Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Company of Heroes 2

Review: Company of Heroes 2

5:00 PM on 06.25.2013 // Joshua Derocher

Winter is here

Company of Heroes 2 comes off strong with its new campaign, and it packs an impressive amount of extra features. Standing on its own, it is an impressive real-time strategy game, but there are people who want to know what makes this better than the beloved original Company of Heroes. The simple answer to that question is that it's more of what they love.

The sequel brings a new campaign, new multiplayer maps and units, new co-op modes, more explosions, more units on the field, and deathly winter combat, all presented with the gameplay that made the first such a hit. It stays true to its roots while bringing in enough new, compelling content to make it worthwhile.

Company of Heroes 2 (PC)
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: SEGA
Released: June 25, 2013
MSRP: $59.99
Rig: AMD Athlon 7850 2.80 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU

The sequel to one of the best strategy titles out there, Company of Heroes 2 lives up to its predecessor. The game focuses on the Eastern front of World War II, and during the campaign the player takes on the role of the Russians. It's a slow-paced RTS, with a big emphasis placed on unit placement and having troops stay behind cover if they want to survive.

Each unit is a squad of troops, rather than just an individual. The strength of the squad is based on how many soldiers are alive. This system lets their be hundreds of soldiers in the game, but the player only has to focus on a dozen squads or so. Squads can be refilled with new men at headquarters, or conscript troops can be assigned to fill in missing ranks. At a given time a player will control anywhere from five to twenty squads, which doesn't seem like it would be that hard to do, but it can be hectic to keep everyone moving and alive. 

The utterly fantastic campaign is among the best I have played in a strategy game. Missions are varied enough that different tactics have to be used to win each one. There are some defense missions that are so hectic I had to constantly readjust my troops to face new attacks coming from all sides. One mission takes place in the snow, and you have to prevent your troops from freezing to death by moving close to fires, or keeping them inside.

Another one of my favorites involved hunting down and destroying a Tiger tank, which I ultimately accomplished by luring it into a series of mines I placed as a trap. There are 14 missions in the campaign, and each one takes between 20-60 minutes to complete depending on the difficulty and how terrible you are at playing.

All of the new mechanics fit well with the Eastern Front setting. Lots of soldiers will die, and CoH2 does a brilliant job of making it expensive to lose troops. Conscript troops can be cheaply deployed quickly, but these soldiers are ill-equipped to survive for long. They are best used to replenish the ranks of more valuable units, and then sent off to the front lines. As units are built they will often shout out, "Need a suicide squad?" Taking over an enemy territory will certainly require you to sacrifice a lot of men, and sometimes you'll have to do it knowing you won't be able to replace them easily.

I was always faced with some form of a choice with each unit. "Do I have them run in and face certain death, or do I hold back and wait for a better opportunity?" Better opportunities don't always come, and sometimes the only way to win the battle is to lose a fight. Wounding a tank is ultimately more valuable than a squad of infantry. The cold weather adds to this dilemma of having to choose to lose expensive units, since having them out too long can cause them to freeze to death. Even if they survive a fight, they can and often will die in the cold soon after. All of these calculated decisions are heavy to deal with, and the game's atmosphere and mechanics make sending every squad to the front lines a hard choice.

Alongside the campaign, there is the "Theater of War" mode which includes a series of co-op and single-player missions and scenarios. This mode is meant to provide more battles along the Eastern front that don't tie in directly to the campaign. While right now all of the battles focus on the year 1941, Relic has stated that it plans on adding more content later.

The scenarios are tightly-focused missions revolving around one aspect of the war that year, and they are some of my favorite missions in the game. Company of Heroes 2 shines the brightest for me when I have three squads and keeping them alive is insanely hard. The co-op missions are large-scale battles that pit players against a computer opponent; the rest are simply single-player missions that use the multiplayer maps and have a computer opponent.

There is a competitive multiplayer, of course. It's what gave the first game such a long life, and it's just as solid in the sequel. It plays out the same as in the first game, either with players fighting over control points or simply trying to demolish each other. This time around there are all new maps and units, which is enough to make me want to play the same style of game. If you are a classic fan of the series and you're only interested in the multi-player, it's hard to say if you'll find enough here invest in this if you already played the first. It's more of change than the Call of Duty series has every year, and people still play that like crazy.

No matter what your style of play is, there's a ridiculous amount of achievement, unlocks, and progression to keep you in the game. There are 366 Steam achievements, which is just absurd, but if you play often it's nice to know there will always be something you haven't done yet. Your in-game profile, which is tied directly to Steam, will gain levels and as you level up you'll be able to customize your army with different units, abilities, and even custom skins.

Company of Heroes 2 brings the classic gameplay of the original game into the modern era. It has all of the familiar mechanics while embracing new technology to make everything look and respond better. The physics are very realistic, and just about everything can be destroyed. One mission had me defending a point from oncoming Germans, and I kept getting flanked by them crossing a bridge. On my third attempt I had the crazy idea, "What if I blew up the bridge?" and I sent over a team of engineers to rig it with explosives. The first round of Nazis was met with a surprise, and the bridge was no longer a problem.

All of the cover can be destroyed if the other guy has a big enough gun. Hiding behind a fence might be great for stopping bullets, but tank is going to destroy the wall and everyone behind it. Standing on ice is a really bad idea, since if enough weight is applied, it will break. As things get destroyed, soldiers can take cover in holes in the ground or behind rubble, broken tanks, and even corpses. After a long match the middle ground will often be demolished, filled with the effects of war. This evolving battlefield makes Company of Heroes 2 stand out from other strategy games, and I have a feeling it will make any other game without this level of physics feel fake.

Company of Heroes 2 is an excellent real-time strategy game. The campaign is challenging, varied, and true to the setting of the war. The atmosphere is intense and filled with bass-rumbling sounds, and an orchestral score that provides the perfect background. It's visually impressive, yet manages to run at a smooth frame rate. All of the matchmaking and multiplayer systems are tied into Steam, so you don't have to log in twice to play the game; everything runs flawlessly.

I was worried that the campaign would be weak and everything would be focused on the multiplayer, but I was happy to be proven wrong. The campaign turned out to be my favorite part, and with the added content from the Theater of War mode, there is a lot of game even if you don't want to engage other players. The amount of content is generous, going way beyond the normal six-hour single-player campaign and multiplayer formula that most games use today.

I could ramble off dozens of words of praise, but the simplest way to summarize my experience is to say that I stayed up playing until 4:00am without realizing how late it was, either because I was yelling at the Germans for killing my troops or high-fiving the air when I took out a tank. It's one of those games that can suck you in for hours and keep you constantly engaged. Company of Heroes 2 is shining example of what an RTS game should be: a mix of classic mechanics with new features and technology.



Company of Heroes 2 - Reviewed by Joshua Derocher
Editor's Choice Award - Is it legal to marry a videogame? Because I want to be with this game every day for the rest of my life. It completes me. It is my soul mate.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Joshua Derocher, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Josh_Derocher Tips
Josh is a PC gamer. He can usually be found flying around in EVE Online. He's been known to enjoy playing role-playing games like Dragon Age: Origins, Skyrim, and Planescape Torment. He starte... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Company of Heroes 2

  Aug 05

Company of Heroes 2 removed from sale in Russia

Relic's WW2 RTS title also removed from other Eastern European countries

  May 22

Here's your Company of Heroes 2 campaign trailer

RTS sequel will arrive next month, comrade

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

Fun2Play: Downwell

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th November - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So I'm almost done with my first play through of Undertale and... It's okay. It's in no way bad (and I'm enjoying it more than Fallout 4 which in also playing) but feel... It was overhyped I suppose? Not sure really... Maybe a second play though will help
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Sometimes I wonder why I care. To simply have more vitriol and misery as my reward, to suffer ingrates and fools. That in all I do I'm never afforded the same respect or kindness. Let it be then, and let pain follow. I'm done with this shit.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I was telling this dead baby joke at dinner tonight, and this lady I don't recognize says, "I'm sorry. That joke isn't funny to me, I have two dead children." At this point, I went over my options in my head and settled with telling her the joke twice.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I really wish the slowpokes at Microsoft would add Forza Horizon to Xbox One backwards compatibility.... It's my favorite racing game. And the soundtrack is honestly flawless.
Parismio avatarParismio
Some green tea and Mario Kart w/ family is a great way to end the day.
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
Honestly, Broforce might be my GOTY. It's really fucking amazing.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Welp, Remote Play is coming to PCs. Calling it now, PS Now enabled toasters and glasses will be announced at the next big Playstation event alongside cute Vita coffins made of paper you can print out of your Remote Play capable printers.
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
How did your Thanksgiving small talk with obscure relatives go? Oh, I bonded over the ethereal experience of hydrogen peroxide in ear canals but they'd never heard of Chrono Trigger so we mostly chewed the corn-flakes-on-potato thing in silence
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Don't forget [img][/img]
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I wonder how far the show would be taken out of context if the lyrics were "Go, Go Power Rangers, you Mighty Morphine Power Rangers."
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I just tried out Skyforge, and... [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Is it weird I finally want a Samurai Warriors game because I think Koshosho is super fab? [img][/img]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
I've never cleaned my comp in the 3-4 years I have had it. Soon I will dust it. I....I dont know what I will find, hidden in the dust.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Happy late thanksgiving Dtoid. I played Doodle God and Murasaki Baby on PSVita, and am now Achievement grinding in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious on Xbox One. Super easy 1000G, I need it.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Black Friday pick ups so far are Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Titan Souls and tomorrow Devil Survivor 2 Break Record ($29.99 at GameStop).
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
This thanksgiving, give thanks for the fact that your family wasnt 1 of the 3 to have picked out a wasp filled turkey, buying a meal and becoming a meal. Next year, may not bring such.....dissapointing results.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So I'm pretty sure you all should be giving thanks to Nekro. For he is the one true perfect being. Be thankful that your lives have been blessed by the addition of a Nekro. For that is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Happy Thanksgiving Dtoid! Here's hoping you didn't fall off a chair while hanging Christmas lights and bash your shin and foot into the concrete like I did!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Listening to Pokémon SoulSilver OST while doing some college work. Suddenly I feel a great amount of guilty taking over me for loosing my PokéWalker 2 years ago... :(
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you thanksgiving motherfuckers. 5 favourite Arcade games (as in coin-op) No order necessary. Go!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -