Red Orchestra 2 delivers multiplayer campaign

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The problem with Stalingrad is that you don't control it. Luckily, I just saw Red Orchestra 2 at Gamescom, and the World War 2 shooter is going to let you change that with its Stalingrad campaign multiplayer mode. Players will choose between Axis or Allies, and then be faced with an overview map of the city of Stalingrad. The city has been split into ten sections, which players on each team can then vote to attack or defend.

The decision made, they'll then hop in to a regular multiplayer match using one of Red Orchestra 2's other modes. Those modes are familiar. Firefight, the most basic, is team deathmatch and designed as an easy introduction for new players.

The second is Countdown, which works like a grand scale Counter-Strike match. Huge city maps are divided by objectives each team must complete. If you die, you don't respawn until the next objective is won or lost.

The third is Territory, an enhanced update of the original game's single mode.

While any of these modes can be played individually, playing them as part of a campaign multiplayer game gives them greater meaning. In the campaign, both sides have a "manpower" resource. Controlling more areas of Stalingrad gains you more manpower after each battle, but it ticks down based on player deaths during matches. The eventual winner of the campaign is the side that captures the entire city, or gradually runs down the enemy's manpower by successfully defending a larger slice of the city.

The result, if it works, is a game of team-wide tactics, with teams choosing between gambling greater manpower on attacking, or trying to wait it out by hunkering down to defend.

It should also lend greater significance to each individual fight. John Gibson, President of developers Tripwire Interactive, explained how by the end of a two-hour campaign in playtests, teams would be sweating and screaming.

There are a lot of other improvements to Red Orchestra 2, including more realistic sniping, dynamic audio, destructible environments and a more gradual learning curve. But it's the campaign multiplayer that sounds most exciting.