Playing Company of Heroes 2 at PAX was a trippy experience. Hamza previously covered the game and hit the major points worth highlighting, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on the highly anticipated sequel as someone who isn't especially into games about World War II, even if they are developed by the fine folks at Relic Entertainment.
After getting the basics down in a beginner-style mission, I entered a more traditional real-time strategy skirmish with capturable control points scattered across the map. An AI-controlled ally and I were separated from the enemy forces by a frozen body of water which ended up being quite the barrier indeed, even for vehicles. The goal was to hold on to various points for longer than the enemy, and of course lesser ones as well that provided further resources for some light base building.
As you have probably heard by now, harsh winters are a crucial part of the game, both visually and in terms of how battles turn out. Between the TrueSight system, which lets you see what your soldiers could believably see down on the ground, random blizzards, and ice fields that are not only slippery but can ultimately crack wide open, there's a lot to be mindful of.
You can even lose your men to frigid temperatures if you don't keep an eye on their status; you'll need to occasionally shelter them from the severe cold to prevent this. It's not something you need to be worried about constantly, but it is yet another thing to be on the lookout for. Mentally, these factors start to add up, though I believe that cause for concern was made more apparent having skipped the hours of training I would otherwise have had by playing Company of Heroes 2 from the comfort of my home.
While it eventually got to the point where my fleet could never directly win in a skirmish -- I was learning as I was playing, after all -- I did finally pull out a win by going after control points from more of a guerrilla-warfare mindset. By constantly sending smaller groups out to the spread-out capture sites, the enemy forces could never quite get there in time to stop my men. The weather can play a pivotal role and needs to be frequently considered when formulating your moment-to-moment strategies. I wouldn't have won without it.
I was so "in the zone" that, upon taking my headphones off after finishing the second mission, I had lost all sense of time and space. What felt like twenty minutes, tops, had actually been closer to fifty. A large part of that can be attributed to the realism on display, which is simply absorbing. I may have technically won, but with so many casualties, I didn't feel good about the victory.
Company of Heroes 2 felt realistic -- like I was watching a real, albeit zoomed-out battle unfold -- but not in ways that were detrimental to it as a game meant to be, on some level, fun. It looked and sounded terrific, even running on DirectX 9. (The final game will run DirectX 11.) Admittedly, titles centered around real-world conflicts aren't exactly of the utmost interest to me personally, but I genuinely believe that the environmental hazards in Company of Heroes 2 will be what push newcomers into finally trying the series out. How this all factors into higher-level competitive play remains to be seen, though I suspect it should result in some thrilling multiplayer matches.
Perhaps best of all, Relic says the game is "going to take less of a supercomputer to run this at maximum spec than it would have before this engine." You'll have until early 2013 to prepare.
|6:00 PM on 06.05.2013|
Company of Heroes 2 fires into open beta
Company of Heroes 2 has launched into open beta, so from now until June 18 you can check out the multiplayer and coop. The best news about the open beta is that if you play it a lot, and decide to buy the game later, you'll g...more
|7:00 AM on 05.30.2013|
Things go boom in the latest Company of Heroes 2 trailer
The latest look at Company of Heroes 2 shows off just how action packed this real time strategy game is. There's action, explosions, and death all around you in the battlefield. There's so much action here that the trailer even says you should check this one out before you play "the next big FPS." Oh, snap! Company of Heroes 2 will be out on June 25 for the PC.more
|9:30 PM on 05.22.2013|
Here's your Company of Heroes 2 campaign trailer
I'm really grateful that Sega has picked up Company of Heroes 2 after THQ's collapse. The original was a great real-time strategy title, one that I had most of my fun with in multiplayer more than the single-player. This tra...more
|12:15 PM on 04.29.2013|
Relic details Theater of War mode for Company of Heroes 2
The single-player campaign and multiplayer of Company of Heroes 2 will be joined by a third mode, one that's new for developer Relic Entertainment. A combination of single- and cooperative play, Theater of War is built with r...more
|4:00 AM on 04.18.2013|
Company of Heroes 2 CE includes the original game
Company of Heroes 2 is getting a Collector's Edition, and it's set to include several bonuses such as the original Company of Heroes, including the two original expansions: Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor. Other bonuses in...more
|2:30 PM on 04.05.2013|
Pre-order Company of Heroes 2 for a 'mini-campaign'
Those who pre-order Company of Heroes 2 before the real-time strategy title launches this June will get a number of bonuses, including a Theatre of War mini-campaign. Seemingly unfinished right now, this extra spot of single-...more
|6:15 PM on 03.28.2013|
Company of Heroes 2 beta opens soon for pre-orderers
It's nice to hear that Relic Entertainment is still plugging away at development on Company of Heroes 2. Leading up to the full June 25 release, the studio will soon hit the obligatory "closed beta" milestone. Open first on A...more
|11:30 AM on 03.06.2013|
Company of Heroes 2 arrives June 25
Company of Heroes 2 has been set for a June 25 release date in both North America and Europe. Have to say, I'm really happy for Relic Entertainment on today's news. Things were shaky thanks to the THQ fallout, but I think Rel...more
|9:00 PM on 12.13.2012|
Trailer shares a bit of Company of Heroes 2 multiplayer
To accompany our preview of multiplayer in Company of Heroes 2, Relic Entertainment and THQ have a little video that shows off the variety of commanders and troops they'll be able to lead in this anticipated sequel. Nothing ...more
|4:30 PM on 12.13.2012|
Preview: Company of Heroes 2 multiplayer
Dynamic weather hazards, TrueSight, and now a progressive leveling system are the three pillars Relic is building Company of Heroes 2 on. While we've talked at length about these first two elements, the leveling system is what caught my eye the most on this third go around, taking more than a few cues from the Call of Duty series.more
|3:00 PM on 06.15.2013|
Wargaming CEO is excited for World of Tanks on Xbox 360
A familiar site at every E3 for the past few years has been a giant tank sitting just outside West Hall of the LA Convention Center. Wargaming has been constantly promoting its free-to-play tank shooter World of Tanks, and th...more
|12:15 PM on 06.13.2013|
Yes, you're going to like Total War: Rome II
A better-looking Rome: Total War would have been enough for some, myself included -- have you seen how crazy some of the battles look? "Epic" is not a word that frequently leaves my mouth (or fingers, in this case) but it's a...more
|3:00 AM on 06.13.2013|
Anno Online is giving out some free currency for E3
Ubisoft is celebrating E3 by giving away free in-game real money currency for Anno Online players -- the newest free-to-play city-building from developer Blue Byte. All you have to do is log in, go to your My P...more