Red Orchestra 2 is a brilliant multiplayer team-based fps that reinvigorated my love for the genre. Based on the Battle of Stalingrad on the Eastern Front of WW2, the game is remarkable in it's attention to detail and authenticity.
The weapon handling/mechanics are second to none, I have never played a more satisfying shooter. This coupled with the realistic level of damage players receive, makes for a highly rewarding combat system. The feeling of successfully rooting out a Sniper or MG with one well-placed shot, and freeing up your team's advance is incredible.
This is a game in which teamwork is paramount, the attacking team must capture and sometimes destroy objectives to advance to victory. This is facilitated (in theory) by the Commander and Squad Leaders, who each have an extremely important role to play. The Commander has access to radio's located in various spots around the map. From these, he can call recon planes to check enemy movement, force respawns and call artillery strikes which can turn the momentum of a game completely. A good Commander is a necessity, as he will stategize on the fly, give the Squad Leaders and their teams objectives to complete and decimate enemy reinforcements with artillery.
This is where the Squad Leaders come in, as they posses the means to mark artillery targets in the form of binoculars and also serve as a mobile spawn point. Above all else the Squad Leaders job is to mark artillery targets for the Commander when asked, and to stay alive close to the objective. This is to allow a constant stream of attackers to spawn close to the objective, and keep the pressure on the enemy before he becomes entrenched.
There are 12 different squad roles in RO2, depending on the map being played and whether there is a tank present. The most common roles are Rifleman, Elite Rifleman, Assault, Elite Assault, Marksman, Machine Gunner, Squad Leader and Commander. On maps with a tank there will also be roles related to tank operation and destruction. Each of these classes have a specific role to play, most of which is pretty self-explanatory. For example, the Elite Assault and Assault classes must push up into the objective with aggression, while the Riflemen and Machine Gunners provide cover for the assault. When a team is working together cohesively with a competent Commander and good Squad Leaders, it is one of the most exciting and rewarding games I have ever played.
RO2 is a game that takes a lot of time and effort to learn, and to a new player it can seem very overwhelming and difficult. If you are new to RO2, my best advice would be to role-play as a soldier in WW2. If you were in that situation, would you run across a street covered by an MG or into an artillery strike? If you treat your life as valuable, use cover, check your approach and move as a team you are much more likely to succeed. For me, this involved deprogramming a lot of the behavior that is sound in games like COD and Battlefield, as running everywhere will get you killed in most cases.
While this game is definitely rough around the edges in some areas, it delivers a uniquely rewarding experience to the genre. With the constant stream of awesome community-made maps, the addition of Rising Storm and the forthcoming mod In Country: Vietnam, I couldn't recommend it more highly.