Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, by Tripwire Interactive/1C Co., 2011, $49.99 (PC/Windows)
Centering on the Battle of Stalingrad and related German and Russian operations from July 1942 to February 1943, Red Orchestra 2 is the most realistic first-person shooter to hit the market in the past decade. You’ll command historically accurate, painstakingly rendered tanks and other armored vehicles. The game also features true-to-life ballistics, accounting for bullet drop and spin. When sighting your rifle, you must “hold your breath” or brace against an object to steady your aim. When sniping, you have to dial in the range to adjust the scope. You also have to keep track of how many rounds you’ve fired; no digital counter here. When commanding a fire team, you can suppress enemy forces and send your team to flank them. But get in trouble and your unit morale will drop, affecting its accuracy and dimming the screen for effect.
Given its highly complex commands and inputs, Red Orchestra 2 is best suited to experienced gamers. And the game is best played in online multiplayer mode, with up-to-the-minute stats and player progression.