I got back into Rising Storm/Red Orchestra multiplayer in recent weeks, as Haley can attest to. I’m still pretty rubbish at it, rarely able to do more than run forward for a minute and a half towards an objective, only to take a bullet to the temple as soon as I crest a hill. Even still, it’s pretty fun. One interesting side effect of being slaughtered over and over is how much it makes me afraid of war. Of course, as with any rational person, I’ve never wanted to actually see combat. Video game and movie glorification aside, at no point past the age of seven have I wanted to be in a war.
But, I’ll tell you. Red Orchestra/Rising Storm stresses me out and scares me so much that it has crushed any childhood dreams of infantry heroism.
One night, I was playing on a map- I don’t remember which it was, some snowy forest outside of a bombed-out village- and, for the first time that I can remember, I felt scared during a multiplayer map.
I was prone on the side of a small rise, trying to decide what to do. I could hear the zip and snap of bullet whipping over my head, as innumerable German troops peppered the forest with gunfire. I looked to my right to see one of my comrades dash forward in a low crouch. As soon as he crested the slight hill I was on, he jerked and cried out and a red cloud replaced his head. His body crumbled and tumbled past me. Immediately after, a fresh salvo of automatic fire passed overhead, blurring my vision and filling my ears with a terrible rushing sound. I pushed backwards from the hill, suddenly terrified. In that moment, I felt real fear. No way was I going to climb over that hill and return fire. I was too scared to even hurl a grenade. I was a coward, afraid to die after seeing one of my mates fall so easily.
Then came the shelling. Sudden explosions tearing up the hillside, shredding trees to splinters. I had nowhere to hide, so I just cowered, stomach churning as explosive death rained down around me. It was just like a movie, I looked around and saw other friendly soldiers hunkered down as the bombs fell, exploding in a gory mess. Just unlucky, I supposed.
Eventually, the shelling tapered off and I crept forward peering through the smoke to try to see any Germans. A quick snap was all I heard as an unseen sniper spotted me and put an end to my misery.
Later, I was holed up in a shelled building on the outskirts of the forest. The Germans had pushed us out of the trees and were assaulting our rally points pretty heavily. I’d pop out of a window, fire a few panicked shots in their direction and duck back, return fire tearing at the windowsill and walls. They started to enter the building, so I retreated(ran at top speed is more like it) outside. I put a few buildings between us and stopped to catch my breath. Then, the shelling resumed. I dropped to a prone position, hugging the wall since the building I was beside had no entrances. A few terrified minutes later, the shelling had slowed enough that I moved forward to try to find any friendlies. A few stray explosions rocked the street and I spotted two friendly contacts across the thoroughfare. I immediately began to move toward them, as gunfire had resumed. My plan was to join up with them. I was just about to cross the street when one last shell landed. Even as far away as I was, some ten yards, a few body parts landed at my feet. I was stunned.
And then a German shot me in the nuts and I died.