a group of friends, you decide to create a modification that would completely change the atmosphere of the game. It takes months, and with the breath of an impatient community on your back, you have a hard time writing a single line of code. The project is finally finished. Everyone is satisfied and you receive the main prize in the editorial competition. A story straight from an American movie, but true. Red Orchestra as a mod appeared on PCs during Unreal Tournament 2003 . He gave a real kick a year later, when a modification was created on the basis of the very good Tournament 2004 , which could easily be treated as a separate game. After such a success, you have a chance to earn a lot of money, because the main prize of the "$ 1,000,000 Make Something Unreal" competition was the modernized version of the engine, marked as 2.5. The people responsible for Red Orchester founded the Tripwire Interactive development studio and decided to try their skills on a commercial project. And this is how the first product of this group called Red Orchestra stands in front of your eyes : Ostfront 41-45 .

The Eastern Front in FPS is treated quite superficially. The Medal of Honor series explored virtually every war theme. We took part in landings on the beaches of Normandy, shootings among the rubble of French towns or even in operations in the Pacific. However, the history of the fighting east of the Vistula was omitted. I do not know where the problem of indifference to the aggression of the Third Reich on the Soviet Union lies in games. Every historian has a hair on his head with the slogans "Kursk" and "Stalingrad". We had a chance to see a bit of conflict only in both parts of Call of Duty, although it did not fully meet my expectations. So I started the installation of the reviewed title with a great deal of optimism, because Red Orchestra takes place in locations that are hard to find in competing titles. Only single-player fans will be disappointed, as the game is focused on multiplayer battles. Of course, there is an option to play with bots, but.

Let's get to the point. The player has 2 sides to choose from: Germans and Soviets. Both nations have different equipment, both in terms of weapons and armored vehicles. For fans of military weapons, such treasures as the Tokarev SVT-40 or PPSh 1941G on the side of the Red Army await. German soldiers are no worse on this point. Thanks to the MG42, they will shred each enemy into pieces, and the Mauser 98K will provide precision shots from a distance. Infantry must also have the support of armored divisions. And here the Germans attack the PzKpfw IV Ausf F1 and F2 with their medium tanks, and the Soviets are attacking the T-34. In total, players have 28 small arms and 14 vehicles at their disposal, which were reproduced very decently. There are only 13 battlefields and as many as 13. Why only? Compared to other multiplayer games, the locations are small, and if you compare them to even Battlefield 2, you can get the impression that they are almost miniature. It's a bit strange, because the game is powered by a modernized engine of the aforementioned Unreal Tournament 2004, and this board was at least 2-3 times larger (in Onslaught mode). Why as many as 13? Each location is very nice and has its own style. Probably working on them took a lot of time. Therefore, up to a certain point, we are not at risk of boredom. A lot of new maps are already coming from the hands of fans, so the game is waiting for a long time.

Tripwire Interactive could create a multiplayer shooter that does not stand out from the "MoH-like" games. It is not so. The reason for this is that a fairly large dose of realism has been added to the game's mechanics. Despite the fact that not everywhere the creators managed to cope with the bar they hung high, you have to give Red Orchester that such a realistic FPS, focused on multiplayer gameplay, has not been yet. Realism pops up practically everywhere, from the navigation system - you can feel every kilo you carry - to damage points. There is practically no person who has survived longer than 15 seconds using the "foam attack on the lips" method. So teamwork is important, and that's beautiful. In many cases I won when I was in the theoretically weaker team (I'm not an eagle :)), but sticking to the group and scoring more points on the map led to the victory. Exactly, Red Orchestra is a title in which winning is not determined by the number of killed opponents, but by taking individual targets. As a result, the fight becomes varied and at times extremely exciting. Routine is forgotten, only the goal matters.

As it happens in FPS, you obviously have to show your shooting skills, which in Red Orchester will cause trouble for a beginner. First of all, you need to master the recoil element when shooting. It is not that difficult with semi-automatic rifles, but when using something stronger, e.g. a pepesha, you have to be careful that the sight does not go to the sky. The second thing - ballistics. The effect of gravity on the projectile must be taken into account. This is especially noticeable in tank fights and panzerfausts. Before you fire, check that the projectile will not hit the ground 20 meters before the target. Full 3D iron sights help to measure. When fighting in urban areas (e.g. in Odessa), ricochets should be taken into account. There is nothing like dying from a bullet intended for a friend. Damage points were tried to be realistic. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. While the hit to the leg is felt (the character cannot run), the shot to the shoulder does not interfere with aiming. The wound on the torso should also make itself felt, even with an unsteady run. Meanwhile, it does not lead to discomfort in any way and you can fight as effectively as before. It's good that one headshot causes death, for a sniper it is an important element of the game.

After spending a few nice hours on the Red Orchestra, other disadvantages became visible. The driving model resembles cardboard driving. While the rifle weapon actually weighs over 10 kg, the trucks seem simply light. They do not react to uneven ground as if they were glued to the surface. The tank fights were not reproduced well. I promised myself a lot after them, especially after watching a few videos of gameplay. Of course, the creators should be praised for the idea of changing the position (from the shooter to the driver). It is a pity that luck often determines the outcome of fights. After two rear shots of the enemy tank (the most delicate place in the vast majority of models), I was surprised when the opponent turned the barrel over and after one shot my tank burst into flames. The hit points are mapped unfortunately, as a hit to the frontal armor shows a loss on each side of the vehicle - at least that's what the damage indicator shows. However, I was able to immobilize several machines by shooting the caterpillars. I am sorry to mention the problem of tanks with crossing wooden fences. Interaction with the environment is practically imperceptible.

The audiovisual side presents a decent level, although I should mention a few disadvantages. Above all, the character animation looks FABULOUS, resembling Rasiak's motor coordination. I was surprised once again, because it was hard to find fault with the animation in Unreal Tournament 2004 . Quit music seems to be quite a shocking decision. We will not find a single piece in the game composed for this title, and it is worth adding that the folder with the game takes up quite a lot - 2 GB. Red Orchestra makes up for these shortcomings with its excellent sound. It's hard to find any words that describe what caresses our ears. You feel shots and explosions on your own skin. But the real mastery is the sound of the weapon reloading by a companion lying next to it. Simply sensational, honey and poetry. For someone who has a modern sound card and good speakers, it will be an unforgettable experience. Graphically, RO also presents a high level, though not as high as the sounds. Detailed textures, refined building interiors, vehicle models - everything looks extraordinary. It is a pity that the hardware requirements are a bit overstated. Despite the nice setting, it's hard to find fountains responsible for the low framerate on decent equipment. The game is smooth when you lower the detail level, but then the spell breaks and some elements of the environment look nasty.

Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 in the boxed version comes to Poland almost 5 months after its premiere on Steam. Thanks to the efforts of the Polish distributor, the price of the title will be PLN 29.90. In this case, it is an absolutely profitable purchase as the game is worth the money. If I had to pay PLN 99 for the Red Orchestra (i.e. as much as for the Steam version) - I would seriously consider it. It seems to be good, sometimes it is very good, but after playing for several hours I could not help feeling that it is a more extended version of a known modification. As I mentioned before, Tripwire set the bar very high. Not everywhere the game keeps the level set by the developers, but it is definitely something new and fresh on the ossified market of FPS war games. I am waiting for more...

Adam "eJay" Kaczmarek